Sun-dried Tomato Basil Breakfast Casserole (Strata)
Sun-dried tomatoes and basil are the cornerstones of this breakfast casserole. Just toss it all together the night before and bake it for your sunday brunch or weekend get togethers. The leftovers make for a delicious weeknight dinner when paired with a simple salad!
Brekkie is here!
First thing first. Yes, i’m bringing you a breakfast casserole on MONDAY so that you can dream about it all week long and then prep it on Friday and binge eat it over the weekend. I want to say this breakfast bake is so good you may want to cancel on your brunch guests and hunker down with the entire dish yourself. Then have this tomato + basil breakfast strata on Monday again for lunch or dinner with a side salad and realize that this breakfast casserole is more of a breakfast pizza [casserole] that would taste good with or without meat and is simply the kind of meal that keeps on giving.
Let’s really break this one down. Sun-dried tomatoes, aromatic basil, bread, eggs, milk, parmesan, and cheese all in one breakfast casserole that i’m pretty convinced tastes like the pizza of your dreams but comes together in a sophisticated, brunch appropriate package.
Call this a breakfast strata, a savory french toast casserole, or a breakfast bake, it’s the perfect brunch item to share with friends and family this summer. And ahem, did I mention it’s super easy to put together, requires hardly any work, and is the ideal make-ahead breakfast casserole?
YES TO ALL OF THOSE!
The first time I made a savory french toast casserole, I loaded it up with caramelized onions, feta, and sautéed spinach and guys, between the two of us, we licked the entire casserole dish clean. And though I love that version, I have to admit it, it is a little time consuming. For me, it contains a lot more of the flavors I enjoy in the fall or winter. For summer, I love sun-dried tomatoes and basil together.
Plus, it’s completely a happy coincidence that this breakfast casserole tastes like pizza. The sun-dried tomatoes lend so much bright tomato flavor to this and the basil helps give it that pop of freshness. I was completely out of fresh basil when I made this casserole so I popped in a palmful of dried basil and guys, along with the cheese and the bread, all the flavors reminded me of a good margarita pizza. Side note: my basil plant is still alive (barely) but it is! ?
What I love the most about this breakfast bake is that it’s all cooked in one dish. Everything. Bread. Eggs. Cheese. <– The pillars of any good brunch dish. ?
It’s a hearty, filling meal that requires you to beat a few eggs with some milk, and drizzle it all over day old bread. Gone are the days when you need to toast your bread, scramble eggs perfectly, or whatever else your brunches usually consist of. Now load it up in one dish. Ideally you want to prepare this the night before so the flavors really soak in. And in the morning, just a quick 35 minutes of oven lovin’.
I get that there might be a meat-lover or two in your life that may not agree with my meatless breakfast casserole ways. In such cases, crumbled cooked sausage or mini pepperoni sprinkled throughout the casserole will surely please such eaters. This savory french toast bake is easily customizable to your liking!
Also to be noted, gluten-free bread will work just fine for this breakfast casserole so my GF friends, rejoice!
P.S. I love using smoked gouda in this recipe but that can get really expensive really quickly! I found that my grocery store sells smoked jack cheese (which costs ½ of what the gouda does) and tastes almost exactly the same in this casserole. Other cheeses that work well: provolone, mozz, and Monterey jack.
If the Monday blues has got you down, day dream about this little number till you make it to the end of the week.
- 6 cups diced bread (preferably day old)
- 1 ½ cups shredded smoked jack cheese*
- 6 eggs
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- ¼ cup grated parmesan
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained*
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt + ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Generously spray a 11x8 casserole or 10 inch square dish with cooking spray. Add ½ the bread to the dish, along with ¾ cup of shredded cheese and crumbled sausage or pepperoni (if using) followed by the remaining bread, set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, parmesan, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and whisk until thoroughly mixed.
- Pour the prepared mixture over the bread. Use a wooden spoon to help push the bread down so it soaks up all the liquid. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours so the bread soaks up the egg mixture.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake the casserole, uncovered for 35-42 minutes or until the cheese melts and a toothpick inserted in the casserole comes out without any liquid on it. Allow the casserole to cool for 5-10 minute before slicing and serving.
- I like smoked jack cheese or smoked gouda in this casserole but those can be difficult to find sometimes. The smoky flavor really works well with this casserole but mozzarella, provolone or Monterey jack will also work out just fine!
- You can add cooked crumbled sausage or mini pepperonis to this casserole if you want to bulk it up a bit more with protein.
- If your sun-dried tomatoes are whole, consider dicing or slicing them before adding it to the casserole so you get some in each bite.
is this a good choice for you?