Melissa Hemsley’s birthday breakfast recipe

My friend and chief recipe tester Kitty made a giant pan of this the morning after her birthday, so I always think of it as a birthday breakfast, but it will do nicely for any breakfast – or indeed any meal of the day. It is an excellent way of using up any greens you have languishing in the fridge, not just spinach, and any cheese goes. All the action happens in the oven; you just need to crack the eggs into the dish and pop it back into the oven just before you’re ready to eat. You can serve it with my quinoa bread, guacamole or just a green juice as pictured here (all recipes in the book).

Issy Croker


1½ tbsp coconut oil or ghee
flesh of 1 butternut squash (about 1kg), cut into 1cm cubes
200g cherry tomatoes
200g spinach
4-8 medium eggs (depending on the size of your pan and how hungry you are!)
1 tsp chilli flakes
60g mature Cheddar, grated
sea salt and black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to fan 220C/240C/gas 9. Put the oil into a very large ovenproof dish or roasting tin and place in the oven for a few minutes for the oil to melt, then carefully remove. Use two trays if you need to, especially if you’re making extra eggs.
2. Toss the squash and cherry tomatoes in the melted oil and roast in the oven for 18 minutes. Remove the dish, tossing everything together, add the spinach and return to the oven.
3. After 5 minutes, the spinach will have wilted, so remove the dish again and nudge things around with a wooden spoon to create four to eight small gaps. Crack in the eggs, season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes, scatter over the cheese and return to the oven for another 2-3 minutes or until the whites have just set and yolks are still runny.


Eat Happy: 30-Minute Feelgood Food by Melissa Hemsley is published by Ebury, price £20. As well as Melissa’s introduction and brilliant advice and tips for time-savvy, good-for-you meals, chapters cover breakfast and brunch, bowl food, meat, fish and vegetable mains, salads, sides, snacks, dips and canapés, sweets and drinks. To order a copy for £16 until 18 February, visit or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.