Vegetarian Strata with Broccoli

Vegetarian Strata with Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese

This vegetarian strata is great for breakfast or brunch. Make it up the day before so breakfast is as easy as popping it in the oven.

Breakfast is often a nuisance for many aspiring home cooks. I mean, everyone has to eat it, but it sometimes just gets in the way – especially if you have other great meals planned for the day. This Vegetarian Strata is a nice option though because you make it entirely in advance and it bakes into a delicious and warming breakfast.

While many strata recipes include meat, I keep this version vegetarian and pack it full of veggies with broccoli and tomatoes. I add two kinds of cheese because, well, cheese.

After an overnight soak, it bakes up into a fluffy, almost pancake-like breakfast casserole that is a perfect savory way to start the day. 

What is a Breakfast Strata

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.

Different strata recipes will use different bread. I’ve seen everything from croissants to crusty old bread. Personally, I like slightly stale, but good quality, bread. 

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

Making the custard base for the veggie strata

Leftover bread (or rolls) that are a bit stale are the perfect item for this Vegetarian Strata. 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.

Bread and butter in casserole dish.
Bread and butta.

Then cube up your bread pieces into small 1-inch cubes and measure out two cups. Add that to an 8×8 baking dish that’s been nicely buttered or you can rub some olive oil on the dish.

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 for vegetarian strata.
Custard business.

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

Preparing the Veggie Ingredients

The next layer you should add to your strata is the vegetables. I use a mix of 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 Strata 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. 

Vegetables added to casserole dish.
Love the colors!

NOTE: I don’t find it necessary to cook the veggies before adding them to the strata. The strata needs a lot of baking time and the moisture from the custard will soften up the veggies just fine. 

Instructions for finishing the Strata

The last step before baking is to 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. Ready for oven.
More cheese obviously.

Cover the Vegetarian Strata 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 vegetarian strata in a casserole dish until the center is set and the edges are browned. It’ll need to bake for about an hour.

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

Overnight Vegetable Strata
Boom!

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

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

Strata substitution ideas

As you might imagine, this is actually a fairly flexible recipe. Here are some substitution ideas!

  • Think about different cheeses that would work or just use what you have. I’ve made stratas with gruyere cheese, goat cheese, or even with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top.
  • Go crazy with the vegetables. Onions, red bell peppers, slivered kale, mushrooms, pesto, and spinach are all good options. 
  • Add some meat! I like my strata vegetarian, but if you wanted to add some bacon, sausage, or ham, it’ll be great. Just make sure to cook the protein before adding it to the strata.
  • Make it sweet! Skip the veggies and double the bread. Add a dash of vanilla, cinnamon, and a few tablespoons of sugar to the custard and you will basically have a baked french toast version!

Storing and reheating the vegetarian strata

This strata reheats beautifully, as you might imagine. Store it in the fridge for 5 days and reheat either in the microwave or in a 350˚F oven until it’s warmed through. 

You can also freeze this strata with good results. Just get it as air-tight as possible and it’ll freeze for up to three months. Thaw before reheating and serving for best results. 

If you have a hole in your breakfast or brunch meal plan, toss this Broccoli Strata together the night before.

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

Love this with hot sauce.

VIDEO Walkthrough

My Vegetarian Strata Recipe

Vegetarian Strata with Broccoli and Tomatoes

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Serves 4
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Vegetarian Strata with Broccoli
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This vegetarian strata is great for breakfast or brunch. Make it up the day before so breakfast is as easy as popping it in the oven.

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

Instructions

1) Butter an 8×8 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 9×13 baking dish.

Nutrition Info

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18 Responses to “Vegetarian Strata with Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese” Leave a comment

  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?

      2. 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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