No-fuss, one-pan, veggie-driven dishes scream summer to me. Finally, at least sometimes, we can slow down and indulge in a lazy weekend breakfast or a casual backyard brunch. This Roasted Veggie Strata fits the bill just perfectly for those times and more. It's the ultimate in versatility and deliciousness too!
Basically, a strata is a kind of layered casserole and in this one you layer slices of day-old bread with roasted veggies and then an egg/milk mixture that gets topped with a layer of shredded cheese. Think savory bread pudding. It's great way to repurpose any old bread or veggies you've got lying around.
And yes, you could make this without cooking the veggies, but you won't get that wonderful caramelization that roasting vegetables achieves. It's so worth the extra time!
While the veggies are roasting, you can layer the bottom of the baking dish with the bread slices and make the egg mixture. Also, feel free to change up the veggies to your liking. I used zucchini, red pepper, red onion and corn but you could really sub in anything you have on hand.
Once the veggies are done you layer them over the bread and then just pour the egg mixture over everything.
Cheese goes next and I don’t have to tell you how amazing melted cheese goes with veggies, eggs and bread, right?!!
The strata bakes up quickly and cuts neatly too. You could even prepare the whole thing the night before, keep it covered and chilled and then just toss it in the oven in the morning. Perfection!!
But that's only part of what makes it so great. With every bite you get the terrific combination of eggy/cheesy filling, flavorful roasted veggies and chewy warm bread. It's one of our favs! And while I've been touting it as the perfect brunch food, it also makes a great, light, warm-weather dinner served with a simple salad on the side.
Let's get the summer started, shall we?!!!
Roasted Vegetable Strata
Makes about 8 servings
Prep Time: About 30 minutes; Bake Time: 35-40 minutes
- 1 zucchini
- About a cup of frozen corn or the kernels from 2 ears of fresh corn
- 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- Black pepper to taste
- Unsalted butter softened for greasing the baking dish
- 5-6 slices day-old bread (if the crusts are very thick, you might want to cut them off)
- 4-5 scallions, chopped
- A handful of freshly chopped basil or parsley
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups whole milk (you can use a lower percent but the filling won’t be as creamy)
- 6-8 ounces freshly grated or shredded Cheddar or any cheese you prefer
1. Preheat oven to 450º F. Shred the zucchini in a food processor or by hand with a box cutter and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. I do this by handfuls over the sink.
2. Place the zucchini, corn, onion and red pepper on a large rimmed baking sheet and toss with the oil, ½ teaspoon salt and a pinch or two of pepper. Spread into an even layer and roast for about 15 minutes until onion is beginning to get golden.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with the softened butter and line with the bread. You may have to tear up pieces to fit them and try not to overlap, so that what you are left with is a single layer of bread.
4. When veggies are done reduce oven to 350º F and top bread layer with veggies. Sprinkle the scallions evenly across the top. Then, pour the egg mixture over it all and spread it out a bit if necessary so it just covers everything. Sprinkle the basil or parsley and the cheese all across the top and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and crusty. Remove and let sit for about 10 minutes before slicing into squares and serving.
5. If you want to make this ahead of time, simply cover it right after you add the cheese and place it in the fridge. Take it out about half an hour before you’re ready to bake so it can come to room temperature. Otherwise, you may need to cook it a bit longer. Also, leftovers reheat really well in oven or microwave.
Note: Recipe adapted from Bread Toast Crumbs by Alexandra Stafford. I tinkered with ingredients and proportions.