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Breakfast/Brunch, Economical, Main Dishes, Stuffing Stuff, Vegetarian

Overnight Strata

by Nick

Breakfast is sometimes a nuisance over the holidays. I mean, everyone has to eat it, but it sometimes just gets in the way – especially if you have an entire day of cooking ahead of you.

But what if I told you there was a better way? A strata way.

Strata, if you don’t know, is a classic baked dish that usually involves layers of custard mixture, veggies, and cheese. You could add meat to it, but my favorite strata recipes are always heavy on the veggies.

The best thing about this dish? You make it the day before so breakfast is as easy as popping it in the oven. What’s better than that?

Yield
Serves 4.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Tomato and Broccoli Strata

Ingredients

  • 2 cups bread, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbs de provence

Directions

1) Butter an 8x8 baking dish. Rip up a few slices of bread and measure out two cups of cubed bread. Press the bread into the baking dish.

2) Top the bread with 3/4 of the cheddar cheese, broccoli florets (cut into small pieces) and quartered cherry tomatoes.

3) Whisk together eggs, milk, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour custard mixture over the veggies and bread. Try to distribute it evenly over the baking dish.

4) Top strata with dollops of ricotta cheese, the extra cheddar cheese, parsley, and herbs de provence.

5) Wrap the strata with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before baking.

6) Bake strata at 350 degrees F. for about an hour until the cheese is melted and custard is set in the center.

Let the strata cool briefly, but serve warm. You can double the recipe for an 9x13 baking dish.

A Custard Base

Leftover bread (or rolls) that are a bit stale are the perfect item for this dish. Using really fresh bread is actually not great because the bread will get too mushy. If you only have fresh bread and can’t wait, I recommend drying out the bread for 10-15 minutes in a 250 degree F. oven.

Then cube up your bread pieces into small chunks and measure out two cups. Add that to an 8×8 baking dish that’s been nicely buttered.

Bread and butta.

Bread and butta.

Now for the custard mixture. This is as easy as whisking together the eggs with the milk and a pinch of salt and pepper. When this soaks into the bread and bakes it’ll turn light and fluffy and be really delicious as a base layer for the veggies and cheese.

Custard business.

Custard business.

On top of the bread, sprinkle about 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese. You don’t need to over-do it on the cheese here.

Veggies Galore

Then add your grape tomatoes and broccoli. I’m usually not one for using fresh tomatoes in the winter, but the little grape tomatoes are usually ripe and fine in the stores these days. They aren’t perfect summer quality, but they will totally work for this dish.

Make sure to cut the florets really small for the broccoli so you can spread them around evenly. If you’re not a broccoli fan you could double the tomatoes or use any other sturdy green.

Love the colors!

Love the colors!

Then pour all the custard mixture over the veggies. It will drain through the veggies and soak into the bread which is exactly what you want.

Dot the veggies with some ricotta cheese and the last of the cheddar.

More cheese obviously.

More cheese obviously.

Cover this bad boy with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge overnight.

What happens overnight?

Magic. That’s what. The bread soaks up all that delicious egg mixture and almost turns into a solid layer. Think savory bread pudding.

The next morning, take the strata out about 30 minutes before you want to bake it just to take the chill off and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Before baking, sprinkle the strata with some fresh parsley and some herbs de provence if you have them.

Bake this sucker until the center is set and the edges are browned. It’ll need to bake for about an hour.

Boom!

Boom!

Once the strata has cooled a bit, slice it up and serve it.

This recipe feed four hungry souls, but you can easily double it and bake it in a 9×13 dish.

Love this with hot sauce.

Love this with hot sauce.

It actually turns out being a much lighter dish than you would think. As you might imagine, I doused mine in hot sauce, but that’s just me.

If you have a hole in your breakfast meal plan this coming holiday week, toss this sucker together the night before.

Instead of stressing it… strata it! (See what I did there?)

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17 comments on “Overnight Strata

  1. I’m saving this one & will be making it this week. I LOVE the fact that it’s meatless & relatively light on cheese. I’ve always wanted to make an overnight breakfast dish, particularly a strata, but they always feature lots of meat & cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I love them both, but your version just seems lighter & at least a bit healthier. Colourful too!!!

      1. I shared on Foodies & lots of people have viewed it! I was thinking of adding zucchini as I love it, but am I right in thinking it would release too much moisture?

        1. Ummm… you could do it. Slice it on the thin side and it should be okay. If it’s thick pieces though then yea, they would just get soggy.

  2. This is hilarious. I was just looking at a recipe for a strata with spinach and cheese. I’ve never had a strata. You’ve convinced me. Your recipe looks better than the one I saw, btw.

  3. Thanks for this.. always looking for variation on this dish.. I do what is called a Christmas Morning wife saver breakfast and another one by Michael Smith, smoked salmon rye bread for Christmas morning!! No leftover with a crowd!

  4. This looks amazing. I LOVE broccoli but my new husband isn’t such a fan. Would asparagus be a good, sturdy substitute or would it be a little awkward?

    1. Hey Amy, I think asparugus would work just fine! I would cut it into about 1-inch chunks and try to fine a tiny asparagus. The huge thick ones might be a bit bulky in the dish. Good luck!

  5. Hi there, I’m a longtime fan with a question unrelated to this post (so sorry!). I can’t seem to find your saltine cracker brickel recipe though I’ve been searching your recipes- can you post a link for me?
    Thank you and keep up the good work- your posts are always well-written and enjoyable to read and as someone who used to live in Colorado I enjoy visiting vicariously.

    Mags

    1. Hey Heather, that’s a bit of a different thing. Potatoes aren’t really going to absorb the liquid so I would just whisk about 1/4 cup of milk into the eggs and then pour the eggs over the potatoes. Should work fine though after that. It’s basically a potato casserole at that point which is very delicious. Good luck. :)

  6. Is the custard mixture made by whisking the eggs w/ the milk, salt, and pepper? The directions say to whisk the eggs w/ salt and pepper, but the picture looks as if that’s the part where you also add the milk. Thanks!

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