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. Ooh, these look amazing! Who doesn’t love a cheesy potato combination, and the fact they’re cute little muffin-sized, brilliant!

  2. 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!

    • 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!

  3. OH gosh how i want to make these right away! So happy i haven’t had my breakfast yet! xx

  4. So awesome It always amazes me when people make vegan cheese.. it’s amazing!

    • 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.

  5. Yummy! I will definitely be trying these!

  6. Hello, Sunday morning! Talk about enticing, Cadry. I’m pretty sure I could squeeze four of these onto my plate…

  7. Cadry, these look amazing!

  8. Delicious! I’m basically just going through VVP instead of eating breakfast (can’t multi-task I guess) so I’m really digging this!

    • 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.

  9. I need these in my life now! Anything that includes hash browns is ace in my book! This is the first time I’ve heard of Vegan Virtual Potluck. Pretty great idea!

    • 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!

  10. I really like the “nest” idea. There are so many fillings that can be added to it. What a great dish. Thank you for the great recipe.

  11. How delicious! I’m not usually a savoury in the morning type of person but I think these could convert me!

    • 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! :)

  12. These look delicious! I was already hungry for breakfast, but now I am ravenous. The potatoes look so crispy and tempting!

  13. First those taco bowls, now these potato bowls. Girl, your food bowl creativity knows no bounds. I am beyond hungry right now, looking at your delicious breakfast nests. Yum!

  14. This is such a great idea for a fun breakfast item! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  15. This looks so cute :) bookmarked.

  16. Those look great! What a great brunch item…

  17. The cuteness factor alone is overwhelming! Then you go and put everything I love for breakfast inside! Love these Cadry!

  18. 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 :)

    • 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! :)

  19. You done “grate!” Everything is so much better in muffin shapes.

  20. Oh wow, these look delicious! Pretty sure you can hear my stomach gurgling the next state over.

  21. What a neat idea! I’ve never had anything like this – definitely want to try it.

  22. I love these nests, Cadry — all of my favorite breakfast components together in each tasty bite!

  23. I’ve been looking for new vegan breakfast ideas and will have to give these a try!

  24. flickingthevs says:

    As they’re so dainty, I’m allowed to eat six or so, right? Right?!

  25. These look totally fantastic, one of my favourites so far! I’ve bookmarked them to try, I think they are a great idea! :)

  26. I’m so excited about this one! One of my favorite local restaurants make vegan nests and they are a favorite of mine. I’m thrilled about the idea of making them at home.

  27. 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.

  28. yes, please send a dozen of these delicious brekky nests for sunday brunch to seattle. yes this sunday!! i

  29. Nikki Spigner says:

    Oh yum! I love new ideas for brunch. and these sound perfect.

  30. They look like little quiches, only better :) A great quick breakfast option to have during the holidays if you make them the night before!

    • 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!

  31. What a striking appetizer! I hope you make it to the next “actual” potluck I go to 😉

  32. I am totally bookmarking this for my next brunch with the girls:)

  33. Wowww! Those look so delicious AND adorable!

  34. Fantastic idea Cadry, so cute and creative. I love that you smothered them in queso, that gives you 10 extra points in my books 😉

    • 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… 😉

  35. Cheesy-shredded potatoey-ness?!?!? Yum, This looks awesome Cadry!

  36. These look great Cadry! I know a few children who will LOVE these! Yay! A new recipe to try. Thank you!

  37. Gah! These look so delicious! I’m all over anything with hash browns. :-)

    • 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!

  38. 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!

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

    • 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!

  40. I almost never make the typical breakfast food but I think I am willing to get up a little earlier to make these. Coffee on the side of course

    • 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! :)

  41. 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!

    • 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. :)

  42. Yum! These looks so yummy! What a perfect breakfast for a crowd!

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

  44. Oh my gourd! This looks like the yummiest breakfast (or brunch or dinner) recipe ever!! // Carmen ☼

  45. 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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