This Brussels Sprouts + Pancetta Breakfast Strata is just the thing for feeding a houseful of overnight guests! Assemble ahead and bake for an easy, piping hot, comfort-filled casserole.
A Savory Breakfast Strata with Pancetta + Brussels Sprouts
A savory breakfast is my favorite kind! So, it’s no surprise that if I’m making breakfast for a houseful of people, I lean toward bacon and eggs versus french toast.
And, combining all those savory flavors, like pancetta, Brussels sprouts, cheese and eggs, into an assemble-ahead casserole is an ultimate time saver.
Make this when company is coming and you’ll have happy bellies all around!
Ingredients for Brussels Sprouts + Pancetta Breakfast Strata
In addition to pantry staples like unsalted butter, olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh cracked black pepper, you’ll need:
- Pancetta — You can order a thick cut of it from your deli or find it pre-packaged in slices or diced. The diced pancetta typically comes in 4 oz packages which is exactly what you’ll need for this recipe. Time saver!
- Onion + garlic — for that intoxicating aroma.
- Brussels sprouts — sneak in those veggies at breakfast!
- Fresh herbs — marjoram, thyme and parsley.
- Baguette — or any crusty, day old bread.
- Gruyere cheese — super melty with a nutty flavor.
- Eggs — pasture raised if you can get them.
- Milk — I use 2%, but whole or skim will work as well.
- Dijon mustard — for me, this is a classic addition to Brussels sprouts dishes and amps up the flavor of the custard.
- Nutmeg — simply because a savory custard should not be without it.
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How To Prepare a Savory Breakfast Strata
Start the pancetta in a cold pan (I like cast iron for this recipe, but any heavy bottomed skillet will do). Cook it over medium heat to slowly render the fat and crisp up the pancetta. You’ll then add the onion and cook that until it becomes tender. Toss the garlic in for just a minute before you remove the pancetta, onion and garlic to a paper towel to drain.
Add a bit of olive oil to the drippings in the skillet. Now place the Brussels sprouts, cut side down, in a single layer if possible. Let them cook undisturbed for several minutes until they become caramelized. Remove them to a large bowl.
To the Brussels sprouts, add the pancetta mixture, salt, pepper, herbs, cubed baguette and cheese. Toss this all together and set aside.
To make the custard, crack 12 eggs into another large bowl and beat with a whisk. Add milk, Dijon, nutmeg, salt + pepper and whisk until you have a smooth custard.
Butter a 9”x13” casserole dish then dump in the bread mixture. Make sure the Brussels sprouts are evenly distributed. Carefully pour the custard all over. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to gently press the bread into the custard.
Now the hard part (only if you’re hungry!) — cover it with cling film and refrigerate if overnight. The bread will get good and saturated with the custard as it rests.
In the morning, bake it for 1 hour in a 350°F oven for a piping hot, savory breakfast casserole.
Substitutions for Brussels Sprouts + Pancetta Breakfast Casserole
- Meat — Substitute equal amounts of American style bacon or breakfast sausage for the pancetta.
- Vegetables — Instead of Brussels sprouts (I realize these can be polarizing), use broccoli, winter squashes, spinach, kale, or really any vegetable that floats your boat. Keep in mind that leafy greens will wilt down considerably when cooked, so you might want to double the quantity.
- Herbs — Change up the flavor with different herb combinations. Stronger scented herbs like basil and rosemary will really stand out.
Tips + Serving Suggestions
When selecting bread for this recipe, day old bread is best. Drier, or ‘stale’ bread, will soak up the custard much better. If your bread is still fresh, place the cubed pieces on a sheet pan and toast for 5 to 7 minutes at 350°F to dry it out.
Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge for 3 or 4 days. To freeze leftovers, wrap individual portions tightly and freeze for up to a month — warm in the microwave for a quick breakfast.
Brussels Sprouts + Pancetta Breakfast Strata is a hearty meal on it’s own, but if you’re serving a big group or as part of your brunch spread, include some fresh fruit or even a green salad with a Dijon-herb vinaigrette.
Other Delicious Breakfast + Brunch Recipes
- Spiced Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls
- Cashel Blue Cheese + Pear Tarts
- Savory Dutch Baby with Serrano Ham, Fried Eggs + Gruyere
- Prosciutto + Parm Brunch Rolls with Fig Jam Drizzle
Brussels Sprouts + Pancetta Breakfast Strata
- 4 oz pancetta diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 12 oz Brussels sprouts trimmed + halved
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp fresh marjoram chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme chopped
- 2 tbsp Italian parsley chopped
- 10 oz baguette cut into bite-size pieces (see notes)
- 1 cup gruyere cheese (a generous cup) grated
- 12 large eggs
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- ¾ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- Place pancetta in a cold heavy-bottomed skilled (cast iron is great!) over medium heat. Cook for 7 minutes. Add the diced onion to the pancetta and cook for together for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. With a slotted spoon, remove to a paper towel to drain.
- Add 1 tbsp of olive to the pancetta drippings. Add the Brussels sprouts, cut side down wherever possible. Cook undisturbed for 5 to 6 minutes to caramelize. Remove the sprouts to a large bowl.
- Add the pancetta to the bowl with the Brussels sprouts along with 1 tsp kosher salt, black pepper, chopped herbs, baguette and gruyere. Toss this all together.
- Into another large bowl, crack 12 eggs. Scramble those up, then add the milk, Dijon, nutmeg, 1 tsp kosher salt, and black pepper. Whisk well to create the custard.
- Butter a 9"x13" casserole. Add the bread mixture to the casserole, taking care that the Brussels sprouts are evenly distributed. Carefully pour the custard over the bread. With a wooden spoon or spatula, gently press the bread to submerge it in the custard and promote soaking.
- Cover the casserole with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight. The bread should soak up most of the custard as it rests.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Bake the strata for 1 hour. Remove it to a cooling rack to rest for a few minutes. Cut into 12 pieces and serve.
Nutritional values are estimated and provided as a general guideline only.