Loaded with prosciutto, tomatoes, asparagus and plenty of melty cheese, this Overnight Breakfast Strata is great for serving a crowd. You won’t be able to stop at one piece!
The Best Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole
I’m a fan of any breakfast I can make the night before and reheat real quick in the morning. When that breakfast is as hearty and flavorful as this strata, I’m obsessed! I like to load mine up with tomatoes, asparagus and prosciutto, but you can customize yours however you’d like.
No matter what toppings you add to it, this dish is bound to be a big hit with any crowd – picky children included. You just can’t beat a homemade egg casserole that’s loaded with cheese! Once you try it, you’ll never want to skip breakfast again.
What is a Strata?
A strata is a type of layered casserole that typically features bread, eggs, cheese, meat and vegetables. It’s named after the geological term for layers of rocks that form over millions of years as different sediment deposits are pushed down by gravity. Strata casseroles are mainly considered a breakfast or brunch, but I’ll gladly serve this baby for any meal of the day!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Let’s get started! Gather the following items or come up with your own ideal ingredient lineup.
- Thick-Cut Italian Bread: Each slice should be about an inch thick with the crust removed.
- Thin Prosciutto: I like using either low-sodium prosciutto or low-sodium ham.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Sliced in half.
- Asparagus Stalks: Trim off the ends and cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces.
- Shredded Cheese: I use reduced fat 4-cheese Italian.
- Eggs: The eggs soak into the strata overnight to give you a super fluffy, protein-packed casserole.
- Soy Milk: Or skim milk.
- Salt & Pepper: Added to taste.
- Ground Nutmeg: For a light hint of nuttiness.
How to Make an Overnight Breakfast Strata
If you’d like to make this strata on the same day you’ll be serving it, let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour. This way, the bread will get a chance to soak up the egg mixture. Try not to let it sit unbaked for longer than 16 hours.
Prepare Pan: Lightly grease a deep 11-inch pie plate with a pat of butter. You can also use a rectangular 2.15-quart baking dish.
Add Bread: Arrange the slices of bread on the bottom of the baking dish, allowing some edges to hang over the sides.
Add Meat, Veggies & Cheese: Layer the prosciutto over the bread slices, then add the tomatoes and asparagus. Sprinkle the cheese overtop the asparagus and set the strata aside.
Combine Eggs & Milk: Combine the eggs and milk in a large mixing bowl, whisking until the mixture is well blended.
Add Seasonings: Season the egg mixture with the salt, pepper and nutmeg, whisking until combined.
Pour Over Strata: Pour the egg mixture into the previously prepared dish, using your hands to push the ingredients down to soak up all of the liquid.
Chill: Cover the casserole with foil and refrigerate it overnight.
Heat Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F. While it’s preheating, remove your strata from the fridge, uncover it and let it stand on the counter for several minutes.
Bake: Bake the strata uncovered for 50-60 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the top is puffed and golden brown.
Let Rest: Remove your strata from the oven and let it stand for a few minutes before serving.
Tips for Success
This classic breakfast strata is super easy to make. Check out these tips for sure-fire perfection!
- Adjust the Amount of Liquid if Needed: If the egg mixture doesn’t seem like enough liquid for all of the dry ingredients, combine one more egg with half a cup of milk and add it to the strata.
- Let the Strata Sit at Room Temperature Before Baking: Don’t transfer your casserole directly from the fridge to the oven. If you do, you’ll have to bake it for longer and it may not cook as evenly. Let it sit on the counter for 15-30 minutes first.
- Make it Farther in Advance: Want to make your strata more than 16 hours ahead of time? Instead of storing it in the fridge, cover it tightly with a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of heavy-duty foil, then freeze it for up to 2 months. Thaw it out in the fridge overnight before baking it.
Like I said, you can add any toppings of your choice to this egg casserole. Here are some easy ways to switch it up:
- Make it Gluten-Free: If necessary, go ahead and use a gluten-free loaf for this breakfast strata. It will bake up just as beautifully!
- Use Another Kind of Meat: Feel free to use bacon, small pieces of sausage or any other desired alternative for the prosciutto. If you’re vegetarian, you can leave off the meat altogether.
- Add More Veggies: Any vegetable will taste amazing in this casserole. Try adding spinach, kale, sliced mushrooms or roasted red pepper!
- Use Different Seasonings: Go ahead and use whatever combination of seasonings you think would go well with this strata. From fresh parsley to smoked paprika, there are tons of tasty options.
What Goes Well with a Strata?
This casserole pairs wonderfully with just about anything. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite options below!
- Fruit Pizza: Looking to host an unforgettable brunch? I highly recommend serving your strata alongside this Healthy Fruit Pizza. Made with an oatmeal crust, a lightened-up cream cheese frosting and your favorite fruits, it’s sure to impress everyone at the table.
- Granola Parfaits: I love pairing this Chocolate Granola with greek yogurt and fresh fruit! Such a satisfying dish that really complements this casserole.
- Green Smoothies: These ultra-refreshing Green Smoothies are incredibly nutritious. They’re made with kale, kiwis, ripe bananas and honey for a fruity flavor that no one can resist.
Storage and Reheating
Once it has been baked and fully cooled, this breakfast strata can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. Be sure to cover it well or transfer it to an airtight container.
Reheat large portions in a covered casserole dish at 350°F for about 30 minutes, or until the casserole is warmed through. Individual servings can be reheated in the microwave.
Can I Freeze This?
Leftover strata can also be kept in the freezer. Cover the cooled casserole tightly with plastic wrap and foil, then freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it out in the fridge before reheating it.
Overnight Breakfast Strata
- 6 slices thick-cut Italian bread crusts removed (slices should be about an inch thick)
- 8 slices thin reduced sodium prosciutto or reduced sodium ham
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 10 to 12 asparagus stalks ends trimmed and asparagus cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 cup Shredded Reduced Fat 4-Cheese Italian
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups soy milk or skim milk
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Lightly grease a 11-inch deep pie plate with a pat of butter, OR you can also use a rectangular 2.15-quart baking dish.
- Arrange the slices of bread on the bottom of the baking dish, allowing some edges to hang over the sides.
- Layer the prosciutto over the bread slices.
- Top with tomatoes and asparagus.
- Sprinkle cheese over the asparagus and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and milk; whisk the two until well blended.
- Season the mixture with salt, pepper and nutmeg; whisk until combined.
- Pour the egg mixture into previously prepared dish; use your hands to push the ingredients down to soak up all the liquid. If liquid mixture does not seem enough for all the ingredients, in a separate bowl, mix one more egg with 1/2 cup milk and add to casserole.
- Cover the casserole with foil and refrigerate it overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- While preheating oven, remove strata from fridge, uncover and let stand on counter for several minutes.
- Bake the strata uncovered for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the top is puffed and golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let stand several minutes before serving.
- Recipe inspired by Epicurious
- To Store: Keep cooled strata in the fridge for up to 5 days, covered well or in an airtight container.
- To Reheat: Reheat large portions in a covered casserole dish at 350°F for about 30 minutes, or until strata is warmed through. Individual servings can be reheated in the microwave.
- To Freeze: Cover cooled casserole tightly with plastic wrap and foil, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.
More Easy Breakfast and Brunch Ideas
The following recipes are guaranteed to get your morning off to a fantastic start. You’re welcome!
- Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
- Hashbrowns, Spinach and Tomato Pie
- Baked Cinnamon Donuts with Vanilla Glaze