This Overnight Breakfast Strata can be anything you need it to be. With bread, eggs, cheese, seasonings, and fillings of your choice, the options are endless. Most of the flavor comes from the sausage and the cheese, but the fillings can easily consist of what you like OR what you have already in your fridge. The most important thing to remember is NOT to overflow your dish. You do this by sticking to the amounts provided below.
A Strata is a savory bread pudding (aka breakfast casserole), perfect for breakfast or brunch. This can be prepared the night before if you are short on time in the morning. Prepare the casserole, cover and refrigerate. It will be ready to bake when you get up the next day.
This recipe is very easy and I have made it many times throughout the years. It is definitely a go-to breakfast for us and I hope it will be for you too. Please read through everything and prepare your choices accordingly. Once you get the hang of it, this will be the only savory breakfast casserole you need.
Things You’ll Need:
Meat/Vegetarian Filling- For this recipe you will need 1 pound of meat or a meatless alternative, depending on your preference. I usually use some type of ground sausage, but if you prefer a vegetarian* option, just swap out the sausage.
- Italian Sausage, 1 lb., ground
- Breakfast Sausage, 1 lb., ground
- Plant Based Sausage*, 14-16 oz., ground
- Bacon, 1 lb., chopped into bite size pieces
- Ham, 1 lb., cubed
- Mushrooms*, 1 lb., sliced, or cut into fourths
Veggie Filling- In addition to your 1 pound of meat or alternative, you will need about 2 cups of vegetables.
- Onion, diced
- Green onion, sliced
- Fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- Red bell pepper, diced
- Green bell pepper, diced
- Mushrooms, sliced or cut into fourths
- Canned green chilies, diced
- Roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
Bread- 8 cups/12 ounces of ”day old’ bread works best. It does a better job at absorbing the egg mixture and staying intact when mixing. You can also cube a fresh loaf of bread into bite-sized pieces and leave it out to “dry” for a few hours before preparing the casserole. If you don’t have the time for this, just set it out while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- French Loaf
- Butter Bread
- Potato Bread
- Italian Loaf
- Texas Toast
- Gluten-Free Bread
Cheese- You will need 2 cups of freshly grated cheese. It melts SO much better if you grate it yourself. Pre-shredded cheese tends to be a little drier. You can use one type of cheese throughout or you can use a combination.
- Monterrey Jack
- Colby Jack
- Pepper Jack
9 x 13 Casserole Dish– Use a nice deep casserole dish to prevent overflowing as this bakes and the cheese melts in the oven. I also like to put my dish on a large cookie sheet to catch any spills that may occur.
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Tips & Tricks:
- If you are using bacon, you will have to drain the fat. Cook until it is no longer pink, then add your veggies and sauté with the meat until browned and the veggies are soft.
- When cooking the meat or plant based sausage, drain excess fat if needed. This will vary by brand and ingredients.
- If you are using mushrooms as a meat replacement, sauté first with 2 tablespoon of oil and 2 tablespoon of unsalted butter until soft, not browned. Mushrooms release moisture, but the pan can also dry out easily. If they dry out too fast, add an extra tablespoon of olive oil. They will also need some seasoning since we are skipping sausage. Add the rest of your veggies & seasonings, then cook for another 5 minutes or so.
- When baking the Strata, it is important to not under OR over cook it. I check mine at 40 minutes and if it is still soft and jiggles in the middle, cook for another 10 minutes. If you see that it is browning too much, just cover it with foil to prevent burning and drying out.
Looking for more breakfast ideas?
If you try this Overnight Breakfast Strata or any of my other recipes tag me on Instagram @joymakersandco, I’d love to see what you make!
Overnight Breakfast Strata
- 8 cups bread of choice, cubed
- 10 large eggs
- 2 cups cheese of choice shredded, reserve 1/2 cup for topping
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Meat/Vegetarian Filling Options
- 1 pound sausage, bacon, plant based sausage, or mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons oil & 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (ONLY if using mushrooms)
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (ONLY if using mushrooms)
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 2 cups vegetables of choice, (see above) (onions, spinach, bell peppers, roasted pepper, green chilies)
- Grease a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
- Cube the bread into bite-sized pieces. Grate your cheese. Set both aside.
- Combine the eggs, milk, mustard, seasoning, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Prepare your 2 cups of vegetables. You will also follow directions for your Meat/Alternative OR Vegetarian Filling, choose option 1 or 2 (see below).
- After you have prepared all the components of the Strata, it is time to assemble. Gently combine the bread, 1 1/2 cups of cheese, cooked vegetables and/or meats in with the egg mixture into the large bowl.
- Pour into the prepared casserole dish. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 1 hour OR overnight to let everything rest and set. This is a great time to clean up while it is in the fridge.
- When it is ready to cook, pre-heat oven to 350 F, 177 C, or Gas Mark 4. Bake on tray, uncovered and on the middle rack for 40 minutes. Check for doneness, it should be lightly browned and not jiggle. Cook for another 10 minutes if it is not quite cooked through. If it starts to brown too much at any point, just cover with foil.
- Remove from the oven and serve warm with your favorite fruit as a side dish. This will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. Enjoy!
Option #1 – Meat Filling:
- If using regular sausage, bacon or a plant based meat alternative, cook in a large frying pan on medium heat (use non-stick spray) until it is no longer pink, but not yet browned. Drain excess fat if necessary. Add your veggies and sauté with meat OR plant based sausage until soft, approximately 5 minutes. Set aside.
Option #2 – Vegetarian Mushroom Filling:
- If you are using mushrooms as your alternative to meat, cut them into fourths (bite sized pieces). Heat the oil & butter in a large frying pan on medium. Sauté until soft, then add the remaining veggies and continue to cook until soft, approximately 5 minutes.