A make-ahead breakfast casserole made with broccoli, cheese, and ham. Also known as breakfast strata, this is a great weekend breakfast or brunch because you can prep and assemble it ahead.
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A strata, which is just a fancy way to say “breakfast casserole”, is a great option for a special breakfast or brunch because you can easily size it up or down depending on how many you’re serving, you can customize it to your taste, and all the stuff gets tossed into one dish the night before so all you have to do the next morning is bake it. Sounds good, right?
What makes a strata a strata is the bread. Day old bread is cubed or torn into pieces and soaked in an egg mixture. It’s basically a savory bread pudding and it’s a fantastic way to use up odds and ends in the refrigerator because once you get the main components (in this case eggs, half and half, and bread), you can totally customize the other flavors and ingredient.
I love this broccoli, ham, and cheese combo, but I will definitely try some other combos, too, like sausage and sage or asparagus and mushrooms. I got the idea for this ham and broccoli strata after finding a recipe on Epicurious, and the possibilities are endless.
Make-Ahead Strata Recipe
All you need is about 30 minutes the night before to get it ready – broccoli, some red onion, and ham are layered in a baking dish with cubed French bread and plenty of Gruyere and Asiago cheese. Then you pour eggs mixed with half and half all over the top of it. Let it sit in the fridge overnight – the bread needs time to absorb the egg mixture – and then the next day just pop it in the oven. That’s it!
When it comes out of the oven, the top is all toasty brown, and the inside is soft and cheesy, with savory bites of broccoli and ham. It’s an easy breakfast to celebrate at breakfast or brunch, especially if you serve up some mimosas to go along with it.
- Unsalted butter
- Chopped broccoli florets
- Diced red onion
- Salt and black pepper
- Large eggs
- 2% milk or whole milk
- Half and half
- Diced ham
- Grated Gruyere cheese
- Grated Asiago Cheese
- Cubed day-old French bread
How to Make a Strata
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and broccoli and sauté them for about 3-4 minutes, or just until they soften. Season the vegetables with salt. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, salt and pepper, milk, and half and half.
Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/3 of the bread cubes on the bottom of the dish. Top the bread crumbs with 1/3 of the cheeses, broccoli and onions, and ham. Repeat this layering two more times, ending with the remaining cheese sprinkled over the top of the dish. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top. Cover the dish and refrigerate the strata overnight.
Once the strata has chilled, remove it from the fridge and let it sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake it, uncovered, for 50 to 60 minutes. The cook time will vary based on how cold the casserole is when it goes in the oven, so be sure to check on it. A toothpick should come out clean when you check the center.
Let the strata stand for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for three to four days – just reheat them in the microwave.
Lots of options with this breakfast strata, friends! Here are some ways to switch up the ingredients:
- Try using a baguette, a loaf of sourdough bread, or an Italian loaf.
- For the cheese, swap the Asiago and Gruyere for shredded cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, Swiss cheese, mozzarella or Provolone cheese. Even pepper jack cheese would be great.
- Swap the ham for cooked bacon or breakfast sausage. Just make sure to cook them first and I would chop them up Or you can omit the meat and make a veggie and cheese strata.
- For the veggies, you could use red peppers, cooked mushrooms, or chopped fresh spinach. You can also add fresh herbs like chopped chives, parsley, rosemary, or thyme.
This breakfast strata is great for Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, or any old Saturday when you want a hearty, delicious breakfast. Enjoy!
More Breakfast Recipes
- Sheet Pan Pancakes
- Blueberry Bagel Breakfast Bake
- Make-Ahead Breakfast Enchiladas
- Crustless Quiche – from Well Plated
- Southwest Egg Casserole – from Kalyn’s Kitchen
- Classic French Toast – from Jessica Gavin
A strata is a make-ahead breakfast casserole and this version has broccoli, ham, and lots of Gruyere and Asiago cheese. It’s perfect for a special occasion breakfast or brunch!
- 1/4 cup butter
- 8 ounces broccoli florets, chopped
- 1/2 a medium red onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 eggs
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 16 ounces diced ham
- 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Asiago Cheese
- 4 ounces French bread, cut or torn into small pieces (about 5 cups)
- In a large pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and broccoli and cook them together for about 5 minutes, or just until they soften. Season the vegetables with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
- In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, and half and half. Season the mixture with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.
- Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/3 of the bread cubes on the bottom of the dish. Top the bread crumbs with 1/3 of the cheeses, broccoli and onions, and ham. Repeat this layering two more times, ending with the remaining cheese sprinkled over the top of the dish. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top. Cover the dish and refrigerate it overnight.
- Remove it from the fridge and let it sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake it uncovered for 50-60 minutes. It’s done when a toothpick comes out clean when you test the center. Let the strata stand for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 363
- Sugar: 3.3g
- Sodium: 497.9mg
- Fat: 21g
- Saturated Fat: 9.9g
- Unsaturated Fat: 9.6g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 12.2g
- Fiber: 1.3g
- Protein: 30.4g
- Cholesterol: 269.2g
Keywords: strata recipe, ham and cheese breakfast casserole
Post, photos, and recipe updated from the archives. First published in December 2015.