Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
26 Nov

Primal Breakfast Casserole

You know the scenario. It’s the morning after Thanksgiving and you’re recovering from a day of marathon cooking and pulling off a holiday feast with all the fixins, Your kitchen still looks like it’s been ransacked, you still have dishpan hands and the only thing you want to do is pull your duvet cover over your head and sleep in. But everyone else in the house seems to be awake and suddenly you hear someone say the four words you’ve been dreading. “So, what’s for breakfast?”


After killing yourself putting together a holiday meal, the last meal any host wants to think about is breakfast. But the thing about house guests (especially those permanent house guests also known as your kids) is that it doesn’t matter how much turkey they ate the day before, they’re going to wake up hungry.  As any veteran host knows, the best defense is a pan of something wonderful tucked away in your freezer that requires no more work from you other than turning on the oven. For this reason, even though it’s a simple, no-frills dish, the breakfast casserole is pure genius.

The base of our Primal breakfast casserole is a straightforward mixture of beaten eggs and grated turnips. Turnips have the mildly earthy flavor that most root vegetables share and just a hint of sweetness. In fact, some of your guests might not even realize that they’re not eating potato hash browns. Once you have a base for your casserole, you can add almost anything you want to it. A simple duo of sausage and scallions is a favorite combination, but you can load the casserole up with more if you like. Diced peppers, mushrooms, bacon, grated cheese and any fresh herbs or dried spices that your heart desires can all be mixed in with great results.

The recipe below can easily be doubled and baked in a 13×9 pan for a larger crowd. Simply mix the ingredients together, cover the pan with foil, and freeze until you need it. The casserole can go directly into the oven from the freezer. You don’t have to freeze the casserole ahead of a time, of course. You can mix it together and put it directly in the oven the day you’re serving it. For the sake of your sanity, however, you might want to consider the freeze-ahead option. This way, you can still be half-asleep the morning after Thanksgiving and hardly lift a finger to feed the masses.


Approximately 4 servings

  • 1 pound ground breakfast sausage or other ground meat
  • 3 turnips, peeled and grated (a food processor works well for this)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 3 scallions, chopped


Sauté sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with a spoon or spatula, until almost cooked through.

Mix the sausage with the rest of the ingredients.

Spoon into a 8×8 baking pan.

When ready to cook, heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes then cover the pan and bake for 25 minutes more. Let cool 15-20 minutes so the casserole sets before cutting into it.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. been seeing more turnips in the store so this is a timely recipe.
    plus, am always looking for b-fast ideas!

    jenella wrote on November 26th, 2010
    • I imagine you mean pork sausage that has been ground with nothing added. The typical “breakfast sausage” offered has far too much sodium and other preservatives to be Primal. I think I’ll try it with turkey sausage.
      I believe you meant to print bake for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake another 25 (that would brown the top).

      Marie wrote on December 2nd, 2010
      • I think you meant to reply to the main post and not Jenella’s comment.

        Danielle wrote on December 15th, 2011
      • 1. Nothing wrong with pork sausage, I make my own, but I’ve been known to buy it, and our local Food Co-Op as well as another store here make some that is tasty, low in sodium and preservative free.

        2. I think he does mean bake for 45 and then cover and bake 25, as you’re getting it brown, and then covering so it doesn’t get too brown.

        MissRed wrote on February 17th, 2012
        • How do you make your own sausage? I can’t find any that is compliant, so I would really like to make some. Thanks!

          Treasure wrote on October 29th, 2013
        • I make my own sausage from a pastured pig I bought from a friend. I take one lb. ground pork and mix in: 1 t. unrefined sea salt; 1 t. organic ground ginger; 1 1/2 t. organic ground sage; 1/4 t. organic nutmeg; 1/4 t. cayenne pepper. Oh boy, its’ good.

          Gin wrote on October 16th, 2014
  2. For breakfast, I just had a bowl of soup made with leftover turkey and veggies, but this sounds like something wonderful for a second breakfast, or a third.

    Edith McKlveen wrote on November 26th, 2010
  3. Are turnips lower in carbs than potatoes?

    Jaques wrote on November 26th, 2010
    • Yes, they are much lower. 100 grams of turnip have only 6 grams of carbohydrate, while 100 grams of potato have 18. Rutabaga are similarly low carb, with only 8 grams of carbohydrate per 100 grams. (All according to

      EmptyVacuum wrote on November 26th, 2010
    • 1 cup raw turnip has 8 grams carbs; 1 cup raw russet potato has 28 grams carbs…according to

      DThalman wrote on November 26th, 2010
  4. Yummm!! Would love a recipe print option much like the one at Elana’s Pantry…

    gilliebean wrote on November 26th, 2010
  5. Jaques, turnips contain less carbs than potatoes.

    Jeff wrote on November 26th, 2010
  6. Hmmm, I’m going to make this at the weekend definitely.

    Alison Golden wrote on November 26th, 2010
  7. This looks wonderful (and we’ll be trying it), but the real challenge is egg-free primal/paleo breakfast options! Can anyone help us out?

    The Primal Palette wrote on November 26th, 2010
    • Do you dairy? I like to wrap smoked salmon around a chunk of cream cheese with some sliced onions. Sometimes I’ll just have a bunch of berries with whipped cream for breakfast- keeps me pretty full all morning! Maybe add some nuts for a little protein…

      Jules wrote on November 27th, 2010
      • Oops- “Do you do dairy”

        Jules wrote on November 27th, 2010
  8. I knock this out this morning. I am new to the Primal family. My good friend D. Jones turned me on to it. I loaded mine with some chiles from New Mexico naturally :). Good stuff.

    Michael wrote on November 26th, 2010
  9. Used our leftover primal stuffing and mixed in some eggs for a next-day frittata in seconds!

    Patty G. wrote on November 26th, 2010
  10. I thought for sure this was going to be a recipe for using leftover turkey. Are we sick of turkey yet?

    cathyx wrote on November 26th, 2010
  11. trying it tomorrow… sounded great.

    Jason wrote on November 26th, 2010
  12. My husband makes a great breakfast casserole. In a greased 8 1/2 x 11″ glass pan layer 2 lb. cooked ground meat (I like 1 lb. ground pork and 1 lb. ground pork sausage the best). Top with one 10 oz. pkg frozen chopped spinach that has been thawed and squeezed dry. Beat 8 eggs with 1/2 cup half&half or almond milk, pour over the meat and spinach. Top with cheese if you do dairy. Bake 350 for 30 min or until done. Good hot or cold, and makes 8 servings. Yum!

    Nancy wrote on November 26th, 2010
    • That sounds good to me. I tried the recipe with the turnips-didn’t much care for it. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Linda Grant wrote on December 2nd, 2010
  13. I subbed sweet Italian sausage and shallot for the meat and the scallions. It was all the rage! I smothered it in butter…..and served it with turnip greens (done in lard, chicken stock, and garlic). As my dad says “it’ll make yer tongue slap yer brains out!”

    Michele wrote on November 27th, 2010
  14. After falling off the primal wagon – milk chocolates by thorntons, considered one the best here in the UK – I am going to cook this and have it to break my IF this afternoon.
    Love the site and the recipes. I have put in my order for the books for my christmas presents!

    Tony wrote on November 28th, 2010
  15. OK I am new to this. I just made this. I added some chopped chilles, red onion, green bell pepper, turkey sauage, and bacon. After cooking I sprinkled fresh cheese on top. I am digging the lifestyle. This dish is killer and easy to fix. Hats off gang.

    Michael wrote on November 28th, 2010
  16. I’m so confused. I’m new to this sort of eating and still in the research phase (but if buying books about it on Amazon is any accomplishment, I’ll take it) and thought sausage was on the NO list, as with any processed meat.

    Jenny B. Jones wrote on November 28th, 2010
    • go to your local butcher and you can have fresh sausage done up for you that doesn’t have all that preservative and nitrate crap in it. I can get many variations of breakfast sausage and others…i.e jalapeno or maple, and i mix it up sometimes and have them do me some chicken or turkey breakfast sausage the same way. Costs just a little more, its fresh, preservative free, and i’m buying local!

      Aimee Leon wrote on December 19th, 2010
  17. Jenny…

    I buy Pork Pan Sausage from a grass fed organic farm (same one we buy our cow from). Check out

    Jill wrote on November 28th, 2010
  18. I made it this morning for myslef and a very fussy 13 year old….I wasn’t paying attention and bought parsnips rather than turnip at the grocery store (duh) But this was delicious with grated parsnips and not a word of complaint from my 13 year old cousin….I look forward to trying this with turnip next!!

    MissLiss wrote on November 28th, 2010
    • did the cook times in the recipe work out right? or are they for cooking a frozen casserole?

      HeidiAnne wrote on November 29th, 2010
    • i deliberately bought parsnips to substitute, i’m excited to hear it’s tasty :)

      cat wrote on February 20th, 2012
  19. I made this last night. Added chopped red, yellow, orange, and green bellpeppers, sliced mushrooms, and chopped scallions. I cooked it all last night and put it in the fridge for an easy breakfast for a very non-morning person. It was great!

    Highly recommended. Easy to make, stores/reheats well and tastes AMAZING!

    Thanks, Mark!

    Ryan wrote on November 29th, 2010
  20. question about cook time… is the time noted for making it right before cooking or for a frozen batch?

    HeidiAnne wrote on November 29th, 2010
  21. Holy crap. This is awesome. I just made it with a pound of ground beef. Two large turnips was enough to fill an 8×8. This is one of my favorite things now.

    Mike wrote on December 7th, 2010
  22. This is phenomenal. I am in love.

    Emily H. wrote on December 13th, 2010
  23. I’ve made this for the last three weeks, using turkey chorizo sausages and different vegies, like pumpkin. Yesterday I made it with parsnips.

    LowCarbPrincess wrote on December 20th, 2010
  24. Just made it, and burned it a little. If it isn’t frozen you need it in there for barely 30 minutes.
    Tastes great, although mine was missing something… not sure what. I think you need really flavorful sausage or a good serving of bacon to add flavor. I put a little bacon in mine and wish I used more. I used a little high quality parmesan cheese but not enough to really make a difference in taste.

    Ali wrote on December 31st, 2010
  25. Hi there,
    I am paleo follower and am a bit puzzled by all the non-paleo ingredients creeping in to this dish: butter, chesse, bacon. What’s up? Anyone with a bit of paleo knowledge knows that these ingredients are not advocated in the paleo way of life, so what’s going on here? Are we twisting something that could do us more harm than good?

    Olivia wrote on January 1st, 2011
    • This site is Primal, not paleo. Dairy is allowed in small quantities, particularly the raw (ie, good) stuff.

      Kim wrote on January 29th, 2011
  26. Sorry, meant to say cheese.

    Olivia wrote on January 1st, 2011
  27. WOW is the word that best describes this recipe!

    While I don’t think the turnips taste like potatoes, this is one of the tastiest ways to cook turnips that I have ever tried. The only thing I can recommend is to make absolutely sure the turnips are shredded and DON’T toss in any chunks your food processor might not quite get shredded.

    The little chunks very definitely have the bitter turnip that that many of us despised as children.

    Rebecca wrote on January 5th, 2011
  28. Any suggestions on substitutes for turnips? Neither my wife or I care for them. As for right now my breakfast consists of 5 eggs, 4 whites and 1 whole. Half to 3/4 of a small organic red apple and some nuts (almonds,pecans,walnuts). I need a change every now and again.

    Ryan wrote on January 5th, 2011
    • Hey Ryan

      They did not have turnips here, so I subbed it for half a celeriac (celery root).

      Also, first fried up one whole onion and then added the beef.

      Turned out great!

      Semper wrote on January 12th, 2011
  29. I tried this yesterday morning and it was amazing. I only had one turnip and I shredded it and boiled it for a couple minutes first then drained and added to ingredients. I also added sauted onion and mushrooms. It was amazing. Next time I will use all 4 turnip and I’m going to try making homemade breakfast sausage with ground pork and my own spices.

    I was scared of turnip since I’ve never had it before and I heard it was bitter. Well I’m a believer in this dish. MMMMMMMM good! Now I can stop having fried eggs and Canadian back bacon every day. lol

    runningmom wrote on February 2nd, 2011

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