This make-ahead egg and bread casserole is perfect for special occasion brunch/breakfast! Traditionally made with cubed bread, however this Strata recipe calls for soft, buttery croissant pieces instead. Using eggs, milk, spices, spinach, feta and gruyere cheese this is an all in one breakfast that will have your family/guest begging for more!
I first heard of Strata while watching one of my TOP 5 Favorite Christmas movies, “The Family Stone”. In the movie the ever fabulous, SJP makes a strata for her contribution to the Christmas morning breakfast everyone is planning during her first visit to her fiance’s parents home . Of course, movie mayhem ensues in the scene with the strata and she (poor thing) ends up dropping the baking pan and spilling raw eggs all over herself and the kitchen! Total nightmare! It’s actually a really good movie, give it a watch if you haven’t seen it..
And although SJP’s strata met a very unfortunate fate, her character had the right idea. Strata is a PERFECT breakfast for a special occasion, holidays, or anytime you are hosting brunch. In fact, I have made this recipe for Croissant Strata with Spinach, Feta and Gruyere on Christmas morning several times! And heres why:
The Incredible Edible Egg
Ahhhhh, eggs…. one of the most nutritious ways to start the day. But when cooking for a large crowd it can be a little tricky to make eggs to order. And even more difficult, keep warm without drying out! With strata, eggs are the front runner of the dish but without all the muss and fuss of making in the moment.
Strata is like the Renaissance Man, it’s got the whole shebang in one baked breakfast casserole. You got your eggs (as aforementioned), bread, veggies, cheese, and meat if you so desire. It’s like a one pot wonder! Serve with some fruit, yogurt and coffee and you’ve got yourself a complete breakfast!
Have it Your Way!
A strata is SO EASY to customize! Want to add some meat? Add it! Got some bell peppers you want to use? Toss it in! You don’t have gruyere cheese? Use a different kind! Don’t have croissants? Use a baguette! It’s all good.. add whichever ingredients you like, or have on hand. It’s not rocket science, it’s strata!
But first, coffee!
I have not had many people accuse me of being a morning person! A breakfast that only requires me to to take out of fridge and bake in the oven, is just the pace that I like to be running on. Especially on Christmas! You (and I ) deserve to sit back and watch the kids open presents, not worry about what you have to cook to feed everyone. Make ahead and bake morning of breakfasts, like strata, are the answer to the holiday morning madness.
So now that I have your attention, here’s how to make it..
How to Make Croissant Strata with Spinach, Feta and Gruyere:
Cut croissants into about 2 inch cubes and lightly toast in the oven. If your bread is a little on the stale side, you don’t need to do this step. These croissants were same day fresh and I needed to dry them out a little bit, so they would have more hold and texture when baked into the egg mixture.
Next make the egg custard by mixing eggs, milk, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg
Heat skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil or butter. Saute’ shallots until translucent, season spinach and a pinch of salt and pepper,. Then take it off heat and allow to cool slightly.
Next, shred the cheeses and prepare 9×13 baking dish by greasing with about 1 tbsp of butter or olive oil. Now that all the components are ready to go, it’s time to assemble.
Layer ½ of toasted croissants on bottom of pan. Add ½ of spinach mixture, and sprinkle ½ of cheese over top, add ½ of egg/milk mixture to pan. Repeat layering process- croissant, spinach, cheese, egg.
Gently press on bread to make sure it is soaking in egg
That’s it! Now cover with aluminum foil and keep in fridge overnight or at least 2 hours. When ready to bake, remove from fridge and let sit out at room temp for 30 minutes before baking. Taking the chill off will let the breakfast casserole bake more evenly.
In a preheated 350 F degree oven, bake covered for the first 30 minutes. Then remove foil and bake an additional 20-30 minutes. You will know it’s done when the center doesn’t jiggle when shaken, the strata is browned on the sides and has a puffy center that doesn’t jiggle when shaken.
Remove from oven at let it sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.
If you like this recipe try some of my other breakfast recipes:
Croissant Strata with Spinach, Feta and Gruyere
- 8.5 oz croissants cut into cubes 3 or 4, depending on size
- 10 eggs
- 2 cup milk
- 1 tsp dijion mustard
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt plus more to taste
- ¼ tsp black pepper plus more to taste
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 shallot minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil or butter divided
- 12 oz bag frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeeze of excess water
- 1 cup gruyere cheese shredded
- 1 cup feta crumbled
- Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly toast croissant cubes for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside
- In mixing bowl combine eggs, milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne and dijon mustard. Whisk to throughly combine. Set aside. Prepare cheeses and set aside.
- Heat skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil or butter. Saute' shallots until translucent. Add spinach and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Prepare 9×13 baking dish by greasing with about 1 tbsp of butter or olive oil. Layer ½ of toasted croissants on bottom of pan. Add ½ of spinach mixture, and sprinkle ½ of cheese over top, add ½ of egg/milk mixture to pan. Repeat layering process- croissant, spinach, cheese, egg. Gently press on bread to make sure it is soaking in egg
- Cover with foil and keep in fridge overnight or at least 2 hours.
- When ready to bake, remove from fridge and let sit out at room temp for 30 minutes before baking. Meanwhile Preheat oven to 350°.
- Bake covered for 30 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 20-30 minutes. You will know it's done when the center doesn't jiggle when shaken.
- Remove from oven at let it sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.