Strata is the eggier cousin to stuffing and bread pudding. It’s quicker to make than a quiche but ticks all the same boxes.
It’s that time of year when I want fabulous foods on hand at all times to suit my cravings, including breakfast and brunch. Since I favor the savory side, this vegetable strata suits the season to a “T.”
I wrote a detailed post all about strata so that you can learn how to build your own. For this post, I wanted to focus on making a deluxe holiday-worthy strata featuring vegetables only.
Special Occasion Strata
What makes strata special? Think of what you might be served in a restaurant… a single-serving strata with a rich custard, melty cheese and nuggets of tasty filling.
You don’t need any special ingredients to make a winning vegetable strata.
In fact, you probably already have everything you need for strata: eggs, day-old bread, a good melting cheese and onions…
Best Vegetables for Strata
From mushrooms to roasted peppers to butternut squash, there are so many options to pack your strata with flavor. I like to pick a single vegetable to highlight.
For this holiday strata recipe, I chose caramelized onions, which taste extravagant.
It’s true they take time to cook, but caramelized onions are one of those “more than the sum of its parts” ingredients. Through slow cooking, the humble onion turns into a jammy, sweet and savory element.
In fact, the caramelized onions are such a flavor powerhouse, they are enough to make this vegetable strata special. I also like to tuck some greens into just about any brunch item, so there is also blanched kale.
And since you can prepare these individual strata for baking, it’s a delicious way to have a lazy morning and still eat like you’re being served a special brunch.What is your favorite vegetable to tuck into a strata? Let me know in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.
Individual Caramelized Onion & Kale Strata
This strata is a balance of caramelized onions, cheese and bread baked in a rich custard. You can prepare it in advance for a festive brunch to serve in individual dishes. (If baked in advance you can remove the strata from the dishes for serving, or wrap them and freeze them for breakfast on the go.) This recipe also makes a terrific savory bread pudding side dish for a holiday meal. Individual servings make this humble strata feel special, or see Recipe Notes for baking it in a single dish.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 6 large eggs pastured
- 2 cups heavy cream or half and half
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 3/4-inch slices day-old country style bread, torn into bite-sized pieces (about 6 cups)
- 1 cup caramelized onions
- 1 cup blanched kale, spinach or other greens
- 6 ounces grated Gruyere (about 1 1/2 cups) or your favorite melting cheese
Butter individual ramekins and place them on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk the eggs with the cream, milk, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add the bread, caramelized onions, the kale and half of the cheese. Stir well to combine.
Using a spoon to press the bread into the liquid and allow to soak for about 10 minutes. Distribute the mixture into the ramekins and top with the remaining cheese. (You can prepare the recipe in advance up to this point and chill overnight.)
Bake until puffed, golden brown and the liquid in the center is fully set when tested with a table knife, about 30 minutes
To bake this as a single casserole, butter an 8-cup souffle dish. Transfer the mixture into the dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake until puffed, golden brown and fully set in the center when tested with a table knife, about 50 minutes.