It’s Tasty, It’s Just Not Pretty–Eggless Strata

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Oh come on, admit it – you’re just dying to try that.

No? Oh…well…I don’t know what to tell you other than that it tastes about 5,000,000,000 times better than it looks.

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I feel like I say that about everything I make, though. I just love gross-looking casserole-esque dishes, I suppose. Slop in a bowl, maybe?

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Anyone who’s “read me” for a long time may remember that I am rather fond of stratas.

Strata is a bread pudding-like layered comfort food casserole made with eggs, cheese and stale cubed bread (or sometimes hash browns).

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Stratas are a bit of a tradition to have as a brunch meal – Christmas morning and Easter would not be complete without a strata in my family.

A particular favorite was this one – which I made in addition to my mom’s traditional eggy, cheesy, meaty strata last Christmas. They were both very different, but both very much enjoyed.

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Now, though, I don’t eat meat, and am very picky about where my other animal products come from, too.

Of course, I also read cookbooks from cover to cover now, and when I have half a loaf of stale/dry Spelt bread left, immediately decide to use it for something else so that I can make my next loaf of sandwich bread…what can I say?!

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Recently, I’ve been going through Veganomicon and bookmarking each recipe that piques my interest so that it’s easier to just find one that sounds good at the time, rather than flipping through the whole book when I’m looking for something to make.

When I saw “Mushroom and Spinach Strata” in a vegan cookbook, my eyeballs nearly popped out of my head and my mother about had a heart attack waking up to my shrill screams, not necessarily of horror, but more from bafflement.

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Because stratas are made with eggs. You mean to tell me I can have stratas, without supporting factory farms? And furthermore, you mean to tell me it will still be edible?!

I mean – I’m pretty open minded as you well know, but I was skeptical.

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And so, I adapted Isa’s recipe to take on a little bit more of my previously loved sausage-apple strata.

I almost made some seitan sausages to go with it – and still think it’d be really good! – but lost the motivation.

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Kale, Cranberry and Apple Strata

  • 4 slices stale whole-grain bread, cubed into approx. 1” squares (You’ll want something a little “crustier” than typical storebought sandwich bread – bakery bread is best.)
  • 2-3 T. olive oil
  • 3 large shallots, chopped
  • 2 c. sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1 t. dried sage
  • 2 t. dried basil
  • dash crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • approx. 5 oz. chopped kale
  • 1/4 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 medium apple, chopped

For the Custard:

  • 1/2 of a 15 oz. package of soft tofu
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 2 t. yellow mustard
  • 1/2 T. white bean flour
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 t. salt (scant)

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and sautee about five minutes, until soft. Add the mushrooms and sautee until tender. Don’t use too much oil – just enough that the veggies can still get a little stuck, so that they develop a bit of a crust on the outside, while still being tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the custard. Place all ingredients for the custard in a blender, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and place in fridge until ready to use.

To the shallots and mushrooms, add the salt, pepper, sage and basil. Stir to combine, and then start adding the kale by the handful, allowing each handful to wilt down and turn vibrant green before adding the next. You’ll probably need to add a little bit of water to the pan to help with this – just keep a small glassful and add as you need it. Add in the cranberries and apple, stirring to combine, and then shut off heat. Add in the bread cubes, and gently combine everything. You might need a little bit of olive oil when you add the bread cubes.

Transfer everything to a sprayed casserole dish, and pour the custard over top. Gently pat the tofu in so it mixes a bit – but don’t mix it all together too much. The bottom layer will be mostly the veg and bread mix, sans tofu.

Bake in a preheated 400* oven for about 45-50 minutes, until firm and slightly brown on top. Unfortunately, it will still be really ugly.

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But, mark my words – really delicious. Unless you’re not in your adventurous in your tastes and can’t quite come to terms with the fact that there are cranberries and apples in your strata. In which case…well, don’t use the cranberries and apples. And I’d suggest you add some hummus and nooch to the custard, ‘cause I bet that’d be faaaantastic.
My mom wasn’t sure how she felt about having cranberries and apples in her strata.
Ironically, she was okay with having tofu in her egg-free strata.
Go figure.
Do you enjoy reading recipes in your past time, too?! Do you have a favorite cookbook?
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20 Comments

Filed under breakfast, dinner, recipe, strata, vegan

20 responses to “It’s Tasty, It’s Just Not Pretty–Eggless Strata

  1. I used to read recipes sooo much in my past time but now I more or less read the title of them for inspiration and go from there.

    The strata sounds awesome! Often times the “ugliest” meals turn out to be that tastiest. Although I still wouldnt consider that to be ugly 😛

  2. I don’t really have any cookbooks… other than the magazines that they give out in the grocery stores 😀 I think I would fall into the same category as your mother with this particular dish… apples and cranberries probably wouldn’t be my thing. You’ll be happy to know that it looks delicious in my opinion… not ugly at all!

    … I’m a little confused though. You don’t eat eggs anymore?

  3. I think it looks delicious. However I am a true lover of casserole and home cooked foods! I love reading cookbooks. Honestly, I went to the bookstore today and looked through a few. Jamie Oliver steals my heart with his books. While I don’t eat everything in them, I feel like all of the elements of a good book are in his and you feel the story behind the food. That is what I love most about food too…there is always a story about why you make what you make and how it makes you feel. I don’t care if it is loaded with meat if it is a good wholesome meal, it is perfect. I don’t however like to read things that are all about loading things with fat for flavor. That irritates me. Wow, would you like me to write you a novel with that question? Ok, I will be quiet now.

  4. Interesting recipe – i never would have thought up the combination – but ill take your word for it!!!
    I love cookbooks – some of my favorites are Moosewood Vegetarian and Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I do use the internet quite frequently and am able to get some great recipes!!!

  5. I have three cookbooks of my own (1000 Vegetarian Recipes, 1000 Indian Recipes, and that BH&G book I use for lab) and they’re pretty great. I like how the commenter above me says the two books I’m considering getting are great and how you have a cookbook-based question – so coincidental! And I don’t know how much time I’ve spent just reading recipes online and in cookbooks when I probably should have been doing something else. 😉

    The first time I had a strata was here on campus and I didn’t really know what it was. I’d like to try making one actually, seeing as I guess it’s just stale bread, vegetables and a custard (I’d have to use tofu or egg beaters because Dad won’t eat eggs because of his cholesterol). I’m really interested to give it a shot now after seeing you make an awesome one.

    And speaking of not-so-pretty dishes, I happened to make one tonight but it was an actual success! I’ll have an actual new recipe up soon. 😛

  6. Its been far too long since I had my aunts leek and potato strata. Thanks for reminding me. And yours looks great!

    Thanks for your advice of Livewriter. I’m still debating whether or not to take the plunge!

  7. You’re right – that doens’t look good.

    However, neither does half of the things I make! I’m sure it tasted yummy!

  8. I honestly dont think I’ve ever even had a strata but you know I’m a fellow veganomicon lover! I left my book in Detroit though so I’ll be without these next two months. I also used to look for things to make but also like to glance for inspiration in a more casual way….love cookbooks soo much..I definitely do it for fun!

  9. i’ve never had strata before, but it looks very interesting. i believe you when you say it tastes good!!! i love veganomicon, and moosewood cookbooks usually end up being my light nighttime reading :). right now i’m reading “vegetarian cooking: commonsense guide”. I found it cheap and it has some great recipes!

  10. normally i will just look at the ingredients in the recipe as i’m browsing instead of reading the whole thing, that way i just decide if it’s something i want to try based on what’s in it and i can dog-ear the page and go back. i LOVE recipe magazines, more than books i think.

    i think your strata looks great. when you look at what’s in it, you know it’s got to taste good ❤

  11. I too love sloppy looking casseroles! I have one my hubster adores. I call it my “Heart Attack waiting to Happen” casserole. Come to think of it I need to play around with it to clean it up and do a post on it!

  12. Oh wow, that looks positively divine! Have bookmarked this page and cannot wait to try it. How many servings does that make ? Just wondering if I should make it for my family… Thankyouu 🙂 Maybe I won’t show it to them when I make it haha… its not the prettiest ! 😛 xxx

  13. I am SO happy that you made a strata! I think it looks fantastic 🙂 I have been wanting to make this and bread pudding recently (random I know) I love how you made it and the ingredients you used. This would be perfect for Thanksgiving!

  14. I read more recipes than should be considered normal, but whenever it comes time to actually make something, I can never figure out what I want. Favorite cookbook is definitely Eat, Drink and Be Vegan!!

  15. I actually don’t use cookbooks very often – I’m a huge fan of websites and cooking magazines. I really want to get into cookbooks more though, so I’m going to ask for a ton for Christmas. 😀

    I love the look of this strata! I think the cranberries and apples would taste awesome in it. It gives it a perfect fall twist!

  16. Presentation is nice but it’s the taste that’ll bring you back to a dish.

  17. I love looking through cookbooks and magazines during my spare time. I will go to the bookstore and plop down in the cookbook section for hours! This strata sounds tasty. Looks aren’t everything! I love the addition of the apple and the cranberries. A very seasonal touch. Thanks for sharing love!

  18. I can very much relate to dinner’s looking messy but tasting amazing. I made one of your recipes last week and it was amazing btw! I have to try this one soon next!

  19. Pingback: It’s Tasty! « Healthy Exposures

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