This Spinach, Ham and Cheese Strata is a breakfast casserole you’ll want to bring to all your brunch parties this season! Trust me. It’s incredibly delicious (a million exclamation points) and simple, simple, simple.
In my book– perfect! With all the flavors I love for brunch. And with a make-ahead option… it couldn’t be easier.
If you’ve never made a strata before, this is a recipe you’ll want to start with. It’s an egg custard mixture that is poured over French bread cubes and baked until it’s toasty and golden brown perfection. Add to that melty cheese, vegetables, and thin slices of Virginia ham, and it’s, well, so, so delicious.
In fact, I already have orders from the taste testers (Hi Guys). It looks like I’m going to be very busy this season! From Easter to Mother’s Day, brunch parties, and wedding festivities, this simple recipe is one to have in your back pocket.
The Trick that Makes This Strata Incredibly Delicious
All recipes have, it seems, have a trick or two up their sleeves. Or a secret ingredient. This one does too (kind of both). And it’s a simple trick… but one not to miss. It’s this: caramelized onions. It might be tempting to skip the extra caramelizing step and just toss the sliced onions into the casserole. But avoid temptation. Don’t miss the incredible flavor component it adds to the recipe. Seriously, you’ll be so glad you did.
Make Ahead Spinach, Ham and Cheese Strata
To make this breakfast casserole ahead, simply assemble, cover with buttered foil, and refrigerate the unbaked strata overnight. Bake as directed.
It’s brunch season, and there is nothing, I repeat, nothing more delicious than this Spinach, Ham and Cheese Strata. Oh, My, Goodness. Really, it’s that good!
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 lb. fresh baby spinach
1/2 lb. thinly sliced Virginia Ham
loaf of french bread, torn or cut into 1-inch squares and toasted (about 9 cups)
2 cups cheese, grated (Gruyère, Mozzarella, Italian Mix)
6 large eggs
2 1/2 cups milk or cream
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 375° and butter or coat with cooking spray a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 15 minutes. While the onions are caramelizing, spread the cubed French bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for a couple of minutes until toasted.
In a large bowl, toss together the toasted bread and caramelized onion. Arrange one-half of the bread onion mixture in the bottom of the baking dish, top with half of the baby spinach and Virginia Ham. Then sprinkle one-half of the shredded cheese. Repeat the layering one more time, omitting the cheese.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and garlic powder. Then season generously with black pepper. Pour the custard evenly over the dish, pressing the bread down with a spatula to absorb the egg and milk mixture. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and cover with a sheet of buttered parchment paper or foil coated with cooking spray.
Bake the covered strata in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the strata is cooked through and is brown around the edges. To crisp and brown the top, remove the parchment and turn on the broiler. Broil for about 3 minutes, just until the top is golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes, then cut the strata into squares and serve.
Keywords: Spinach, Ham and Cheese Strata, Strata, Make Ahead Strata, brunch casserole, breakfast casserole