Classic strata, an overnight breakfast casserole, gets a healthy facelift with nutritious ingredients and a few lighter substitutes.
1 small yellow onion, chopped small
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 tsp olive oil
12 large eggs
3 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
1 cup uncured turkey bacon, cooked and chopped into pieces
1/3 cup pimentos, drained
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tsp ground mustard
12 ounces sliced whole wheat, sugar free bread (7 or 8 slices)
Heat the olive oil in a stainless skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook, moving them around frequently, until fragrant and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute, and then remove from heat.
In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and milk and whisk until the yolks are broken up. Add both cheeses, bacon, pimentos, salt and pepper (I used more salt than pepper - around 1 1/2 tsp). Stir to combine.
Lightly spray a deep 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Make a single layer of bread slices on the bottom of the dish. Pour about half of the egg mixture onto the bread. Top with remaining bread and then cover with remaining egg mixture, being sure all of the bread is submerged. You can tear the bread as needed to fill in the gaps in the baking dish.
Wrap dish tightly in plastic wrap and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, up to 36 hours.
When ready to bake, remove the strata from the refrigerator and let it rest on the counter while the oven is preheating to 350F. When oven is ready, loosely tent the strata with foil and bake on center rack for about 35 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden and the center is set (you can check by inserting a butter knife into the center and pulling to the side a little bit to check if the eggs are done). You can also use hot mitts to give the dish a little shake. If the center jiggles too much, it needs a few more minutes.
Feel free to add additional vegetables, such as cooked mushrooms or roasted red peppers. You can also substitute regular cooked bacon, cooked sausage, or ham for the turkey bacon.
I used Kroger's Private Selection brand of whole wheat, sugar free bread (not affiliated, I just think it's a yummy bread) and found it to have the right thickness for this casserole
If you don't have overnight, you can bake the strata after only 2-3 hours in the fridge. You want to give it enough time to soak up much of the wet ingredients. Alternatively, you can let the strata stay in the fridge 24-36 hours before baking. It's a great make-ahead meal!
You can make this recipe in two 8x8 pans instead of one 9x13 pan. Or if you don't want to make so much at one time, cut the ingredients in half and use a single 8x8 pan. The smaller pans will bake a little faster, so check on them more often.
Freezing instructions: Use a disposable 9x13 aluminum pan or two 8x8 aluminum pans. After the strata has soaked in the refrigerator, cover the pan(s) in aluminum foil and then wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator and then baked as normal.
Keywords: healthy breakfast casserole, strata recipe, overnight breakfast casserole