Every home cook has at least one dish they can practically make in their sleep. For me, that’s strata, which is basically a casserole made with layers of toasted bread, vegetables (or meat) and cheese soaked in an egg custard.
It’s the perfect dish for brunch, luncheons, or dinner and embodies my favorite type of home cooking: rustic, adaptable, and easy to make ahead. All of which means less stress when mealtime rolls around.
What's in This Strata?
I make this vegetarian casserole with mushrooms and Brussels sprouts, flavored with a hit of onion, garlic, and thyme.
For the bread, sourdough is my go-to. As for cheese, I love how the grassy tang and subtle barnyard funk of fresh chèvre plays with the earthy mushrooms and bitter sprouts, so I dot the strata with generous dollops of the fresh goat’s milk cheese.
Strata is incredibly flexible, so once you’ve made a few, you can really start to have fun by playing around with different fillings, using other kinds of bread, or swapping out one cheese for another.
Mix It Up: Ways to Adapt This Casserole
If goat cheese isn’t your thing, that’s fine! Don’t like Brussels sprouts? Leave them out! Not a fan of sourdough? Any rustic country-style loaf will work.
- Crumbles of briny feta
- Grated Parmesan
- Smoked mozzarella
- Shredded Gruyère
- Double down on mushrooms
- Toss in a handful of spinach, swiss chard, or kale
- Use up chunks of leftover roasted delicata or other winter squash
As a longtime San Francisco resident, I’m obligated to use sourdough in my recipes. Just kidding, but I really do love the tang of a good sourdough loaf and always have some on-hand in my kitchen.
- Tender and buttery brioche
- Country loaf
- Sandwich bread? If that’s what you have, use it!
Strata: The Easiest Make-Ahead Meal
Strata is best when served warm, but it’s also pretty dang good at room temperature. I don’t like to freeze my stratas, but in terms of time-saving do-aheads, you have options.
Step by Step: You can toast the bread and sauté the mushrooms and sprouts one to two days ahead.
All at Once: Assemble the whole shebang the night before you plan to bake it. For this method, once you’ve cooked the veggies in the skillet, assemble the strata in a 9x13-inch glass baking dish. Cover and store the baking dish in the refrigerator overnight (don’t worry; the bread loves the extra long soak in the custard). The next morning, set the baking dish on the counter while the oven warms up, and bake according to the recipe instructions.
More Savory Vegetarian Casseroles
Brussels Sprouts, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Casserole
8 ounces (1/2 of a 1-pound loaf) sourdough bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Pinch crushed red chile flakes
8 large eggs
1 pint (2 cups) half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 375℉
Cube and toast the bread:
Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. Spread the cubes evenly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and toast in the oven until just golden and crisp, about 10 minutes.
Cook the vegetables:
Set a large cast iron or oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil. Once it shimmers, add the onions and cook until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook until tender and most of their liquid has been released, about 7 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts, and another 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook until just tender and the pan is mostly dry, another 7 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, thyme, and crushed red chile flakes; cook until aromatic, another 30 seconds.
Add the bread:
Add the toasted bread cubes to the skillet and toss until combined with the mushrooms and Brussels sprouts. Remove from heat and set aside.
Make the custard:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
Finish the strata:
Pour the custard over the top of the bread mixture and let sit for at least 30 minutes so the bread cubes can soak up the custard. Stir the mixture occasionally to make sure custard is distributed evenly. Dot the top of the strata with the crumbled goat cheese.
Bake the strata:
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the strata until puffed, golden brown, and set in the center, about 45 minutes.
Enjoy warm or at room temperature with a salad or on its own.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 19g||24%|
|Saturated Fat 7g||36%|
|Total Carbohydrate 34g||12%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||19%|
|Total Sugars 7g|
|Vitamin C 53mg||265%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|