This breakfast strata with bacon and date is a savory French toast with cheese & bacon, easy to prepare the night before for a delicious brunch/breakfast.
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We love brunch in our house, but I can't help but think that often when you might most need or want brunch is when you least feel like preparing it. Or at the very least, you don't want the distraction of lots of time cooking, like when people are staying.
If I think about it, preparing ahead is definitely the way I like to go and this breakfast strata with bacon and date is a great option. Easy to prepare the night before, then enjoy the yummy smells as it bakes. Then when you can, dive in and feast on the cheesy, sweet-savory, comforting deliciousness.
Brunch out where we are is hit or miss as there seems to be too few places for the demand. Not to mention going anywhere with kids is unpredictable, a safer option can be making it at home. As I say, a little planning ahead can make doing it yourself fairly stress-free.
I first made a strata from Smitten Kitchen a few years ago and really enjoyed it, so it's been on my list to make my own version for a while. A breakfast strata is great when you have guests, since there's no work in the morning, and so seemed the perfect fit for today's Sunday Supper sleepover theme.
What is a strata?
A strata is basically a savory French toast casserole, also a bit like a bready stuffing. You can add to it pretty much anything you like, cheese being a common addition for obvious tasty reasons.
Since I was intending this as a breakfast strata, having bacon seemed pretty much inevitable for me. I love combining a little sweet and savory, particularly for brunch, and so dates add that nice contrast.
Cheese-wise I went for a lovely nutty comte, one of my favorites and a great match here, nut gruyere would be a good alternative if you can't find it. , A little spinach to make it feel slightly healthier (plus it's tasty), and you're almost there.
How to make this breakfast strata
There's just a bit of preparation ahead of time for this breakfast strata before an easy cook in the morning.
- Cook the bacon and onion then wilt in the spinach.
- Cut up the bread, whisk up the egg mixture, then you start layering everything up.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight before you bake it in the morning.
This breakfast strata is a delicious combination of lots of contrasts. Savory, with a slight sweetness from the dates, soft with a slight crunch on top. It's all your favorite breakfast elements combined. And being prepared ahead, it's perfect for serving to houseguests. Or just to make life easier when you need an easy morning. Either way, be sure to find an excuse to make this soon.
Looking for more tasty savory brunch ideas? Try these!
- Vegetarian breakfast burrito
- Tomato asparagus quiche
- Eggs Benedict
- Plus get more ideas in the breakfast and brunch recipes archives.
Breakfast strata with bacon and date
- 5 ½ oz smoked bacon 150g (streaky)
- ½ onion
- 1 clove garlic large
- 4 oz spinach 115g
- 2 cups bread 4oz/115g cut in cubes, without crust (eg French, ciabatta or other bread that will absorb without going to mush - I had a wholewheat loaf)
- 3 tablespoon date pieces (I recommend chopped Medjool dates)
- 1 cup comte/gruyere cheese 75g, coarsely grated
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup milk 240ml or ⅔cup milk and ⅓cup cream
The night before
- Dice the bacon and onion relatively small. Cook the bacon in a small/medium skillet/frying pan over a medium heat until meat is cooked, some fat is rendered but not not crisping.
- Add the onion then cook until the onion softens. Crush the garlic and add to pan, stir and cook another minute or two until the bacon is starting to crisp.
- Roughly chop the spinach and add to the pan, a handful or two at a time, stirring in so it wilts down. Once it has all been added and has wilted, remove from the heat and set aside. This can be made ahead and refrigerated.
- Put half of the bread in the bottom of an oven dish (approx 8x6in/20x15cm), spread over half the spinach-bacon mixture, then half the dates and half the cheese. Repeat with the rest of the bread, spinach-bacon mixture, dates and cheese.
- Whisk together the eggs and milk (or milk/cream mix), add a little pepper if you like, and pour it evenly over the dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning
- Preheat the oven to 350F/190C and leave the dish out to warm up to room temperature as the oven heats up.
- Bake uncovered for approx 50min until it puffs up a bit, browns on top and is cooked through.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Try some other breakfast ideas:
- Bacon Jam Recipe by Life Tastes Good
- Baked Ham, Egg and Cheese Sandwiches by Food Lust People Love
- Classic Buttermilk Pancakes by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Julia’s Mushroom Quiche – Quiche aux Champignons by An Appealing Plan
- Nutty Sweet Potato Waffles by Wholistic Woman
- Overnight Green Chile Breakfast Burritos by Cooking On The Ranch
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes by Books n’ Cooks
- Pumpkin French Toast Casserole by Moore or Less Cooking
- Swedish Pancakes with Brown Sugar Bananas by Bottom Left of the Mitten