Kale, Mushroom, and Cheddar Bake

Are you a lover of kale? Bread? Cheese? Mushrooms? Then you are likely to love this recipe from Jennie Perillo as much as I do. It’s basically a simplified strata of sorts, a casserole layering thin slices of rustic ciabatta bread with sautéed kale, mushrooms, and onions, and cheddar cheese, soaked with milk and egg, and then baked until bubbly and browned. It’s the ultimate kale lover’s comfort food. The recipe is from Jennie’s new cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie’s Kitchen, a beautiful book with photographs by Penny De Los Santos, heart warming prose, and tummy warming recipes for the home cook.

There are a dozen recipes in Jennie’s book that I can’t wait to make, but this one caught my eye first. It’s vegetarian and filling (so, perfect for Lent), and I have a hard time resisting anything with bread, mushrooms, cheddar, and kale. I think the next time I make it I may swap out some of the cremini mushrooms for shiitake, to make it even more intensely mushroomy. And while the recipe calls for kale, you could easily make this with chard or other good braising greens. It reminds me a bit of the panade we made here a while back, a bread soup with greens, mushrooms, and onions, just without the soup part. Enjoy!

Kale Mushroom Cheddar Bake on Simply Recipes

Kale, Mushroom, and Cheddar Bake Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch (7 oz or 200 g) lacinato kale (dinosaur or Tuscan kale), center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 ounces (140 g) of cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 loaf (185 grams) ciabatta bread, cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) milk
  • 4 ounces (112 g) grated cheddar cheese

Method

1 Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with a little olive oil and set aside.

2 Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the thinly sliced kale and cook until just wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes.

kale-mushroom-cheddar-bake-1 kale-mushroom-cheddar-bake-2

3 Add the onions and mushrooms, and add salt and pepper to taste. Increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have released their moisture and the onions are translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

4 In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs.

kale-mushroom-cheddar-bake-3 kale-mushroom-cheddar-bake-4

5 Line the bottom of the casserole pan with one third of the thinly sliced bread. Spread one half of the kale mushroom onion mixture over the bread.  Sprinkle one third of the cheddar cheese over the top. Lay down the second third of the bread slices. Top again with the remaining kale mixture, and then with a third of the cheese.  Lay the remaining slices of bread over the top.

kale-mushroom-cheddar-bake-5 kale-mushroom-cheddar-bake-6

6 Pour the milk egg mixture over the bread, pressing down with a spatula so that the milk is absorbed by the casserole layers. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheddar cheese. (At this point you can chill overnight for making ahead, or continue.)

7 Let the casserole sit for about 15 minutes to further absorb the milk while you preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).  Cover with foil. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbly.  Let the casserole sit for a few minutes before serving.

Recipe from Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen, by Jennifer Perillo. Republished here with the permission of the author.

Links:

Panade - Bread Soup with Chard, Onions, and Mushrooms here on Simply Recipes

Broccoli Casserole here on Simply Recipes

Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen - book available on Amazon.com

 

Kale Mushroom Cheddar Bake on Simply Recipes

62 Comments

      • Chris

        My in laws are Dutch. My mother in law used to make a receipe that is famous in Holland, with potatoes, kale, sausage. She is suffering with Altiemzers… and doesn’t remember… can you help me??? I have been racking my brains trying to remember all the ingriedents…
        Thanks,

        Chris

  1. Cassie

    This looks amazing!! It hits every favorite of mine right on the nose! But the boys in my family wont even try it if meat isn’t a main ingredient. :( I really like cooking for my whole family when I get to see them… does anyone have advice of how I could incorporate meat into the dish? Thanks a ton!!

    • Jaackie

      The most unhealthy but the best in my mind would be bacon. Cook it first then crumble it and put it between the kale and the cheese. You really wouldn’t have to use very much.

    • Derek

      Bacon is always safe :) Chop some up and get it crunchy to start. Remove the bacon and use the fat instead of the olive oil. add the bacon bits back in when you layer it. A good assertive sausage like chirozo should also work. Though if you use the mexican (raw) kind, I would remove most of the grease before adding the other ingredients.

    • Hillary

      I think the dish sounds perfect as-is but if you wanted to add meat, I bet chicken or turkey sausage would be yummy, either in addition to or in place of the mushrooms.

    • sepeters

      You could leave out the eggs, but they act as a binder in this recipe, making the milk thicker and helping the bread, veggies and cheese to all congeal and thus hold together when fully cooked. Make sure you use a substitute (I would do 3 tablespoons tapioca or cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of ground flax or chia seeds combined with the milk before pouring over) or it will be soggy, runny and crumbly.

  2. Nancy

    Sounds good. I have all the ingredients and I am making it on Saturday for a church brunch. Will report back with results. I know it will be good, all of your recipes are great! Thanks.
    Cassie, just add some cooked sausage, ham or chorizo.

    • Sandy S

      Made this with a GF Chia-Millet bread. As it was fresh and already sliced, a bit tricky to work with, but found the recipe well worth the effort! Perhaps freezing or letting the bread dry out will make it easier to slice? (Rumor has it, we will soon have a GF bakery here. Oh, Happy Day!) I imagine playing with other savory combinations like escarole and maybe other cheeses and herbs. Also, would like to try more of a breakfast dish with sliced sweet or cinnamon bread, cream and fruit? Or maybe bacon and maple flavors?

  3. Ann Stehlin

    What is ciabatta bread? Never heard of it. Where do you get it and what’s the difference between that and other breads?

  4. Gayle Prochko

    This recipe looks simply amazing – I think I’m making this for dinner this evening!

    I am a new subscriber to your blog, Elise, and I’m so glad I’ve discovered it! It’s just as good, if not better, as any major foodie website. Thanks so much!

  5. Farmgirl Susan

    This looks and sounds fantastic! Definitely my kind of comfort food. Sounds perfect for today too – all I have to do is dig the kale in my kitchen garden out from under the snow, lol. Our biggest winter snowstorm of the year arrived on the second day of spring. :)

  6. Nate

    Do you have to use whole milk for this recipe? We usually only drink skim milk, but something tells me that would maybe make this too watery, am I correct?

  7. Katnski

    I made this tonight using Swiss chard, which I had on hand, and this was an unqualified success! We all loved this dish and it has immediately found itself a prominent place in my recipe rotation. It’s a delicious strata-type casserole which combines so many wonderful flavors. You never fail to post terrific, doable recipes. Thanks for making me look like I know what I’m doing in the kitchen, Elise!

  8. T. Hannibal Gay

    As for adding meat, try a sweet boiled honey ham cut into thin strips on one layer of the kale and some crumbled apple smoked bacon on the second layer. This recipe is a winner even if Dr. Adkins is spinning in his grave. I promise to walk an extra twenty miles this month Doc. Please stop spinning.

  9. Denise

    We made this last night. It was incredible! I could have eaten it all. I don’t know what made it so immensely appealing to my taste buds but nevertheless it is now one of my favorites. Okay, here were the necessary-because-we-didn’t-want-to-go-to-the-store substitutes and one addition (I’m sorry–where there is onion, there is garlic, right?)
    *French bread instead of ciabatta
    *Some type of Wisconsin 12-month-aged “nutty and sharp” *cheese— and, indeed, it was.
    And that’s it. The only subs.
    Thank you so much for posting this fabulous recipe!!!

  10. Shelly

    I’m making this for dinner tonight, it’s in the oven now. I added nutmeg to my kale mixture and it tasted wonderful. I can hardly wait for it to finish cooking! I am a vegetarian, but I imagine it would be great with bacon as well. I think I may try it with smoked paprika next time for that bacon-y flavor. Great dish, thanks for sharing!

  11. Alex

    This casserole is currently in the oven and it smells SO good! We decided to add some diced bacon that we rendered, but otherwise followed it to a ‘T’! My fiance is not a huge fan of kale, but I think this will win him over! And for those of you concerned about the calories, I am currently counting calories and after working out the recipe (with skim milk and bacon, regular cheese), it works out to only about 280 calories per serving, so don’t stress!! Thanks for another winner, Elise!

  12. mantha

    This kind of thing is what’s so wonderful about kale. It will stand up to a double process of cooking and still have plenty of body without wilting to mush or turning that overcooked khaki-green color. This sounds like pure comfort just as it is, even as a hearty brunch dish, but I like someone’s idea of adding a little spicy sausage.

    • reen

      I think spinach would turn too mushy and watery in this dish – it would have to be a strong green like chard, if you don’t use kale, to stand up.

  13. Kathy

    I tried this this weekend and both my husband and I really enjoyed it. I put it together in the morning and after spending the day working in the garden, it was very nice to just bake off. I made it exactly to the recipe but will like to try with chard next time.

  14. Hiram

    Hello! I have a sensitive palate and a number of food allergies, but I pride myself on my sophisticated taste. Mushrooms are an ingredient I have trouble with sometimes. Are there any substitutes to mushrooms for those of us with allergies/reactions?

  15. yeni

    We’re not big fans of cheesy casserole type, but this kale cheddar mushroom bake is the perfect comfort food. Wholesome, healthy, comforting without being overly cheesy. Somehow the combination works! And the best part is the crunchy chedar-y top. We fought for it! Thanks for sharing such a delightful recipe.

  16. Ozzie

    Do you think I could get this all ready in the dish and freeze it as is? I’d like to have this ready to go for when I’m in labor but obviously that is not something I can plan easily HAHA :) I’m planning a homebirth and thought this would be a great dish for my birth team to munch on while I’m laboring. Thanks!

    • Elise

      Great question, the answer is I’m not sure. I think you could make it, and then freeze it, and then just reheat. Or make it except for the milk and egg, freeze that, defrost it, pour over the milk mixture, and bake it.

  17. LeeAnn

    I made this last night and we loved it. This is the first time I’ve ever made a “bread” casserole, so I was a little nervous, but it will definitely be made again!

    My minor changes: substitued chard for the kale, our personal preference. I felt there could have been more, next time I will double the amount I use. I used shallots in place of onions and added garlic. I had some bacon leftover from breakfast, so added that in, too.

    Thank you for the great recipe!

  18. Alison

    Hi!! I have been following you for awhile and make lots of items from your website. Thank you so much for all the wonderful recipes (my boyfriend wants to thank you also.) I made this recipe last night and it was A-MAZE-ING. I would have never thought about this as a combination. I used a bunch of left over greens from Easter and it was wonderful. BRAVO – AGAIN

  19. Berit

    I could use some advice. I think I did something wrong with this recipe, even though I thought I followed it to the letter. The bottom layer turned out very, very mushy. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

  20. Berit

    I think I made this recipe incorrectly somehow. The bottom layer of bread came out really mushy. Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated!

  21. Simone

    Made this a few days ago. To please my husband, I left out the mushrooms and added 2 layers of freshly sliced Roma tomatoes instead. Was delicious!

  22. Emily C.

    Hi Elise, I know this is a little late but I cooked this for my boyfriend last night and we LOVED it! We’re trying to only eat meat a couple times a week, and this was such a satisfying vegetarian meal.

    I used portabello mushrooms because they were on sale and also threw in some zucchini after the mushrooms cooked down a bit. The flavors were just awesome. Thanks so much for the wonderful recipes and making me a better cook.

Post a comment

Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for waiting. First time commenting? Please review the Comment Policy.

Some HTML is OK. URLs are automatically converted to links. Line breaks are automatically converted to paragraphs. The following HTML tags are allowed: a, abbr, acronym, b, blockquote, cite, code, del, em, i, q, strike, strong