Kale, Mushroom, and Cheddar Bake

Casserole of chopped fresh kale, mushrooms, onions, ciabatta bread, cheddar cheese, milk, and eggs.

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


  • 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


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

2 Sauté kale: 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.

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3 Add onions, mushrooms, sauté: 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 Whisk milk and eggs: In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs.

5 Layer casserole dish with bread, kale mushroom mix, cheese: 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.

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Top again with the remaining kale mixture, and then with a third of the cheese.  Lay the remaining slices of bread over the top.

6 Pour milk egg mixture over bread, top with cheese: 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.)

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7 Bake: 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.

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  • Janna

    This was so good! I used rosemary sourdough bread from Whole Foods. Added some red pepper flakes to the kale and some thyme when adding the salt & pepper. I also added a touch of garlic powder to the egg/milk mixture. My husband and I plan to enjoy this one for years to come, thank you!

  • Jesse figuera

    This was so easy and so delicious and even tastier the next day. Thank you!

  • Carolinamoonshina

    There is a diabetic in our midst. Wonder if I could cut half the bread…

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Auts

    I just made this. It smells SO good and thank you for sharing a delicious recipe!

  • 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?

  • Sues

    Oh my gosh this looks awesome! I just made a mac and cheese with kale (and lots of cheddar!) and now I think it’s time for this one! :)

  • 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.


  • Ellie Luna

    Could spinach be substituted for the kale?

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!!!

  • 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.

    • Cassie

      That sounds like the big winner so far when adding meat! Thank you!!

  • Nancy

    I made this today. There wasn’t a bit left. Very nice dish. Thanks again!

  • Melissa

    I made this for dinner tonight & was great! It was easy and quick. Perfect weekday meal. I added a little garlic. Yum! Thank you!

  • 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!

    • Katnski

      By the way, I used unsweetened original almond milk and it was just fine.

  • 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?

    • Elise

      I think I used 2% milk, which turned out fine. You can always add a little cream to the milk or just use skim milk.

  • Kathy Mader

    I like that pan. Can you please tell us what kind it is? Thank you.

    • Elise

      The maker is Cote Table. A friend gave it to me as a gift. She bought it in New York at a place that no longer carries that line.

  • 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?

  • Sandy S

    This looks so good! I’m going to try it with GF bread and a mix of cremini and shiitake mushrooms. Wish me luck!

    • 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?

  • 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.

  • jenny

    Could I make this without using eggs? Just milk?

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • Andreea

    Can I replace the bread with lasagna sheets or something else ?

    • Elise

      I wouldn’t, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out for you.

      • 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…


        • Former expat

          I used to live in the Netherlands, and what you are describing sounds like stamppot to me – a very traditional Dutch dish. I don’t know how to make it, but I guess if you search for stamppot recipes there should be something good on the web! For starters, here’s the recipe from the Albert Heijn (most prevalent Dutch grocery store) website:


          Hope this helps!

  • Valerie

    This looks great! For passover I’m going to try this but swap out the bread for matzo.

  • Lisa Eirene (@LisaEirene)

    This looks amazing! What would you substitute for the mushrooms?

    • Elise

      If you don’t like mushrooms, just skip the mushrooms.