Ham and Spinach Breakfast Strata is an easy make-ahead breakfast casserole. It's filled with crusty bread, ham, spinach, and a cheesy egg filling, then baked to perfection in the oven.
You may be wondering, what is a strata? A strata is a casserole dish, usually made with bread, eggs, and cheese.
Additional fillings like meat, vegetables, and herbs and spices can be added, depending on what you have on hand. Your breakfast strata can be made the night before, then popped in the oven first thing in the morning.
Commonly made for breakfast or brunch, this savory casserole can also be enjoyed for dinner - so don't let the name stop you!
I've filled my breakfast strata with ham, spinach, and two types of cheese. The best part about making a strata is that they're easy to customize. Feel free to use any similar ingredients you have on hand.
What type of bread to use
The best bread for this recipe would be a crusty bread like Italian, French, or sourdough bread. For this recipe (and the following photos), I used day-old homemade sourdough bread.
This recipe is also great for using old or about-to-go-stale bread. You can even use leftover rolls, buns, or any type of bread you have on hand.
If you have a loaf of soft sandwich bread you'd like to use, I'd recommend letting it get a little stale, or drying it out in the oven. You want a semi-dry bread for this recipe because the bread soaks up your egg and milk mixture in the casserole.
Ingredients and substitutions
I used day-old sourdough bread, but you can use any crusty, dry bread you have on hand.
Any cheese you have on hand can be added to your breakfast strata. Sharp cheddar, gruyere, pepper jack, or monterey jack would also be great choices.
Ham can be substituted with cooked bacon or cooked and crumbled sausage. I've included an entire section on strata variations below, for more ideas.
To save time, prepare your breakfast strata the night before, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Your strata will be ready to bake in the morning.
Preheat your oven, then place your covered casserole in the oven and bake as directed.
If you don't have time to make your strata the night before, I recommend letting it set for at least an hour before baking, giving the egg mixture time to soak into your bread.
Your breakfast strata is easy to customize and can be made with many ingredients that you probably already have on hand. Keep in mind that if you're substituting ingredients, you'll want to use the same measurements indicated in the recipe.
For example, if you're substituting the ham with bacon, and the recipe calls for 6 ounces of ham, you'll want to use 6 ounces of bacon.
You'll also want to cook any meat before adding it to your strata. If you'd like to add hearty vegetables, like broccoli, you'll also want to cook and cool them before adding to your strata.
While the strata will be heated through in the oven, it will not bake for long enough to fully cook through vegetables or meats.
More filling ideas:
- Breakfast sausage with sauteed onions and bell pepper
- Bacon with broccoli and sharp cheddar cheese
- Sauteed mushrooms, kale, and feta cheese
Ham and Spinach Breakfast Strata
- 4 cups cubed crusty bread Sourdough, French, or Italian bread are ideal
- 1 cup spinach
- 6 ounces ham diced
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 cups milk
- 8 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- Butter an 8x8 baking dish (or any 2 quart oven-safe dish) and fill with cubed bread. Bread should fill dish about ¾ of the way full (do not pack in).
- Add spinach, ham, half of mozzarella cheese, and half of parmesan cheese to dish with bread, tossing to combine.
- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add milk, salt, pepper, sage, and minced garlic, and whisk to combine.
- Slowly pour egg mixture over your casserole. If casserole is too full, remove a few cubes of bread. Press down any dry bread pieces with a spatula to soak up egg mixture.
- Sprinkle top of casserole with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
- Cover casserole and refrigerate for one at least one hour, or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake casserole, covered, for 30 minutes. Then, remove cover and bake for another 15-30 minutes, or until center of casserole is no longer jiggly. Baking time will depend on the thickness of your casserole.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.