Breakfast Nests in a Creamy Vegan Queso

Breakfast Nests in a Creamy Vegan QuesoWelcome to another Virtual Vegan Potluck!  I’m so excited to be participating again, joining the virtual party with nearly 150 other bloggers across the globe.  (The first year I participated, I brought a Roasted Delicata Squash and Persimmon Salad.)  This potluck is the brain child of Annie from An Unrefined Vegan and always proves to be a truly enticing affair.

Breakfast Nests in a Creamy Vegan QuesoFor this year’s potluck, I’m bringing an appetizer that would be just right for a brunch get together – Breakfast Nests.  These nests were inspired by a dish that I got at A.N.D. Café in Portland last spring.  They’re made with a layer of hashbrowns and topped with tofu scramble dotted with onions, bell pepper, garlic, and kale.  They are then drizzled with a creamy vegan queso.

I can’t think of a better way to start the morning than by gathering with friends for hot coffee or tea and a platter of breakfast nests. Slice through soft scramble, hit the crunch of the hashbrowns, and sneak your fork through the nacho cheese on your way off of the plate.

These nests can be served as one or two to a plate for an appetizer, or make it a meal with seitan bacon and fruit.

Grated potatoTo make them for your next brunch affair, start by grating two baked potatoes.  (I got the idea to use baked potato, as opposed to uncooked from a non-vegan recipe at Pioneer Woman.)

grated potato in muffin cupsThen lightly oil a muffin pan, put three generous tablespoons of grated potato into each cup, and loosely press the potato into a cup shape.  (Be careful not to press too hard, though.)  Keep in mind that the potato will shrink as it cooks, and so it’s okay for it to spill over the top.  Lightly oil the top of the grated potato and add a dash of salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

Scramble in tinsMeanwhile, make the tofu scramble (recipe to follow).  Remove the muffin tin from the oven, and top the potato mixture with a healthy helping of scramble, until it reaches the top of each tin.  Put it back in the oven for ten more minutes.

Breakfast Nests in a Creamy Vegan QuesoOnce the nests are done, carefully remove the nests from the tin with a spoon.  The hash browns may come apart a little as you remove them.  Don’t worry about it.  They will still be delicious!

servingplatternestsDrizzle the nests in a creamy vegan queso (also known as vegan nacho cheese sauce) and serve!

Breakfast Nests in a Creamy Vegan Queso

Breakfast Nests in a Creamy Vegan Queso

Yield: Makes about 10 Breakfast Nests

Breakfast Nests in a Creamy Vegan Queso


  • 2 medium-sized Russet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling potatoes and muffin tin
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 orange or red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 leaf curly kale, rib removed, roughly chopped small
  • 1 14 ounce package firm tofu, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon kala namak (black salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 batch Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce
  • Garnish: cilantro (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Scrub two Russet potatoes and prick several times with a fork. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes directly on the oven rack, turning each potato over half-way through. (It's okay if the potatoes are slightly underdone.) Remove them from the oven and refrigerate until completely cool.
  2. Peel and grate the baked potatoes. Lightly oil the cups of a muffin tin. Loosely pack 3 Tablespoons of grated potato into each cup. Lightly oil the potato mixture in the cups. Cover each cup with a pinch of salt and pepper. Put the muffin tin into the oven and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
  3. Bring a large skillet to a medium heat. Add a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil to the skillet. Saute bell pepper, onion, and garlic until fragrant and translucent, about five minutes. Add kale to the pan and continue cooking until it wilts, a few more minutes. Crumble the drained firm tofu into the pan. Add turmeric, black salt, paprika, cumin, and nutritional yeast flakes. Full combine the tofu mixture with the spices, so that they are spread evenly throughout the scramble, and continue cooking for about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Remove the muffin tin from the oven and cover the grated potato with tofu scramble, until the scramble reaches the top of each cup. Put back in the oven and bake for ten more minutes.
  5. Once the Breakfast Nests are done, remove them from the oven and carefully remove each nest with a spoon. Cover with a drizzle of Creamy Vegan Queso (link to recipe above), garnish with cilantro, and serve.

Breakfast Nests in a Creamy Vegan QuesoI hope you’re still hungry!  Continue on with the Virtual Vegan Potluck by going back to Vegan Sparkles

Go backOr jumping ahead to Luminous Vegans!

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  1. says

    Happy Virtual Vegan Potluck! I remember reading about those nests on your A.N.D. Cafe post because I thought it would be cool to try and make. But now I don’t have to :-) Yours came out so beautifully moist and delicious looking! I could easily eat all of these!

    • says

      Thanks, Ketty! Happy VVP to you too! I’m looking forward to trying more nest ideas. That meal from A.N.D. Cafe was on my blog inspiration page for a long time!

    • says

      Thanks, Kammie! It seems like the options for vegan cheese-making are growing all the time! Whether it’s a sauce, spread, slice, or block, the options are seemingly endless.

    • says

      I hear you! VVP is a recipe for distraction! :)

      Oh, and I wanted to let you know that I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but I couldn’t get the captcha to work. I tried at least six or seven times. I wonder if anyone else is having that problem, or maybe it’s just something specific to my computer.

    • says

      Yes, lately I’ve renewed my love affair with hash browns. They don’t offer them at the one restaurant in town that has vegan brunch on offer, and so I’d kind of forgotten about them. Luckily, they are easy to make at home!

      I’m so surprised that this is the first time you’ve heard about the Virtual Vegan Potluck! It happens twice a year. You’ll have to join up in the spring!

    • says

      I hear you! I’m not a sweet breakfast-type person, but every once in a while I have to have a stack of pancakes or waffles. It’s good to see how the other half brunches on occasion! :)

  2. acookinthemaking says

    Good gracious those look delicious! I love the potato nest idea…I can think of a lot of fun variations to try with just that base recipe.

    P.S. – I am constantly getting great ideas from non-vegan cooking shows! It’s fun :)

    • says

      I agree! There’s endless room to play with this nest idea. I’m looking forward to toying with it more.

      I don’t watch a ton of cooking shows, because we don’t have cable at home. However, I do catch them on occasion when I’m on the elliptical trainer at the gym. If only I had a notepad on the side of the workout machine for jotting down ideas of recipes to veganize! :)

  3. says

    I’m always searching for yummy, hot, vegan breakfast ideas. This definitely fits the bill! I’m looking forward to trying it, thanks for sharing.

    • says

      What a good idea, Lizzie! This would make for a fun Christmas morning option. I haven’t tried making each section ahead of time and then just baking the scramble & hash browns together on the next day, but I bet it would work. Let me know if you try it!

    • says

      10 extra points, hooray! Out of curiosity, how many points am I at now? Do the points work like frequent flier miles or Starbucks credits, and will I eventually be able to spend them on something? Or is it like a basketball game and the points help me edge ahead of other brunch competition? Enquiring minds… 😉

    • says

      You and me both! Hashbrowns had fallen off of my radar since they’re not offered at any of the restaurants in the area with vegan breakfast options. However, lately they’ve been making our breakfasts at home extra special!

  4. says

    What heartwarming and delicious Breakfast Nests: veggie hash browns & garlic & kale & creamy cheezy queso? I love all the combinations. I have yet to go to A.N.D. Cafe even though I lived about 2 hours away – however, I was in Bogota, Colombia at that time you were there. Happy VVP, it’s nice to see you here!

  5. Shell says

    These look so delicious! As you know, I haven’t tried tofu yet. This looks less intimidating to me than most tofu dishes.

    • says

      Thanks, Shell! I bet we could think of some alternatives to tofu as well for the filling. Maybe sweet potato hash browns with a black bean filling… We’ll have to give it some thought!

    • says

      I hear you! Most mornings I just have leftovers from the day before for breakfast. However, some days call for something a little more involved! :)

  6. says

    ohgoodgolly I haven’t had potato baskets since I was a kid! My mom used to fill them with some cream of chickeny thing with peas and onions. Very Betty Crocker. I love your sweet potato/bean suggestion…it would be fun to experiment with all sorts of things like purple potatoes, parsnips, etc. Maybe an over-the-top take on a T-day dish…sweet potato nests with a whipped candied sweet potato/date/nut filling and a marshmallow top. 😉
    One of the reasons your blog rocks is all the visuals…thanks for the helpful step-by-step photos! Cheers!

    • says

      I’m so surprised that you grew up with potato baskets! I’d never heard of them before our trip to A.N.D., but that’s a cute name! Yes, there are so many possibilities to branch out and experiment with this concept! I definitely look forward to exploring some more options. Thanks for the kind words on the photos. :)

  7. kahht says

    Holy crap. I caught myself salivating while reading this! I know exactly what I’m bringing to the next brunch party. Thanks!

  8. in2insight says

    Wow, these not only look great but taste wonderful as well.
    A bit of a production, with an end result that is as flavorful as it is impressive.
    Ended up not baking the potatoes first, just grated, shaped and baked “raw”.
    Sauce ended up very thick, so thinned out a bit and adjusted seasonings.
    A great fancy delicious way to start the day. Thank you!


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