This vegetarian breakfast strata is a favorite in the morning, especially on weekends and special occasions (hey there, Mother’s Day!!!). However, I have to admit that it’s also a dinnertime staple in our house! As you may remember, a frittata is one of my favorite ways to clean out my fridge at the end of the week. Well guess what, I think a strata is even better. It’s essentially a baked egg custard that incorporates cubed bread (gluten-free or regular). The bread soaks up the custard, turning it irresistibly soft in the middle and crispy on top. HEAVEN! While my kids pick away at a frittata, they devour this strata, spinach and all.

Slice of vegetarian breakfast strata on a plate with a fork

Easy strata recipe

Ingredients for the vegetarian breakfast strata on the counter

This vegetarian breakfast strata keeps things simple with leeks, garlic and frozen defrosted spinach.  I love the sweet flavor of leeks, but you could absolutely use onions or shallots instead. In fact, you can adapt the recipe with nearly any vegetables you have on hand. Broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, peppers and/or onions are all favorites. You could even throw in crumbled sausage or bacon (cook the meat first, then add the vegetables). It’s a great way to use up what you have in the fridge.

Healthy strata recipe

Vegetarian breakfast strata in a pan on the counter, with a wedge removed an on a plate

A strata is bound with a custard most often made with eggs, heavy cream and loads of shredded cheese. However, this lightened-up version has a secret ingredient—cottage cheese! The cottage cheese makes the strata creamy and rich without weighing it down. A touch of freshly grated Parmesan lends just the right amount of cheesiness.

Slice of vegetarian breakfast strata on plate with fork

Cottage cheese is actually having a comeback in the food world, which makes me sooooo happy. I’ve always loved to eat it as a healthy snack (a habit that started way back in college!). It’s packed with protein and calcium, yet its creamy texture feels like an indulgence. I’m exited to have partnered with Hood Cottage Cheese for this post. They have new varieties of cottage cheese on the market (including Cracked Pepper and Strawberry) that are perfect for snacking (think dips!) as well as for cooking. In this strata I use Hood Cottage Cheese with Chive, which is absolutely delicious (check out my video below to see how I use it in one of my favorite no-cook snacks!). It’s a fabulous two-for-one cost saver, especially since fresh chives are hard to find at my market. However, you could certainly use plain cottage cheese with a tablespoon of fresh chives if you can’t find it.

How to make a vegetarian breakfast strata

Vegetarian breakfast strata in pan with wedge removed
  • Toast the bread: This vegetarian strata recipe can go straight from the skillet to the oven (no overnight soak required)! I cook it in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, but you could also cook the bread and vegetables on the stove and then build the strata in a baking dish. The bread gets lightly toasted in the skillet first, which will build flavor and help to dry out the bread so that it can soak up the egg mixture. If you want to assemble the strata the day before, toast the bread and cook the vegetables; let them cool completely; then build the strata in a baking dish and refrigerate it overnight. 
  • Sauté the veggies: After the bread toasts, it’s time to sauté the veggies. Leeks, garlic and fresh thyme flavor this strata, and frozen defrosted spinach gives it color and a nutritional boost (be sure to squeeze all of the liquid out of the spinach). See above for other vegetable ideas!
  • Make the the (lightened-up) custard: Instead of a custard made with heavy cream, this lighter version uses cottage cheese! Hood Cottage Cheese with Chive is great because you don’t have to buy fresh chives (which can be expensive and hard to find), but you could use plain cottage cheese with 1 tablespoon of minced chives.

Happy Mother’s Day!

This strata would be perfect for a Mother’s Day breakfast or brunch. Don’t miss my other favorite Mother’s Day breakfast recipes! For an easy dessert (that anybody can master) try this one-bowl chocolate almond cake, or this no-bake creamy lemon pie. Wishing all of you mamas out there a very happy Mother’s Day. May your day be filled with love, peace and strata in bed. 😁

Watch the video!

Thank you to Hood Cottage Cheese for sponsoring this post! I was compensated for this post, but all opinions and recipes are mine alone. Thank you to all of the companies who keep From Scratch Fast rolling!

Get the recipe!

Healthy (One-Pan!) Vegetarian Breakfast Strata (GF option)

This healthy vegetarian breakfast strata comes together in one pan and cooks up quickly! It’s one of our favorite weekend breakfasts, and it’s also a fabulous clean-out-the-fridge dinner. It has no heavy cream and uses far less cheese than most strata recipes, but you won’t miss them. The secret is in using cottage cheese, which provides creamy richness without weighing things down. This version incorporates leeks, garlic and spinach, but feel free to get creative with other veggies! Broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, peppers and/or onions are all favorites. I designed this recipe so that it can be assembled and baked immediately, but you can also assemble it in a baking dish then refrigerate it overnight before baking if you prefer. For a gluten-free version, use a gluten-free baguette. Hood Cottage Cheese with Chive is a two-for-one cost saver, but if you can’t find it use plain cottage cheese with 1 tablespoon of minced fresh chives.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: breakfast strata recipe, brunch recipes, strata recipe
Servings: 6 people
Author: Nicki Sizemore

Ingredients

  • 3 cups 1-inch baguette cubes (regular or gluten-free)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, halved and thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 10- ounce package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry (*see the notes below)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup Hood Cottage Cheese with Chive
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the bread cubes, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the bread is golden and crisp in spots, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the bread to a plate. Wipe out the skillet.
  • Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet over medium-low heat. Add the leek, garlic and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the spinach and bread cubes.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk until smooth. Whisk in the cottage cheese and half of the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and bread in the skillet, and nudge everything around to evenly coat. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over top.
  • Bake the strata until it’s puffed, golden, and the eggs are set, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

Tips:
  • If you don’t have a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, you can cook the bread and vegetables on the stove and then build the strata in a baking dish. If you want to assemble the strata the day before, toast the bread and cook the vegetables; let them cool completely; then build the strata in a baking dish and refrigerate it overnight. 
  • It’s important to squeeze as much liquid out of the spinach as possible so that it doesn’t water down the strata. Wrap the spinach in a clean kitchen towel or between several layers of paper towels, and squeeze it with your hands over the sink until most of the liquid is gone.
  • The strata can be served warm or at room temperature. Leftovers are delicious the next day (reheat them in a toaster oven or the microwave).

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