It’s true. You do. If you haven’t jumped aboard the strata express yet, you will after this recipe. Trust me.

After stumbling upon Smitten Kitchen’s Spinach Strata, I knew it’d be perfect for the brunch. Since I could make it the night before, it meant once less thing to do the morning-of giving me more time to taste-test the mimosa bar  vacuum the rugs.

Don’t let the fancy name dissuade you – I love this dish for its simplicity. The freshly torn French bread and wedges of cheese make you feel like you should be eating it al fresco at a farmhouse table in Tuscany instead of a too-small dining table in your “up-and-coming” neighborhood of Boston. Sigh. A girl can dream.

Please do yourself a favor this weekend and get the ingredients to make this strata. Heck, even add stuff to it. Like mushrooms. Or peppers. Oh! Or artichokes! Too weird? Maybe. Just go wild. You won’t regret it.

Spinach and Cheese Strata
Adapted from Epicurious and Smitten Kitchen. My changes are italicized below.

Serves 6 to 8

1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed, squeeze of all excess liquid, and chopped (I used fresh organic, baby spinach instead)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed French or Italian bread in 1-inch cubes (1/2 lb)
6 ounces coarsely grated Gruyère (2 cups) (Does anyone else scoff at how expensive Gruyère is? I used Fontina as a substitute)
2 ounces finely grated parmesan (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I thought the mustard overpowered it a bit – next time I’ll use less) 

Sauté onion in butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and nutmeg and continue cooking for one minute. Stir in spinach, remove from heat and set aside. (Didn’t read to divide the salt and pepper for now vs later and added the whole 1 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Oops.)

Spread one-third of the bread cubes in a well-buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other ceramic baking dish. Top with one-third of bread cubes,one-third of spinach mixture and one-third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice with remaining bread, spinach and cheese.

Whisk eggs, milk, mustard and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata.


Cover with plastic wrap and chill strata for eat least 8 hours or up to a day. The next day, let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 350°F.


Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. (That’s odd, both recipe versions forgot to add “stuff yourself silly” as the final step)


Okay, so my strata doesn’t look quite as rustic chic as Smitten Kitchen’s version…I can admit that. It still tasted pretty darn good though. We’ll consider this one for the win column.