You’re going to love this rich, savory vegetarian breakfast strata layered with thick Italian bread, crispy potatoes, warm herbs – rosemary, thyme, parsley – and lots of fontina cheese! Baked in a creamy egg base, it’s sure to be a hit for weekend brunch or special holiday breakfasts.
We’re less than a week out from Thanksgiving now (!!!) and as well all know, that means the holidays are going to just keep rolling on by. It’s always the same resounding thought: where has time gone?!
I absolutely love the coziness of the holidays, but besides freshly fallen snow on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’m not about the cold. Which is where all the carbs and cheese come into play. No apologies here. You too? Great, let’s get to it!
And by my family has made, I mean I have made this recipe for my family to enjoy every Christmas. And way before FITK was a thing. The beauty about stratas is you make them the day/night before, let it sit in the fridge overnight, soaking up the flavor of the herbs and cheese and everything good.
And bam, pop it in the oven in the morning (while opening presents, see the Christmas perfection here) and you’ve got a delicious brunch! Mimosas recommended.
I always ended up making this strata for several reasons. After getting home from a long night of visiting family and singing carols (this is a whole other story in itself), no one else totally felt like making a strata.
*If this is you/your family, prep it before the festivities!
But if you know one thing about me, it’s how much I love pairing a glass of wine, cooking, and kitchen dance parties. All of which are happening on Christmas Eve night. So really, it’s perfection: the family gathers around, I cook, we drink a glass of wine, and laugh and sing and dance.
And sneak pieces of cheese. And cookies. Balance, friends!
What is a strata, exactly?
I’ve gotten this question a lot, and I’m so happy to fill you in. Strata is basically a breakfast casserole, a baked dish with layers of crusty bread, eggs, and lots of cheese. There are a few things that make this one extra delicious though…
- potatoes – crispy, herb cooked potatoes
- herbs! yes!
- crusty Italian bread
- wine reduction – yes, flavor, more please
- fontina – oh my goodness… so much cheesy goodness
How do you make this breakfast strata?
For starters, did you see above about having a glass of wine in your hand, on Christmas Eve night (or Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, or a regular ol’ Saturday night)? You start there.
Then, you either need to have stale-ish Italian bread (or really, any bread of choice) or begin to dry/toast it in the oven.
Meanwhile, you cook the potatoes with shallot, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. SO MUCH HERB GOODNESS, YOU GUYS! Once they’re nice and crisp, you remove them to deglaze the pan with wine. I want to put this in caps too, because it makes me so excited. A wine reduction that is a flavor-packed addition to the strata.
Layer the bread, potatoes, and cheese and top it all off with the egg mixture. Place in the fridge overnight (weighted down, preferably). And as I said, pull it out the morning off, pop it in the oven, and an elegant, impressive breakfast or brunch is served!
What should you serve with Vegetarian Strata?
Do mimosas count as a side? Coffee? I mean, I already told you our family favorite is cinnamon rolls. Haha…if only I was kidding.
But really, you can go sweet or savory with the strata side. Sweet in the form of a side of fresh berries or a fruit salad. Savory as in a side salad to balance out the richness of the strata.
Regardless of what you serve with it – you’re going to have a new holiday tradition in the making this year! Enjoy, and leave a comment below sharing your favorite holiday traditions!
Winter Breakfast Strata with Fontina
- 10-12 slices of thick Italian bread, dried out or see notes
- 4 Tablespoon butter, divided
- 24 ounces red potatoes, 1/2 inch dice
- 2 large shallot bulbs, usually 4 cloves when peeled, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 7 eggs
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- 2 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 1/4 cup ~12 oz. fontina cheese, cut into small cubes*
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese*
- Take 1 TBSP butter and grease a 9×13 baking dish. Bring a large stockpot of salted water with diced potatoes to a boil; cook for about 4 minutes, until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt remaining butter (3 TBSP) over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Stir infrequently to encourage browning. Add chopped shallots, stir together and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary, and thyme to skillet, season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for an additional 2 minutes and transfer potato mixture to a bowl.
- Return skillet to heat and slowly pour wine into the skillet to deglaze. Simmer wine over medium heat until it is reduced by half. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, salt, pepper, parsley, and cooled wine reduction.
- In the baking dish, place half of the bread in a single layer, cutting to fit as needed. Layer half of the potato mixture on top of the bread, and 3/4 cup of the cheese. Place another layer of bread on top, with the remaining potatoes, and then an additional 3/4 cup cheese. Reserve the remaining cheese. Pour egg mixture over the layers evenly.
- Cover baking dish with plastic wrap, flush against the top. Place in fridge overnight. I recommend weighing down the top with items in your fridge (boxes of stock work great, or leftover containers).
- Before baking, bring the strata to room temperature for 20ish minutes. Preheat oven to 325°F. Add remaining fontina and parmesan cheese to the top of strata and bake (uncovered) for 65-70 minutes until golden brown. Let rest a few minutes before serving.
- Store any leftovers in the fridge; reheat in microwave or oven.
- If your bread is fresh, place in a single layer on a baking sheet and dry it out in the oven at 200°F for approximately 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- If you’re using dried herbs, halve the amount.
- This recipe is adapted from The Cookbook Critic.
- *Look for cheese specifically labeled vegetarian, if needed.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.