Combine eggs, cheese, and the meats and vegetables of your choosing to create a comforting strata. These egg casseroles are simple to prepare, a way to use stale bread, and are wonderful dishes to bake for a brunch or potluck. Serve one of the following seven recipes in the morning with coffee or put it on plates as part of breakfast for dinner.
1. Portobello and Asparagus Egg Strata
Like many stratas, you do all the prep work with this Whole Foods recipe the night before. The casserole then goes into the fridge overnight and is baked the following morning.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ cup chopped yellow onion
- ¼ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 (8-ounce) package cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- ½ pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 5 cups (1-inch) cubes sourdough bread
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Directions: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and thyme and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms, asparagus, and ½ teaspoon of the salt and cook 5 minutes longer. Set aside. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, milk, mustard, parsley, pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Spread half of the bread over the bottom of a lightly greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with half of the mushroom mixture and a third of the goat cheese. Layer with remaining bread and mushroom mixture and pour egg mixture evenly over the top. Cover strata and chill overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove strata from refrigerator and bring to room temperature while the oven heats. Sprinkle remaining two-thirds goat cheese over the top and bake until firm in the center and golden brown on top, about 45 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
2. Corn and Chili Strata with Mexican Chorizo
It’s fitting that this recipe comes from Breakfast Comforts by Rick Rodgers, via Williams-Sonoma, because the baked breakfast certainly is comforting. The answer to your savory breakfast cravings, its ingredients also make it the perfect breakfast for dinner. The recipe will serve between 8 and 10.
- 3 poblano chilies
- 1½ cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for cooking
- 1 pound fresh Mexican-style chorizo sausage, casings removed
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 2 cups milk
- 8 eggs
- ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 slices day-old baguette, each ½ to ¾ inch thick
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Directions: Preheat a broiler. Place the chiles on a baking sheet and broil, turning occasionally, until blackened on all sides, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool until easy to handle. Peel off the blackened skin. Discard the stem, seeds and ribs, then chop the chilies. Transfer to a bowl and add the corn.
Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the chorizo and cook, breaking it up with the side of a wooden spoon, until it begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 3 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo mixture to paper towels to drain.
Lightly oil a 3-quart baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, hot pepper sauce, and salt until combined. Arrange 6 of the bread slices in a single layer on the bottom of the prepared dish, tearing the slices to fit, if needed. Top evenly with half of the chorizo mixture, half of the chili mixture, and half of the cheese. Repeat with the remaining bread slices, chorizo, and chili mixtures and cheese.
Slowly pour the milk mixture over the layers. Cover the baking dish securely with plastic wrap. Press gently on the plastic to submerge the layers in the milk mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Uncover the baking dish. Bake until the strata puffs and becomes golden brown, about 1 hour. Transfer the baking dish to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve the strata warm.
3. Caramelized Onion, Spinach, and Gruyere Cheese Strata with Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes
Leave it to Bobby Flay to create an above-average strata. On its own, his baked French bread and caramelized onion casserole from the Cooking Channel is a brunch dish you cannot refuse, but Flay upped the ante by adding a sautéed cherry topping. It yields 8 servings.
- 6 cups cubed day-old French bread, with crust
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 large Spanish onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 10 large eggs
- 2 cups grated aged gruyere cheese
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Sautéed cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons finely sliced fresh chives, plus more for garnish
Directions: Make the strata. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the bread on a baking sheet and toast until lightly golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Combine the butter and oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and cook until it begins to shimmer. Add the onions, toss to coat in the butter, then add the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, onions, and spinach. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1½ cups cheese, milk, heavy cream, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, thyme, and nutmeg. Butter a 9-by-13-inch decorative baking dish. Add the bread cubes to the baking dish, and then pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and press down to make sure the bread is totally submerged.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the strata uncovered until the mixture has puffed up slightly, is golden brown on top, and doesn’t shimmy with uncooked custard when you shake the pan, about 1 hour. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup cheese over the top during the last 10 minutes of baking. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
For the tomatoes, heat oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the tomatoes softened. Add the chives and remove from the heat. Serve large spoonfuls of the strata onto plates and top with sautéed tomatoes.
4. BLT Italian Strata
You don’t need to feed the masses to enjoy a breakfast strata. Rachel Ray baked her BLT Italian strata into single-serve ramekins, transforming a crowd-pleasing dish into a manageable, everyday size. You can still make the ramekins the night before and put them in the fridge, but doing so will require an additional 10 to 15 minutes of baking time.
- 8 slices bacon, chopped
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cups whole milk
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 4 cups cubed bread, from ½ baguette or any good-quality bread
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
- 8 leaves fresh basil, sliced
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella or smoked mozzarella, cubed
- Butter, for greasing 4 ramekins
- 2 cups baby arugula
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Directions: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and reserve.
While the bacon is cooking, in a medium-size bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and reserved bacon. Mix to combine. Set aside until ready to bake.
Rub the inside of 4 ramekins with butter. Scoop the bread mixture into each ramekin, pressing down so that it all fits tightly. Carefully pour the egg mixture over everything.
Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake uncovered until puffed and golden brown and a knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes. In a medium-size bowl, toss the arugula, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Top each ramekin with some arugula and serve.
5. Spinach, Mushroom, and Cheddar Strata
Want to make your strata even better? Do what The Boston Globe recommends and use rich breads like challah. Challah, in particular, has a slightly sweet taste and is rich and eggy. Use that or a similar bread not only because it will elevate the flavor, but also because as a dense bread, it will hold up well during the baking process. The recipe yields 10 servings.
- Butter (for the dish)
- 1 loaf (about 19 ounces) challah or other rich, white toasting bread, cut into thick slices
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 packages (10 ounces each) white or baby bella mushrooms, halved and thickly sliced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 10 ounces fresh baby spinach, rinsed
- 9 eggs
- 2½ cups whole milk
- 3 cups grated cheddar
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
Directions: Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Line the bottom with a layer of bread; do not overlap the slices. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms release their juices. Turn up the heat and continue cooking, stirring often, until the liquid evaporates. Set aside to cool.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave the spinach, covered with a paper towel, for 2 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking. Set aside to cool. Chop coarsely.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Sprinkle half the mushrooms over the bread in the dish. Add half the spinach and sprinkle with 1½ cups of cheese. Ladle half the egg mixture into the dish.
Add another layer of bread, fitting the pieces neatly so they make a layer with no overlapping pieces. Add mushrooms and spinach. Sprinkle with scallions. Ladle the remaining egg mixture on top. With your hands, press the bread into the dish so it is completely covered with egg. Sprinkle with the remaining 1½ cups cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or as long as 1 day.
Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before baking. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap and set the dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until puffed and brown. Cut into squares for serving.
6. Bacon and Cheddar Strata
Food.com has a recipe that lets you really customize the strata to be what you want. You can throw in any extra vegetables, spices, or for the truly carnivorous, extra meat. Of course, you don’t have to do any of that, because the savory strata is just as toothsome on its own; it yields 8 servings.
- 1 pound bacon
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 6 slices bread
Directions: Grease a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Fry the bacon, drain on paper towels, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Cube the bread into ¾-inch pieces and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the milk, mustard powder, salt, and blend well.
Stir in the bacon, cheese, and bread cubes. Stir well to combine. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 1 hour.
7. Brie-and-Veggie Breakfast Strata
Even on its own, baked brie is irresistible. Southern Living has only added to this factor, pairing the cheese with vegetables, bread, and more cheese. This strata will serve between 8 and 10. A variation can also be made by using 2 cups of shredded Swiss in place of brie.
- 1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1 large Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 (8-ounce) Brie round
- 1 (12-ounce) package sourdough bread loaf, cubed
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 8 large eggs
- 3 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Sauté first three ingredients in hot oil for 10 to 12 minutes or just until vegetables are tender and onion slices begin to turn golden. Trim and discard rind from Brie. Cut cheese into ½-inch cubes. Layer a lightly greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish with half each of bread cubes, onion mixture, Brie cubes, and Parmesan cheese.
Whisk together eggs and next four ingredients; pour half of egg mixture evenly over cheeses. Repeat layers once. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until lightly browned on top and set in center.