Mushroom ricotta bread pudding, a.k.a. strata. It’s a delicious brunch or dinner casserole, featuring layers of mushrooms, bread cubes, ricotta, eggs, fresh herbs, and grated cheese.
Let’s say you have some stale, two-day-old bread lying around. Will you throw it out? Of course not. Feed it to pigeons or swans in the park? Possibly. Turn it into breadcrumbs? Maybe.
I propose a strata.
If you don’t know, strata is a plural of the word stratum, and it’s a geological term for layers of rock in the ground.
In this case, it’s a simple, comforting casserole (with layers of delicious ingredients—not rocks) that you can quickly put together from basic pantry staples.
The star ingredient in this savory bread pudding are mushrooms. I went for a variety, because I wanted different textures and flavors.
Mushrooms are such an awesome ingredient for vegetarians. They have an earthy, woodsy, umami flavor. They’re substantial, versatile, and easy and quick to prepare.
Mushrooms I Used in This Bread Pudding Recipe
Here’s a list of the mushrooms that went into my strata. You can use the exact same combination, or pick just one or two types, or throw in a different kind altogether. This is an adaptable recipe!
- CREMINI–they look like regular white button mushrooms, but have brown caps. They’re a mini version of portobellos, before the cap has opened. You could also find them sold under the baby bella name.
- CLAMSHELLS–clustered and joined at a base, they have 2–3 inch stems, and tiny white, or brown caps. They have a nice, crunchy texture, and pair well with garlic, or white wine. Also sold as beech mushrooms or shimeji.
- TRUMPET–thick, with small flat caps. Trumpet mushrooms are mild when raw, but their umami flavor comes out during cooking. They’re the largest of the oyster mushroom family, and they’re sold as king trumpet or trumpet royale.
Other Types of Mushrooms You Could Use in This Strata:
- white button
Mushroom Ricotta Bread Pudding (Strata) Ingredients
One genius thing about strata recipes, is how adaptable and versatile they are. It’s basically everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of recipe.
You just need a good crusty bread, and eggs with milk to bind it. The rest comes down to what you have on hand and what you like to eat. (If you’re substituting, use the same quantity for that ingredient—consult the recipe card at the bottom of this post).
- BREAD–I used sourdough boule, but these will work as well: country-style bread, sandwich bread, baguette, ciabatta, dinner rolls, or even croissants. GLUTEN-FREE breads, too.
- MUSHROOMS–See photos and descriptions above.
- MILK–I used whole dairy milk, but try buttermilk or plain, non-dairy milk (almond, oats).
- RICOTTA–I love this versatile, mild, sweet cheese and how it adds texture to this recipe.
- ONION & GARLIC–Go really well with the mushrooms. If you have leeks, you could use those instead onion.
- THYME–Pairs so well with mushrooms. Fresh rosemary, oregano, or sage work, too.
- PARSLEY–It has a clean, bright flavor. Sub with cilantro or chives, if you like.
- CHEESE–I bought a bag of mixed, grated Colby and Monterey Jack, which melted perfectly. Other cheeses you could use: gruyère, cheddar, or Swiss.
- WATER–Used for quickly cooking the mushrooms. If you have white wine on hand, throw it in.
How to Make Mushroom Ricotta Bread Pudding (Strata)
The prep for this bread pudding is easy. Once you clean, trim and chop the mushrooms, you’ll cook them quickly to add extra flavor.
First sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, add mushrooms, thyme, and water, and then simmer for a few minutes—they’ll continue cooking in the oven.
After that, you’ll put together your strata casserole. I used a rimmed 9x13x2-inch baking pan.
Mushrooms go in first, followed by a layer of cubed bread. You’ll mix together the eggs, milk, ricotta, parsley, salt, and black pepper, and pour it evenly all over the bread, and mushrooms.
Finish with grated cheese on top and stick in the oven.
The strata takes about 45–50 minutes to bake. You’ll know it’s ready when the top is puffy, golden brown, and the whole thing is set.
At the end, you’ll have a tasty, satisfying vegetarian dish that’s great for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. I like it both warm and at room temperature.
Here are some common Q & As:
How Far in Advance Can You Make the Mushroom Ricotta Strata?
You could assemble it, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours (2–3), and then bake it. After you bake it, it will last, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
Can You Freeze Strata?
You can freeze it for up to 2 months—defrost overnight in the fridge, and re-heat in the oven at 350°F for 20 minutes.
Does Strata Have to Sit Overnight?
Some recipes make you assemble it and put it in the fridge overnight, for the layers to come together, but that texture is different—the bread soaks up the egg mixture and almost breaks apart.
The strata is then more like a soufflé.
My recipe keeps the chewy texture of the bread.
Is Strata a Good dish for a crowd?
Yes it is! This recipe makes about eight slices. It’s great on its own or with a bright leafy-lettuce salad. You can make it for a brunch, picnic or a dinner party.
Other Tasty Recipes From My Library:
Crustless Carrot Zucchini Quiche
Paleo Almond Bread
Fluffy Bohemian Pancakes
Cheesy Egg Nests
Walnut Cranberry Scones
Gluten-Free & Vegan Bircher Muesli (Overnight Oats)
Chocolate Granola With Pistachios, Almonds and Dried Currants
Vegan Banana Apricot Muffins
Did you make this mushroom ricotta strata? Did you call it strata or savory bread pudding?
Tell Me in the Comments.Print
Use stale bread in this easy-to-assemble bread pudding, a.k.a. strata. It’s a delicious brunch or dinner casserole, featuring layers of mushrooms, bread cubes, ricotta, eggs, fresh herbs, and grated cheese.
- 1 pound (500 g) whole mushrooms such as white button, cremini, clamshell, trumpet (or a mixture of these)
- ½ pound (250 g) day-old, crusty, country-style bread, such as sourdough boule
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
- ¾ cup (95 g) diced, peeled yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped, peeled garlic (about 2 medium garlic cloves)
- ½ cup (120 ml) water, or white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
- ½ cup (115 g) whole ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup (60 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup (90 g) grated melting cheese, such as gruyère, monterey jack, or cheddar
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and spray a 9x13x2-inch (23x33x5 cm) rimmed baking pan with vegetable oil, or grease lightly with butter.
- Clean and trim the mushrooms, and depending on what kind and shape they are, dice their caps, or leave smaller mushrooms whole. Set aside.
- Slice the bread, and then cut each slice into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 3–4 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, water and thyme, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms shrink a little, about 4–5 minutes. (There’s no need to cook them longer as they’ll continue to cook during baking).
- In a medium bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Mix in the milk, ricotta, parsley, salt, and black pepper.
- Spread the mushrooms evenly over the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of the bread cubes. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the mushrooms and bread cubes. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. (You can bake it right away, or store covered in the fridge, for up to 3 hours).
- Bake in the oven until set and golden brown on top, about 45–50 minutes.
- Let the strata cool for 5 minutes. Slice and serve warm, or at room temperature. Store, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 2 months.