It always seems like the best dishes this time of year are the ones that are filled with all the favorites - some carbs, lots of veggies, and of course, some of your favorite cheeses. Dishes like that are especially perfect for the holidays, because it seems like they always have a little something in them that everyone at the table likes.
This baked vegetable strata is one of those dishes which contains a little bit of everything, and gets baked together into the warmest cozy autumn meal. A strata is basically a casserole which is often associated with brunch due to the fact that it contains milk and eggs. This vegetarian strata would be the perfect addition to a holiday meal, as either a side for picking or a hearty main dish, and is sure to make everyone at the table smile.
This dish is full of seasonal produce, which makes it the perfect option as a main dish for those that may not be interested in turkey or other the entrees being served. The three veggies included here are the perfect combination, each adding their own unique flavors:
One of the best parts about preparing this dish is that all the vegetables can be prepared simultaneously. You'll toss the cubed squash in a little bit of olive oil, spreading it on a baking sheet, and roasting until just fork tender, Meanwhile, the quartered cremini mushrooms are sautéed in a skillet until perfectly golden, and the cauliflower florets are blanched to partially cook them. The secret ingredient in this recipe is the balsamic vinegar splashed into the mushrooms, which gives this hearty recipe the acidic kick which adds that little extra something special.
Once the vegetables are prepared, it's time to grab the sourdough, milk, and remaining olive oil. You'll want to first add the milk and olive oil to a medium bowl, and whisk it until the olive oil is as incorporated as possible into the milk. This is important because this mixture gets poured over the bread, and you want the olive oil to be evenly disbursed.
This is certainly one of those recipes where it does not have to be perfect, and that includes the size of the cubed bread. Depending on the bread you purchased, and whether it was pre-sliced or not, the cubes may be of varying thickness and that is 100% fine! Depending on this and the size of your baking dish, you may end up needing more or less than 10 cups, so use as much or as little as you need. Add the cubes to a large bowl, pour over the milk mixture, and toss to evenly coat. This step is important, as it ensures this strata won't be the least bit dry!
While the bread is sitting (for just 10 minutes!) it's time to grab the other ingredients for the cream mixture which will be poured over the layers. This recipe contains milk and cream, which makes it extra savory and the perfect recipe for brunch, or lunch, or even dinner! You'll want to now grab some:
Whisk these together in a separate bowl and it's time for the fun part!
Lot's of layering and nooks and crannies ready to be filled with the most delicious ingredients! Lightly spray your baking dish with cooking spray, then spread half of the bread along the bottom. Grab the reserved butternut squash, cremini mushrooms, and cauliflower, and top the first bread layer with half of them. Pour on the cream mixture, then grab all the cheese!
Swiss, mozzarella, and cheddar.
All shredded, and each adding their little something decadent to this baked dish. Swiss - adding that mild sweetness and nuttiness, mozzarella - the melting cheese which will be sure to get in between each piece of bread, and make for the cheesiest baked top, and cheddar - what I like to call the fall cheese, the best flavor companion to the earthy vegetables.
Sprinkle on half of those savory cheeses, then it's as easy as repeating the layering with the remaining ingredients. My one tip for the top would be to pay special attention to the edges of the dish, making sure to try and get the shredded cheese evenly along the edges. I think we can all agree, there is nothing more satisfying then a crispy, melted, cheesy, edge.
Pop the layered vegetable strata into the oven for an hour, and get excited for your whole kitchen to smell just like the best scents of this time of year. While the total time for this dish is around 2 hours, it bakes for half the time which means you are able to relax or prepare anything else you need in the meantime, like either of these holiday dishes:
Serve this warm and decadent dish at your next holiday table, or make it to enjoy for any cool week this time of year. Top with lots of fresh thyme and enjoy each flavorful and satisfying bite.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
This easy baked vegetable strata is full of fall produce, is warm and cheesy, and would be the perfect pretty and delicious meal to add to your holiday table.
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