What do you do with day-old bread? Save it to make a savory strata. Zucchini, Mushroom, and Thyme Strata is a filling and flavorful dish that is perfect for brunch or dinner (I even like it cold, straight out of the fridge for breakfast).
I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how I let the majority of a loaf of crusty, artisan bread get a little past its prime. Not using the entire loaf is something that makes me sad. Wasting bread is like a sin to an Italian, so I had to think of some way to put it to good use.
Since a strata includes eggs (and bread), many recipes are geared to serve for breakfast or brunch. But as you well know, breakfast for dinner is always a treat, so why not consider a strata for your evening meal? Pair it with soup or salad for a fab meal.
I pulled some veggie staples from the fridge and thought marinara sauce would make a colorful splash for this dish. The thyme is a nice complement to the zucchini and mushrooms, and I included Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, too. If you’re still in love with zucchini even after the summer, try adding it to pizza.
A few great things about a strata:
- It’s the perfect way to use up day-old bread
- You can include pretty much any vegetable and cheese combo you’d like
- You can make it the day before you want to serve it (just refrigerate overnight before you’re ready to pop it in the oven)
This recipe for Zucchini, Mushroom, and Thyme Strata is easy to make and can help keep you guilt-free over unused bread. Serve this for any meal of the day.
Recipe for Zucchini, Mushroom, and Thyme Strata
- 4 cups day-old bread, cubed into 2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups zucchini, cut into rounds, then quartered
- 1-1/2 cups cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1-1/4 cups milk
- 1/3 cup marinara sauce
- 1/3 cup Mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 1-quart baking dish with the nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Add the bread cubes to a large bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of thyme. Toss to combine, then spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer.
- Bake the bread for 8-10 minutes, tossing once or twice. Remove from the oven when toasted, and set aside.
- Add the eggs, milk, and marinara sauce to a bowl, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, garlic, zucchini, and mushrooms to the pan. Add the remaining salt, black pepper, and a dash of thyme if you’d like. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the vegetables soften and the mushrooms begin to release their juices. Remove from the heat and add to a large bowl.
- Add the Mozzarella cheese to the egg mixture, along with 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese.
- Add bread cubes to the bowl with the vegetables and toss to combine. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and bread and toss to combine. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden and a knife inserted in the middle of the strata comes out clean (the eggs should be set). During the last 5 minutes of baking, sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.