Make Ahead

Spinach & Cheese Strata

January 16, 2012
1 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Perfect for hosting a large brunch or when you're just too lazy to do much other than pad downstairs and pop something in the oven, say hello to the make-ahead strata. It’s basically savory bread pudding and tastes like a quiche and a frittata made sweet love and popped out a delicious cheesy, crusty, eggy baby. Prep everything the night before and bake it the next morning. Easy as pie. Or strata.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen ( —Shea

What You'll Need
  • 1 10 oz. package frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 dashes ground black pepper
  • 1 dash ground nutmeg
  • 1 loaf ciabatta, cubed
  • 1 cup gruyere, grated
  • 1 cup sharp white cheddar, grated
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 8 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Cube ciabatta and spread in one layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until lightly toasted and dried out. Set out until cooled to room temperature.
  2. Thaw spinach in microwave and remove all excess liquid. (My handy method is to wrap it in one million paper towels and wring it out.) Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, dash of pepper and continue cooking for one minute. Stir in spinach, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Grease baking dish with remaining tablespoon of butter. Spread half of the bread cubes in the dish and top with half of spinach mixture and half of cheese. Repeat layering with remaining bread, spinach and cheese. Whisk eggs, milk, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and another dash of pepper in a large bowl and pour over the strata, making sure to cover it evenly.
  4. Cover strata with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, preheat the oven to 350°F. While the oven heats up, set out the strata to let it come up to room temperature, about 30-45 minutes. Bake uncovered in the middle of the oven until golden brown and cooked through, approximately 50 minutes. To get it extra crispy on top, broil for 1-2 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Eat, sip your mimosa and help yourself to seconds. As an added bonus, the strata reheats really well in the microwave the next day.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Nanny Linn
    Nanny Linn
  • Shea
  • Karen
  • Trish

6 Reviews

Karen April 4, 2017
I was looking for a strata recipe as a jumping off point, and this is a good one for using up the stale italian bread in my fridge, the milk that is a couple days past the date on the carton but still tastes and smells fine, and the various cheeses in the cheese drawer. Plus, i had some ham that i sauteed with the onions. I made it after dinner tonight for tomorrow's dinner...breakfast for dinner is a family favorite, and I can't wait! Comfort food after a long day of work.
Trish July 27, 2014
What size ciabatta bread loaf. I tried this receipe but it did not come out right. The loaf of bread I got from Publix bakery was quite large. I used the whole loaf. You did not state the size of the baking dish. I used a 9 x 13 and there wasn't enough liquid to saturate bread even after sitting all night in fridge. Would like to try it again but I need more specifics. Thanks.
Nanny L. May 12, 2012
I doubled this recipe and used a 11 x 14 Emile Henry baking dish. It fit perfectly!
gayle W. February 12, 2014
I have a large ciabatta. It's net wait is 16 oz and 1 pound… how much should I use of the 1 " cube bread on this recipe. 6-8 cups?? Thank you so much!
Shea February 13, 2014
Hi Gayle. As a rough guide, you'll want all of the cubes to fit pretty snugly in one layer on a large baking sheet. I used a similar loaf last weekend and didn't quite use all of it. Hope this helps!
gayle W. February 13, 2014
Thank you! What size pan do you use?