May 23 2012

Weekday Lunch: Spinach Strata

I've stated before that my ideal weekday lunch is seasonal, nutritious, and filling. I have another requirement to add to the list: easy to clean up! There's nothing that takes away the pleausre of cooking lunch for yourself than staring into the kitchen at the pile of dishes you should probably clean up before you get back to work. After thiry minutes of cleaning, the energy you might have gained from your healthy made-at-home lunch has dissipated, replaced by malaise...and a desire to abandon the dirty dishes for coffee and a pastry.

No. A weekday lunch at home should add to the enjoyment and productivity of your day. Some lunches seem like they'll be easy prep/easy clean, only to result in beet stains all over the stovetop and floor. I recognize that certain delicious meals come with a price, namely cleaning, and I try to cook these lunches when I have a cushion of time to tidy up. But when you don't have that leeway and want to eat and get back to work, consider a strata, an egg and bread casserole. "Strata-it's not just for breakfast anymore!" (Don Draper would shoot down that tagline with a smirk.)

Prep the strata the night before and then when you begin to feel the familiar rumblings of hunger, pre-heat the oven and add the egg dish. Stratas are wonderful for their flexibility. Below, I've shared Heidi Swanson's spinach strata, in which I exchanged feta for cheddar. A strata is receptive to nearly any green or vegetable. The secret is an added punch like mustard, and cheese.

Spinach Strata

Recipe courtesy of Super Natural Everyday


lemon zest

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 teaspoons of mustard

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups (475 ml) milk

6 eggs

3 cups (225 g) bread cubes (small chunks)

2 cups (85 g) chopped spinach

1/2 cup cheese of your choice


1) Sprinkle a splash of olive in the bottom of a baking dish. Add lemon zest to the bottom.

2) In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, mustard, salt, and pepper with a tablespoon of milk. Then, whisk in the rest of the milk and eggs.

3) Put the bread in the prepared baking dish and top with the spinach and half the cheese. Toss with your hands to make sure everything mixes together. Then, slowly drizzle the egg mixture over the bread evenly. Top with the remaining cheese.

4) Refrigerate overnight. (Or continue below, if you're preparing it day-of.)

5) Preheat the oven to 350.

6) Bake the strata for 45-55 minutes (keep an eye on this; I baked mine for nearly an hour). You want the egg to be set and the edges slightly browned.

7) Serve warm and enjoy!