Savory Bread Pudding with Bacon, Peppers, and Spinach

Savory Bread Pudding with Bacon, Peppers, and Spinach Recipe

In this quintessential Christmas bread pudding brunch dish, crisp, mahogany-red bacon and red peppers contrast with bright green spinach leaves. The bread pudding makes breakfast or brunch a one-dish meal, though I like to serve it with a winter fruit platter. Remember to start the recipe two days in advance, as the bread cubes need to dry out and the pudding must set before baking. Besides being Christmas fare, this recipe can be served at Thanksgiving in place of dressing. It’s a do-ahead dish perfect for when you’re expecting a crowd.Diane Rossen Worthington

Savory Bread Pudding with Bacon, Peppers, and Spinach Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 2 H, 15 M
  • Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • One 14-ounce loaf olive ciabatta, crusts removed, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pound applewood-smoked bacon, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed, drained, and chopped
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, plus 1/4 cup for topping
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 cups milk or half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  • 1. One day before preparing the bread pudding, place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and let stand at room temperature overnight, or until the cubes are dried out.
  • 2. The next day, in a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat, turning once, for 5 minutes, or until evenly brown and crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain.
  • 3. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange the bread cubes in the dish. Scatter the bacon, peppers, and spinach leaves evenly over the cubes. Sprinkle with the 2 cups cheese. With a large spoon, evenly distribute the ingredients.
  • 4. In a large bowl, whisk together, or beat with an electric mixer on medium speed, the eggs, milk, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste until well blended. Ladle the milk mixture over the bread cubes, using your fingers, if necessary, to press the bread into the liquid. Sprinkle with the 1/4 cup cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
  • 5. The next morning, remove the bread pudding dish from the refrigerator 1 hour before baking and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake the pudding for 45 to 50 minutes, or until slightly puffed, set, and browned on the top. If the center is still underdone, push the bread down with a wooden spoon to help the bread absorb the liquid. Bake for a few more minutes. Let rest for a few minutes and then cut into squares. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Note

  • For advance preparation, make the bread pudding up to 4 hours ahead, cover, and keep at room temperature. Reheat in a 350°F (175°C) oven for 15 minutes, if desired.
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Allison Parker

Jan 09, 2007

This recipe is definitely not just for the holiday season. It would be perfect any time of year, for a weeknight meal or a casual yet elegant brunch. The colors of the dish are indeed pleasing, and the smoky, cheese-rich aroma as it bakes will give anyone in range an instant hunger pang. Planning a couple of days ahead is well worth it, as the actual work of assembling and baking the bread pudding is next to nothing. It's a dish that calls for minimal effort and gives maximum results, so it's ideal for entertaining.

A few notes:First, if you can't find olive ciabatta, don't worry. Substituting another sturdy olive loaf (or a combination of plain ciabatta and olive bread) will work just fine. Second, although the recipe doesn't specify it, you should remove the aluminum foil before baking. And finally, although this dish is meant to be eaten warm or at room temperature, my leftovers in the fridge were still fabulous on day two—even when I was too lazy to reheat and just ate a giant slab of bread pudding cold for breakfast!

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Robyn Rice-Foster

Jan 09, 2007

Loved it—the flavors—it was fantastic for a fall, Sunday afternoon. I made it for dinner to try something different; I will be making this again. It was nice comfort food with which to curl up in front of the fireplace and watch some movies and have a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon.

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Teddy Diggs

Jan 09, 2007

I like the fancy-sounding “savory bread pudding” for what I’ve always called a “strata,” but the easily-put-together, night-before concept remains the same. This recipe may be a bit heavy on the bread-to-other-ingredients ratio, but the fact that it can be served warm or at room temperature—for breakfast, brunch, lunch, even a dinner buffet—puts this on my “keep” list.

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Robert McCune

Jan 09, 2007

An outstanding recipe. When I read the recipe for the first time, I was skeptical about the olive ciabatta, but it just added another subtle layer of wonderful flavor. This is well on the way to becoming a family favorite!

Testers Choice
Duane DeMello

Jan 09, 2007

This is an outstanding brunch dish that can also serve well as a light Sunday supper. Tasty, colorful, and simple to make, the flavors were strongly highlighted by the smoked bacon and olives, in particular. The use of ciabatta is also an excellent choice and I found neither puffiness nor much leftover liquid after baking. After first tasting the dish, I thought it might have been worthwhile to have added a finely chopped yellow onion. However, upon further eating, I decided the dish stood very well on its own without any other ingredients.

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