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Make Ahead Breakfast Strata (Casserole) with Swiss Chard & Sausage

Make Ahead Breakfast Strata (Casserole) with Swiss Chard & Sausage
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Strata is basically an egg casserole with varied fillings and a creamy custard base. It is often likened to a bread pudding. This breakfast strata is filled with swiss chard and sausage and topped with a smoky cheese. It is perfect for serving a crowd at brunch or as a stress-free make-ahead dish for holiday breakfasts.

Jump to: Recipe | What is Strata | Substitutions | Make ahead Tips | Modify to Low Carb

Serving of egg casserole (strata) with sausage and swiss chard on a plate.
Low carb strata with swiss chard and sausage

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What is Strata?

Strata is basically a casserole dish that is sometimes referred to as an egg casserole and sometimes as a bread pudding. The egg and dairy custard poured over the filling into a baking dish is he part that makes it an egg casserole, and the soaking of the bread in the custard is the part that makes people think of a bread pudding.

A strata ends up being puffy and souffle-like once it is baked.

The wonderful part of a strata is that it can be assembled the night before, and then baked in a hands-off way the next morning. This makes it perfect for holiday brunches or a Christmas breakfast.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Ingredients for breakfast strata of swiiss chard, sausage and cheese.
Ingredients for swiss chard & sausage strata

The recipe below is made with swiss chard, sweet Italian sausage, smoked paprika spice, and smoky gouda cheese.

The fillings for a strata can be extremely flexible and it is easy to customize. Here are a few popular substitutions:

For the Bread

I used a half of a baguette that was a few days old. Rye bread is a nice substitute and I will be using rye with the salmon strata.

Really any crusty bread works. Just know that it should have a fairly hard crust as it does sit in the egg custard overnight to soften. Too soft of a bread might end up being a fairly soggy strata.

For the filling

The world is your oyster with regards to the filling. Here are a few popular substitutions:

  • Spinach or kale for the swiss chard;
  • Bacon, spicy andouille, chorizo, or salmon for the sausage;
  • No meat at all for a vegetarian option;
  • Add butternut squash instead of the sausage;
  • Cheese can vary from a creamy ricotta, to a goat cheese, to parmesan. I added the smoked gouda because I was using smoked paprika for the spice and was going for a smoky flavor;
  • Spices and spice blends should complement the type of filling you are going for.

Make-Ahead for Breakfast Strata

The best part about a strata is that it can be made the night before serving. Pour the egg custard over the bread and filling, wrap it up tightly, and store in the refrigerator overnight. Bake in the morning for a stress-free breakfast.

If you want to make it the same day, it really only needs a few hours for the bread to soften. This will depend, of course, on how crusty your bread is.

Egg strata in casserole dish for make ahead holiday breakfast
Make ahead egg strata casserole

Another similar breakfast dish that is made in a skillet without the bread is this low carb chorizo and egg skillet bake. If it’s the swiss chard you’re liking this breakfast low carb dish of swiss chard with nested eggs is popular and easy.

Modify to Low Carb?

The breakfast strata recipe listed below is already pretty low in carbs. The bread is the only thing that adds carbs to the dish.

You could easily decrease the amount of bread cubes or take them out all together. If you remove the bread from the recipe, you will essentially have a low carb egg casserole, but it won’t be a definitive ”strata”. It will, however, still be delicious.

Does it have to sit overnight?

The purpose of letting it rest is to soften the bread. So if your bread had really hard crusts you might want to let it sit in the refrigerator for 4 hours or more. If the bread is not that hard, a couple of hours is fine. The strata is often made for busy holiday breakfasts so sitting overnight allows an easier, stress-free morning.

Recipe for Swiss Chard & Sausage Breakfast Strata

Swiss Chard & Sausage Strata

Serving of egg casserole (strata) with sausage and swiss chard on a plate.
This make-ahead breakfast strata is filled with swiss chard, sausage and smoky cheese. Easy to modify to your own tastes however!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Servings 10
Calories 415

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 Pound sausage sweet Italian sausage or your preference
  • 1 onion red or yellow; chopped
  • 12 Oz swiss chard or 1 large bunch
  • ½ Cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 ½ Cup milk whole milk
  • 1 Cup heavy cream
  • 6 Ounces crusty bread I used 1/2 of a baguette
  • 4 Ounces gouda cheese any kind of cheese works; parmesan mixed with gouda is my favorite

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil in a large skillet and brown the ground sausage, breaking it up with a spatula until no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove sausage to a plate, leaving the oil and drippings in the pan.
    2 Tablespoons oil, 1 Pound sausage
  • Chop the chard stems into small pieces and add chopped onion and chard stems to the skillet. Saute for about 5-10 minutes until softened.
    Tear or chop swiss chard leaves into about 2” pieces and add to the skillet with the water when the onions and stems are softened.
    Add Dijon mustard, paprika an salt to skillet and cook the chard leaves down, stirring it all together as it cooks. Cook until leaves are softened (about 5 min)
    1 onion, 12 Oz swiss chard, 1/2 Cup water, 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 Teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 Teaspoon kosher salt
  • Make the custard: whisk together the eggs, milk and cream
    8 eggs, 1 1/2 Cup milk, 1 Cup heavy cream
  • Cut the crusty bread into 1/2” pieces
    Assembly: Into a 9 x 13 baking dish, layer 1/2 of the sausage, top that with 1/2 of the swiss chard mixture, and then layer all of the bread cubes. Then add the rest of the sausage and top it with the rest of the swiss chard mixture
    6 Ounces crusty bread
  • Pour the custard mix over the whole thing, pressing down to make sure bread cubes are covered. Sprinkle the cheese over everything and cover with plastic wrap or another cover. Refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight.
    4 Ounces gouda cheese
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove strata from the refrigerator and bake, uncovered, from 30-40 minutes, checking to see when crust is golden brown.

Video

Notes

*Substitutions:
  • Spinach or kale for the swiss chard;
  • Bacon, spicy andouille, chorizo, or salmon for the sausage;
  • No meat at all for a vegetarian option;
  • Add butternut squash instead of the sausage;
  • Cheese can vary from a creamy ricotta, to a goat cheese, to parmesan. I added the smoked gouda because I was using smoked paprika for the spice and was going for a smoky flavor;
  • Spices and spice blends should complement the type of filling you are going for.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 415kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 19gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 208mgSodium: 877mgPotassium: 424mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 2878IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 195mgIron: 3mg
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