L made this delicious Spinach and Cheese Strata for Mother’s Day brunch – it was a hit! Yall know we love anything we can make ahead…means more time to work on our tablescape. Add a fresh fruit salad (L chose Watermelon Feta Salad) and muffins, and you’ve got an easy, elegant brunch. We adapted this from an Annie’s Eats post; here’s our version (with notes).

Make-Ahead Spinach and Cheese Strata

Spinach and Cheese Strata
photo: annie’s eats.

 

What You Need:

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups onion, finely chopped (basically, one large yellow onion)
  • 2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (we used bagged, organic frozen spinach)
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. pepper, divided
  • Dash ground nutmeg (the original recipe called for freshly grated…but ground works just fine)
  • 8 cups cubed French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (basically one large loaf)
  • 6 oz. coarsely grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese (about 2 cups)
  • 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 2/3 cup)
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2¾ cup milk (we used Horizon Organic 1% low-fat milk)

What You Do:

  • Melt the butter in a medium skillet over low heat.  Add the onions to the pan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, and the nutmeg, and continue to cook for 1 minute more.  Stir in the spinach, remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Liberally coat the inside of a 2½-3 quart baking dish with cooking spray.  Layer the bottom of the dish with one third of the bread cubes.  Top with one third of the spinach mixture and one third of each of the cheeses.  Repeat these layers twice more with the bread, spinach and cheese. It’s important to grate your cheeses ahead of time, so that you can distribute them evenly in your layers.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, the remaining ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper.  Whisk together until blended.  Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and spinach layered in the baking dish.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.
  • Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.  Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Bake uncovered until puffed, golden brown and cooked through, 45-55 minutes.  Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.
  • Serves 8.

**This is our version of a well-loved, well-published recipe. Annie’s Eats adapted this from Smitten Kitchen. Originally appeared in Gourmet, February 2003.

Bonus: Sample Brunch Menu

  • Spinach and Cheese Strata
  • Watermelon and Feta Salad
  • Blueberry Streusel Muffins
  • Assorted Breakfast Sausages
  • Iced Coffee Bar (we paired this pre-made iced coffee with whipped cream and cute straws)