We’re celebrating National Kale Day with a recipe that’s as delicious as it is cruciferous! Kale is a staple in health-conscious salads and smoothies, but what about its more decadent side? I whipped together an easy strata (think savory Italian bread pudding) that’s perfect for a fancy fall get-together or a last-minute brunch potluck. Plus, it’s totally customizable depending on what you’ve got in the fridge! Keep scrolling for my recipe, tips for shortcuts and substitutions, and the cutest kitchenware around!
Kale and Butternut Squash Strata
1 tablespoon butter + more for baking pan
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup butternut squash, chopped into small pieces
1 small bunch kale, stems removed, leaves thinly sliced
4–5 cups cubed French or Italian bread (about half a loaf)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
6 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
Fresh ground black pepper
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange butternut squash on a baking sheet, toss with a tablespoon of olive oil, and roast for 25-30 minutes until the squash is tender and golden brown. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.
2) Turn oven down to 350 degrees and grease an 8” square baking dish with a little bit of butter.
3) Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter and stir in garlic once the butter melts. When garlic is soft and not quite brown, stir in kale and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook for a couple of minutes until kale is wilted. Turn off the heat.
4) Spread out half the cubed bread in the bottom of the baking dish, cover with half the kale and squash and sprinkle half the cheeses over it, then repeat with remaining bread, kale, squash, and cheese. Press down if needed to compact the bread and make room for your layers.
5) Beat eggs with milk, cream, 1/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Pour egg mixture over the bread in the dish.
6) Bake uncovered for 45–55 minutes, until the strata is cooked through and the edges pull away slightly from the pan. It should be puffy, golden-brown, and no longer wiggly in the middle. Pull out of the oven, cool slightly, and serve!
– Can’t stand the thought of waking up early to make breakfast? Make it the day before! Roast the squash, cook the kale, and cube the bread any time the day before you plan on serving the strata, and keep your pre-prepped ingredients in the fridge til you’re ready. Then, the night before your brunch, assemble the strata and add the egg mixture like in step 3 and 4. Cover with plastic wrap and simply uncover and bake the next morning. The longer it sits, the creamier and more delicious the strata will get!
– This recipe works best with stale bread, so if you’ve got a not-so-fresh loaf lying around, use it! You can also save the ends of your bread loaves and freeze them until you have enough to use in the recipe, though the texture won’t be quite as creamy. If you don’t have stale bread, you can cube up fresh bread and toast in a 400 degree oven until dry, about 5-10 minutes. And if you can’t handle that amount of prep, no worries! It’s perfectly delicious with fresh bread too.
– Stratas are great for using up bits and pieces of leftovers. You can substitute the kale for any hearty green like collards, or even spinach (just cook for a shorter amount of time). If you don’t have butternut squash, try roasted sweet potatoes or even cubed pumpkin! You can even throw in cooked and chopped veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, whatever! If you want to make the strata a little more health-conscious, you can use a good whole wheat loaf and 2% milk instead of the whole milk and cream. It won’t be quite as sumptuous, but it’ll still be pretty darn good.
– Finally, stratas aren’t just for fancy brunches; they’re perfect as a make-ahead breakfast for a busy workweek, and pair great with a salad or soup for a hearty lunch.
+ What’s your favorite thing to make for brunch? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to check out ModCloth’s cute and quirky kitchen gear!