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This vegetarian cheese strata is a delicious make-ahead breakfast for special occasions. Cubes of crusty bread are layered with kale, eggs, and three types of cheese. Prepare it the night before and then bake it while you make your coffee!
This kale and gruyère cheese strata is our go-to make-ahead breakfast for special occasions – think Mother's Day, Christmas, or birthdays. It's exactly what we want to eat with a cup of coffee and a mimosa.
This comforting casserole is basically crusty bread layered with kale and cheese and then soaked in an egg custard and baked until it's golden. You can think of it as a savory bread pudding.
To make it, just sauté the vegetables until they're soft and wilted. Cut or tear a loaf of crusty bread into cubes and then layer it into a baking dish with the cheese and cooked vegetables.
Whisk the eggs, milk, and dijon mustard and slowly pour this over the bread as it soaks into every nook and cranny. You can bake it right away, or place it in the fridge until you're ready to bake it the next day.
It's a great breakfast to make if you're hosting because you can make it the day before, and it's easily doubled for a larger crowd. It's hearty and nourishing and everyone always raves about it!
Cheese and kale strata ingredients
Here's everything you need to make this vegetarian cheese strata recipe:
- Red onion + garlic sauteed in olive oil – the flavor of onion and garlic pairs so well with cheese and bread.
- Kale – curly kale is what we use in the pictures, but any kale variety will work. You can also use spinach.
- Sea salt, black pepper, and chili flakes – the chili flakes give a very mild heat, but if you prefer it not spicy, you can omit it.
- Butter – for buttering the baking dish to esure it doesn't stick.
- French bread – we like to use crusty French bread cubes but you can use sourdough, multigrain, or any other bread you love.
- Cheese – we use a mix of gruyère, cheddar, and parmesan for lots of bold cheesy flavor.
- Eggs – whisked eggs and milk make a custard that soaks into the bread and bakes up beautifully.
- Milk – we like the creaminess of whole milk or 2%.
- Dijon mustard – just a bit of dijon mustard for its tangy, sharp taste.
How to make cheese strata
This make-ahead vegetarian strata is a cheesy and satisfying breakfast casserole that comes together quickly and easily. Here's how we make it in a few simple steps:
- Start by sautéing the veggies until the onion is soft and the kale has wilted.
- Butter a baking dish and layer in a third of the bread, followed by a third of the veggies, and a third of the cheese. Reserve a handful of cheese, and repeat two more times until all the ingredients are used.
- Whisk the eggs, milk, and dijon and then slowly pour the egg mixture over the layers of bread (making sure to spread it evenly over all the pieces of bread). Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and either bake it right away or cover it and store it in the fridge overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 350 Fahrenheit and bake the strata until it's puffed in the center and browning around the edges. Make sure to let it stand for a few minutes before serving. There's no need to slice it, just scoop it onto plates or into bowls!
Can I use different cheese?
Yep! You can use pretty much any mixture of firm (or hard) cheese that you like. We've also used feta and goat cheese with great success.
How far ahead of time should I make it?
This kale strata doesn't need to sit overnight, but it certainly can. It's best to make it no more than one day ahead.
Can I freeze it?
Unbaked strata should not be frozen; once it's cooked, you can freeze the leftovers. Freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to a month.
How long do leftovers keep?
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
What to serve with strata for brunch
This kale strata is a delicious make-ahead dish that's perfect for hosting, special occasions, or even slow mornings. With ingredients like eggs, bread, cheese, and vegetables, it's basically a complete meal so you don't need to serve it with anything.
If you're serving a crowd, serve it family-style with other breakfast or brunch foods like fresh fruit or fruit salad, bacon (or veggie bacon), breakfast sausages, smoky roast potatoes, and something sweet like healthy carrot muffins.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large red onion (minced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 cups chopped kale
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 8 cups french bread (cubed)
- 2 cups finely grated gruyere
- 2 cups finely grated white cheddar
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 3 tablespoon dijon mustard
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the kale and let it cook until it has wilted. Add the salt, pepper, and chili flakes, stir to combine, then remove the pan from the heat.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 large red onion, 3 cloves garlic, 3 cups chopped kale, 1 teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon chili flakes, ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Butter the bottom of a 12"x9" baking dish. Add ⅓ of the bread cubes then top with ⅓ of the kale mixture and ⅓ of each of the cheeses. Repeat 3 times, reserving a small handful of cheeses.1 teaspoon butter, 8 cups french bread, 2 cups finely grated gruyere, 1 cup finely grated parmesan, 2 cups finely grated white cheddar
- Whisk the eggs, milk, and dijon mustard in a medium-sized bowl. Slowly and carefully pour the mixture over the bread. The baking dish will be very full so you will need to go slow enough to give the eggs and milk time to soak into the bread. Top the strata with the remaining handful of cheese then cover tightly with aluminum foil. Either bake right away or refrigerate the strata for up to 1 day.8 large eggs, 2 cups milk, 3 tablespoon dijon mustard
- If you have refrigerated the strata remove it from the fridge. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the strata for 45-55 minutes, or until it is puffed, browned, and set in the center. Let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.