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overnight egg, spinach & hash brown breakfast strata

by Jackie Newgent  |  January 7, 2013  |  2 Comments

(Click on photo for full-size image!)

Makes 10 servings

My favorite part of making this comforting strata recipe is that you prepare it in the evening, so that all you need to do in the morning is place it in the oven. It’s a perfect entrée for any breakfast or brunch gathering. But if you want, make this sumptuous egg dish all for just you. (I do!) Freeze individual portions of it, then simply heat it up in the microwave in the morning for a calorie-friendly breakfast—in just a minute. Enjoy!

Calories Saved: 120

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces tri-color baby creamer potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/3-inch slices
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons white balsamic or champagne vinegar
1 pound fresh baby spinach
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg (optional)
6 (1-ounce) slices whole grain bread, cut into 4 wedges each
3/4 cup shredded sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
3/4 cup shredded or finely chopped Paesanella or Taleggio cheese (3 ounces)
12 large eggs
2 1/2 cups plain almond or sunflower milk
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

  1. Coat a 9- x 13-inch or 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a (PFOA-free) nonstick Dutch oven or large deep skillet, melt the butter with the oil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, onion, and rosemary and sauté until the onion begins to caramelize, about 8 minutes. Stir in the vinegar. Add the spinach a large handful at a time and toss using tongs until wilted, about 2 1/2 minutes. Add ¼ teaspoon of the salt and, if using, the nutmeg and toss to combine. Set aside.
  3. Evenly arrange half of the bread pieces in the baking dish. In order, evenly top with half of the spinach-potato mixture, half of the cheeses, and the remaining bread pieces, potato-spinach mixture, and cheeses. Drizzle with any remaining liquid from the Dutch oven.
  4. Whisk together the eggs, almond milk, pepper, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and pour over the layers in the baking dish. Cover and chill overnight (at least 4 hours) in the refrigerator.
  5. Remove the strata from the refrigerator and remove cover. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake until the strata is set, about 55 minutes. Let stand for at least 5 minutes, and serve.

Per serving: 280 calories, 15g total fat, 6g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 240mg cholesterol, 700mg sodium, 22g total carbohydrate, 4g dietary fiber, 4g sugars, 16g protein


The “Before” Recipe

spinach & ham breakfast bake

adapted from recipe at

Makes 10 servings

1/4 cup butter
8 ounces baked ham, diced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 pound fresh baby spinach
12 large eggs
2 3/4 cups whole milk
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pound loaf Italian or French bread, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups finely shredded aged Swiss cheese, such as Gruyere

  1. Grease a 3-quart baking dish with butter (that’s left on the butter wrapper). In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the ham and onion and sauté until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add spinach by the handful and sauté until wilted, about 2 minutes.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  3. Arrange half of the bread cubes in the prepared baking dish. Layer on top half of the spinach-onion mixture and half of the cheese. Layer on top the remaining bread cubes, spinach-onion mixture, and cheese. Evenly pour the egg mixture over the layers while pressing the bread cubes slightly to assure they’re fully moistened. Cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight (at least 4 hours).
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake uncovered until the bread is lightly browned and eggs are set, about 50 minutes. Let stand for at least 5 minutes to finish the cooking process, and serve.

Per serving: 400 calories, 20g total fat, 10g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 270mg cholesterol, 940mg sodium, 34g total carbohydrate, 4g dietary fiber, 5g sugars, 24g protein

Tasteover Tips

  • Keep the whole eggs when you can; most of the nutrition and flavor is found in the yolk
  • Don’t forgo butter; but try part extra-virgin olive oil and use just the amount of butter needed for a hint of butteriness
  • Use colorful baby creamer potatoes in place of some bread for more flavor interest, nutrient variety, and eye appeal
  • When opting to go vegetarian, choose real ingredients rather than not-so-real substitutes; try potatoes and rosemary which create body and distinctive flavor in lieu of the meatiness and saltiness of ham
  • Consider almond milk rather than whole milk for a significant calorie reduction while providing the same cooking function
  • Choose a mixture of high flavor cheeses to provide a just-as-rich-tasting result even when using a low-cal plant-based milk

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