Spinach & Cheese Strata

Tested & Perfected Recipes

With spinach, cheese and bread baked in a savory custard, this make-ahead strata is perfect for entertaining.

strata

This elegant brunch strata — really a savory bread pudding with spinach, cheese, and cubes of bread baked in custard — is ideal for entertaining. You do all of the preparation the night before and then let it rest in the fridge overnight. The next morning you simply turn the oven on, place the strata in, and effortlessly wait for brunch to emerge. It’s a ‘wow’ dish so you can keep the sides simple: crispy bacon, a Strawberry & Orange Fruit Salad, and Mimosas would be perfect.

What You’ll need to make Spinach and Cheese Strata

ingredients

Before we get started, a few words about the ingredients. It’s important to use good quality cheese. The recipe calls for a combination of Gruyère and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese but since they are both expensive, it’s fine to substitute something else; just use a good melting cheese with bold flavor, like an extra sharp cheddar. The recipe is pretty flexible so you can play around with different sautéed vegetables depending on what you have on hand. Some cooked sausage or pancetta would also be good — just be sure to reduce the salt in the recipe to a scant teaspoon or the dish will be way too salty.

How to make Spinach and Cheese Strata

Begin by squeezing all of the water out of the spinach. This will take a few minutes — you won’t believe how much water is in there! Take your time; it’s important to get it all out.

squeezing-spinach-dry

Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

cooking-onions

Add the spinach and garlic and cook a few minutes more.

cooking-spinach

Layer a third of the bread in a buttered 3-quart baking dish.

layering-strata-1

Top with a third of the spinach.

layering-strata-2

Followed by a third of each cheese.

layering-strata-3

Repeat layering twice, ending with the cheese.

layering-strata-4

Make the custard by combining the eggs, half-and-half-Dijon mustard salt, pepper and nutmeg.

making-custard

Pour evenly over top of the strata.

pouring-custard-over-strata

Then cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

ready-to-bake

Bake for about 75 minutes, until puffed, set and golden all over.

Spinach-Cheese-Strata-1

Note: My starting point for this recipe was this popular strata originally published in Gourmet magazine. I increased the spinach; amped up the flavor by adding garlic and increasing the salt, and swapped the milk for half-and-half and reduced the baking temperature from 350°F to 325°F for a creamier texture.

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Spinach & Cheese Strata

With spinach, cheese and bread baked in a savory custard, this make-ahead strata is perfect for entertaining.

Servings: 8-10
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 75 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes, plus at least one hour to sit in the fridge

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bag chopped frozen spinach, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 ounces (3/4 pound) Italian sandwich bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 11 slices or 8 cups)
  • 6 ounces (1-1/2 cups) coarsely grated Gruyère
  • 2 ounces (2/3 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2-3/4 cups half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible.
  2. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and drained spinach and cook 2 minutes more. Set aside.
  3. Butter a 3-quart (or 9x13-inch) baking dish. Spread one third of the bread cubes in the dish and top evenly with one third of spinach mixture. (Try to break it up as much as possible so there are no huge clumps of spinach.) Sprinkle with one third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice, ending with cheeses.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the half-and-half, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and nutmeg and whisk until well combined. Pour the custard mixture evenly over the strata. Cover the strata with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake the strata, uncovered, until puffed, set and golden brown all over top, 70-75 minutes. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.
  6. Note: The cook time is based on the strata going immediately from the fridge to the oven. If it sits out at room temperature before baking, the cook time will be 10-15 minutes less.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 483
  • Fat: 30g
  • Saturated fat: 16g
  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Sodium: 1117mg
  • Cholesterol: 280mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I made this for Easter brunch and my family loved it. It was so yummy! I do think I need to add a few more pieces of Italian bread next because it was still a bit squishy in the middle, even after baking for 75 minutes. (I also let the strata sit out for 15 minutes prior to baking). My sis and mom want this in the regular rotation now. Thanks for a delicious recipe!

    • — Coop on April 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • Could I use an oval 3 1/2 quart baking dish for the Spinach and Cheese Strara,
    Or is that too big? I plan to make this for Easter Brunch.
    Thank you, Peg

    • — Peg on April 1, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Peg, that should be fine, but the strata won’t be quite as deep and won’t take as long to bake, so keep a close eye on it. Happy Easter!

      • — Jenn on April 1, 2021
      • Reply
    • Thank you for responding so quickly! You are my go to for recipes, everything I have made has been perfect. Can’t wait to serve this to my family!
      Peg

      • — Peg on April 1, 2021
      • Reply
  • This recipe looks delicious. I was wondering, if serving as a brunch, what kind of accompaniment would you suggest to go with it?

    • — Lucie on March 31, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Lucie, This would be delicious with a fruit salad like this one (although good peaches may be be readily available yet). Another option is this Strawberry and Orange Salad. Either would be lovely. If you’d like bread as well, this focaccia would pair nicely. Hope you enjoy whatever you try!

      • — Jenn on March 31, 2021
      • Reply
      • Thank you for your speedy reply! Planning this for Easter brunch, will let you know how it turned out.

        • — Lucie on March 31, 2021
        • Reply
  • Can you use another bread, say a Challah?

    • — Barbara on March 22, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Challah would work nicely here. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi! This looks so delicious. I was wondering if you ever tried freezing it after being in the fridge overnight? I was thinking this would be a delicious thing to have around in the freezer for an improptu brunch. Thanks!

    • — Shana on March 13, 2021
    • Reply
    • Yes, Shana, as long as it’s already baked, you can freeze it. Hope you enjoy if you make it!

      • — Jenn on March 14, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Do you have recommendations for reheating this recipe after it has been frozen? Thank you.

    • — Rita on March 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Rita, When you’re ready to serve it, I’d defrost it in the fridge overnight. Before putting it in the oven, cover it tightly with foil, then reheat it at 325 degrees until hot in the center, probably about 40 minutes.

      • — Jenn on March 8, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made this last night, it was sooo good. Done in 65 minutes. I added in some diced Boars Head Honey Ham. Thanks for a great recipe, Jenn.
    Ally in NJ 🙂

    • — Ally O'Connor on March 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • My friend and I hosted a baby shower for my niece last year, and we served this strata for our brunch meal. It was the first time I had ever made it, but, having had complete success with all of your other recipes, I knew I could depend on it to turn out and be delicious. It surpassed my expectations, and everyone raved about it! We served it accompanied with a fresh fruit salad and Mimosas, and everything was a hit. I have since made it again for special occasions. It’s not difficult, is very attractive in appearance, and has delicious flavor. It’s a welcome change from the usual sausage/cheese/bread/eggs breakfast casserole I have made for years. Once again I want to thank you for sharing your delicious recipes and your professional knowledge and advice with those of us who secretly wish we had pursued the culinary arts!!! 🙂

    • — Jean Cavender on January 30, 2021
    • Reply

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