Sometime back, we were having Sunday brunch at my sister’s house after church, and I needed to come up with a healthy version of a vegan breakfast casserole to take. This is the amazing hash brown casserole that ended up happening in my kitchen!
Everyone–and I do mean EVERYONE–absolutely loved this vegan potato casserole. I was actually shocked at the accolades that were coming my way over this new whole food plant-based (WFPB) breakfast recipe.
This oil and dairy-free version of the traditional American hash brown casserole is delicious and heart-healthy. With potatoes, onions, red bell peppers, creamy vegan cheese sauce, and smoked paprika, there is no skimping on taste. No artery-clogging butter and eggs either.
We love breakfast casseroles because they’re…
- Easy to make ahead
- Great for family brunches
- Perfect for holidays
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Hash browns for breakfast
A perfect make-ahead vegan breakfast casserole, this recipe will quickly become a new family favorite just like it did for us.
How to make this vegan breakfast casserole with hash browns
In my opinion, other than the hash browns themselves, the star ingredient for this casserole is the homemade vegan cheese sauce.
Vegan casserole cheese sauce
You will want to make this cheese sauce first thing. It’s really easy to make and even freezes well. I usually already have some on hand in my freezer which shortens the steps to making any of my recipes that require cheese such as nachos, broccoli casserole, and scalloped potatoes.
Making this terrific cheese sauce is as simple as boiling a pot of potatoes, onions, and carrots, adding them to a blender with cashews (or white beans), spices, and blending it until smooth.
I have a Vitamix blender and so don’t take the time to soak my cashews. That thing is powerful and everything that goes into it comes out creamy. However, if your blender isn’t jet engine speed, soaking the cashews in warm water for at least 30-minutes before adding to this recipe will help this recipe come out more creamy.
This recipe makes a little more sauce than you actually need for the casserole, so you’ll have some leftover to try with other recipes.
Once the cheese sauce is complete, set it to the side.
Making the casserole
Dice the onion and red bell pepper into small chunks, and go ahead and dice up the fresh spinach leaves as well.
In a large bowl, mix together onions, red bell peppers, frozen hash browns, cheese sauce, and spices.
Then, toss in the shredded spinach leaves and lightly mix again.
Choosing frozen hash browns
When shopping for frozen hash browns, check the ingredient list well. You will want to buy the ones that are only shredded potatoes and no added oil, salt, or other ingredients.
I have found that the off-brands such as at Aldi, Walmart, and other grocery stores are perfectly compliant and quite inexpensive.
A number of people have asked if they could shred their own fresh potatoes for this. The answer is yes, but you will need to remove as much of the water from them as possible first.
When making this in a crockpot, I don’t line with parchment paper. It does stick to the sides a little, but not too bad in my cooker.
Pour the hash brown mixture into a baking dish and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. If making in a crockpot, cook on low for approximately 2 hours.
Remove from oven and serve warm. Believe me, this is going to be the best breakfast casserole you’ve eaten!
*Original publish date November 2017.
Tips for making this hash brown casserole
- To make this vegan potato casserole even faster, I sometimes dice and freeze the onion and red pepper ahead to time to use in this casserole.
- I also often freeze the cheese sauce to use in other recipes, so I always have some on-hand.
- When purchasing frozen hash brown, read the label to make sure the only ingredient is potatoes. Aldi’s brand is perfect for this recipe.
- Off brands of hash browns often work well and have only potatoes as an ingredient.
- I use a 9″x13″ baking dish.
Everyone at our family gathering loved this breakfast casserole, along with the Banana Oat Pancakes that I took as well. I came home with empty dishes which is always a good feeling, and there were many requests for a recipe.
Since this casserole was a spontaneous creation, I have gone back to recreate and share it with you all. Hopefully, it will become one of your favorite plant-based recipes.
“OMG! So good!! Added some additional veggies that needed to be used, celery and carrot. This is a keeper for sure. Thank you!”
“I’m happy to say that I’m one who enjoyed eating it. I’m a hard one to convince because of my southern country tastes. I had 2 servings and brought home all the leftovers I could grab for my supper/dinner.
This ones a winner for sure. Oh, and the pancakes with walnuts, topped with fruit!!!!!!”
Other great vegan breakfast recipes:
- Vegan Quiche Casserole
- Best Vegan Blueberry Muffins
- Breakfast English Muffins
- Healthy Breakfast Scramble
- Fruited Quinoa
- Smoked Tempeh Bacon
- Healthy Vegan Casseroles
Hash Brown Casserole
- 1 30 oz package frozen shredded hash browns, oil-free version (or 4 cups freshly shredded)
- 3/4 cup onions, diced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 3/4 cup fresh spinach leaves, shredded
- 1 cup No Cheese Sauce, recipe below
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp dry steak seasoning
- 1 Tbsp ground smoked paprika
- salt & pepper to taste
Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce
- 1 cup potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup carrots, diced
- 1/4 cup onions, diced
- 1 cup broth from veggies
- 1/2 cup raw cashews (or 1/2 cup white beans)
- 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- pinch paprika
- 1/2 pinch cayenne pepper, (optional)
Hash Brown Casserole
- Begin by making the cheese sauce using the recipe below. This recipe makes a little more sauce than you actually need for the casserole, so you'll have a little leftover to try with other recipes. Once the cheese sauce is complete, set it to the side.
- Dice the onion and red bell pepper into small chunks, and go ahead and dice up the fresh spinach leaves as well.
- In a large bowl, mix together onions, red bell peppers, frozen hash browns, cheese sauce, and spices.
- Toss in shredded spinach leaves and lightly mix again.
- Line a 9"x13" baking dish with parchment paper. This allows the casserole to be cooked without oil. You could use a silicone baking dish if desired. When making this in a crockpot, I don't line with parchment paper. It does stick to the sides a little, but not too bad in my cooker.
- Pour hash brown mixture into the baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. If making in a crockpot, cook on low for approximately 2 hours.
- Remove from oven and serve warm.
Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce
- In a medium pot, bring about 3 cups of water to a boil. Place potatoes, carrots, and onion in the pot and allow to cook until veggies are tender-- approximately 15 minutes. Cooking time will vary based on how small the veggies are diced.
- When veggies are tender, drain and place them in the blender. NOTE: reserve 1 cup of the broth, and add to blender. Add all the remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth.
- Now, it's ready to use in this Hash Brown recipe. Cheese Sauce is also fabulous in nacho cheese dip, veggie pizza, mac-n-cheese, topping for steamed broccoli, or anything else you need a creamy, cheesy sauce in. It makes approximately 1 quart and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 205Total Fat: 5gCarbohydrates: 34.2gFiber: 5.4gProtein: 8.1g
To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.