Make ahead for those busy weekend mornings, brunch or special holiday occasions; Vegetarian Savory Bread Pudding makes a hearty breakfast, brunch or dinner and feeds a small crowd. Make it with Multigrain Sourdough Bread for fabulous flavor, this mushroom bread pudding is make ahead ready! [ VIDEO on recipe card ]
This recipe was first published in 2016. It has been updated with new photos and recipe notes December 2021. The recipe remains unchanged.
Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding
We all need a breakfast or brunch recipe we can rely on for make ahead easy, especially for holiday gatherings. Ideally a recipe that can be pulled together the day before and baked the next morning. It needs to be hearty, full of flavor, texture and veggie packed.
Savory bread puddings (aka stratas) are known for this and more. They’re perfectly suited for the breakfast and brunch table, but also, it stands in easily for dinner. I love making this mushroom bread pudding recipe during the holidays, because it’s a family favorite and easy to pull together.
Quick Guide: How to Make Savory Bread Pudding
This kale strata recipe is pretty flexible in using what you have on hand as far as bread goes. I like making this recipe with Multigrain Sourdough Bread or Everyday Sourdough because I almost always have it on hand, but challah will work too. Letting the bread pudding set overnight in the refrigerator renders a more tender bread pudding. Although it can be baked the same day it’s assembled, be sure to let it set/soak for at least an hour. In summary, here’s how to make this mushroom bread pudding (see recipe card for details):
- First, remove the stems on the kale, then blanch, cool, and chop. Transfer the into a large bowl.
- Second, sauté the leeks and cremini mushrooms in a large skillet over medium-high heat with a bit of olive oil. Transfer to the bowl with the kale.
- Third, to the mixing bowl add the cheese and cubed bread. Stir to blend the ingredients.
- Next, whisk together the large eggs, milk, salt and spices. Pour egg mixture into the large mixing bowl with the bread cubes and mushroom mixture.
- Last, transfer the savory bread pudding to a prepared baking dish and sprinkle the top with more cheese.
At this point the mushroom bread pudding can be covered and rested in the fridge overnight or, allowed to soak for at least 30 minutes (preheat oven while it’s soaking), then bake until golden brown. Share with freshly ground black pepper, salt, chopped fresh chives and more Parmesan if desired.
A Veggie that Keeps on Giving
Kale is a veggie that’s available pretty much year round. It grows in all seasons here in the Pacific Northwest. I use it almost like a pantry staple because of its versatility. Not only is kale nutritious, but it’s a hearty green like chard and collards, so it works well in salads, soup, casseroles, this eggy recipe for savory bread pudding or any recipe where one would require a sturdy green.
About Blanching Kale
There are several advantages to blanching kale prior to including it in this recipe:
- Cleans and washes away pesky hidden dirt and debris.
- Destroys the enzymes that turn the veggies brown and mushy when cooking longer.
- Helps retain its bright green color and nutrients.
PRO TIP: If you want to freeze kale, blanch it first. Its color will go from a dark, purply green to a vibrant, bright green in about one minute. So if you see kale on sale grab it, blanch it, then freeze it. Enjoy it just like frozen spinach.
How to Blanch Kale
- First, fill a medium sauce-pot half full of water. Bring it to a rolling boil, and place the destemmed kale in the water, pushing it down into the water with tongs.
- Second, set a timer for one minute and cook the kale.
- Next, strain and plunge the kale into an ice bath to cool.
- Last, squeeze out as much water as possible then use or freeze.
A Few Savory Bread Pudding Notes
- I love sourdough in this vegetarian savory bread pudding! Find it at you local bakery, co-op or make homemade Multigrain Sourdough Bread.
- Crimini mushrooms (aka baby bella) are delicious in the recipe and are easy to find. However, white button mushrooms or a wild mushroom mix would be delicious!
- Make Ahead: This mushroom bread pudding recipe is best when made ahead. It’s texture benefits from an overnight rest! Make it one day prior to when needed. Prepare the recipe, then cover and refrigerate it overnight. It’ll be ready when you are the next morning.
- Look for vegetarian Gruyere and Parmesan*. If unable to locate either as a vegetarian cheese (made without rennet), sharp white cheddar would be a fine substitution.
Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a comment and rating below as it helps others considering making this recipe. If you’re on Instagram, be sure to take a picture and tag me @VanillaAndBean so I can see and share in my stories!
Kale Mushroom Leek Savory Bread Pudding Recipe
- 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil I use coconut or olive oil
- 8 cups (810 grams) Kale destemmed and rough chopped into bite size-pieces (about two bunches)
- 2 1/2 cups (210 grams) Leeks split, cleaned, sliced thin into 1/2 moons (about 1 large leek)
- 12 ounces (340 grams) Crimini Mushrooms
- 6 cups (295 grams) Rustic Sourdough Bread cut into bite-sized cubes (about 1/2 a rustic loaf)
- 2 1/4 cups (240 grams) Gruyere grated*
- 1 cup (100 grams) Parmesan grated*
- 2 tablespoons Chives thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoons Fresh Thyme chopped
- 6 Large Eggs
- 2 cups (520 grams) Whole Milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt divided
- 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- Spray a 9″x13″ (22cm x 33cm) baking dish with pan spray. Set aside.
Prepare the Filling:
- To blanch the kale, fill a medium sized sauce-pot 1/2 way with water and put it on to boil. Set up an ice bath. Place the kale in the boiling water and press down to submerge. Set the timer for 1 minute. Remove the kale and plunge it into the ice bath to cool. Strain and press out excess water, as much as possible. Place in large mixing bowl.
- Add 1 Tbs oil to a saute’ pan, heat until shimmering. Add the leeks plus 1/4 tsp salt and cook on medium-low for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally until until soft. Some browning is good. Place the cooked leeks in mixing bowl with the kale.
- Clean and destem the mushrooms then slice thin. Add 1 Tbs oil to the same saute’ pan, heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and cook on medium-low for about 5 minutes, stirring only a few times. We want to sear those mushrooms. Add the mushrooms to the mixing bowl. Reserve 1 C (60g) of bread cubes, and a few handfuls of cheese and set aside. Then add the remaining bread, chives, thyme and cheeses to the kale and leek mixing bowl. Mix throughly.
For the Custard:
- Crack the eggs into a medium size mixing bowl. Add the milk, mustard, remaining salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Whisk until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Pour the egg mixture into the large bowl with the veggies and bread. Stir until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Using the back of a spatula, firmly press the ingredients into the pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and nudge the reserved bread into the cheese/egg mixture leaving pieces to stick out and crisp up as it bakes. This creates delicious little bits of crunchy goodness over the top of the dish.
To Hold or Bake:
- Cover and refrigerate overnight OR allow to rest for at least 30 minutes prior to baking so the bread mixture has time to soak up the custardy mixture. Bake uncovered at 350F (180C) on center rack for about 48-55 minutes rotating the baker half way through baking. The bread pudding is done when the top is golden, puffy and bubbly.
- Rest for five minutes then serve warm. Store in a lidded container in the fridge for up to three days.
*Sharp white cheddar is a fine substitution if a veg friendly cheese is unavailable. Look for veg friendly brands like BelGioioso for Parmesan and Boars Head for Gruyere.