This magnificent zucchini strata bears all the typical understated elegance found in every creation from Yotam Ottolenghi. The custardy texture is ethereally light, fluffy, and comforting in that way that only happens when you soak bread in milk and finds a lovely contrast in a crisp, golden brown Parmesan crust. Everything else—eggs, cheese, zucchini, basil, bread—is in perfect proportion to one another. Thank you yet again, Ottolenghi.–Angie Zoobkoff

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A white baking dish filled with zucchini strata

Zucchini Strata

4.86 / 7 votes
This zucchini strata with ciabatta and basil is a wonderful brunch, lunch, or light vegetarian dinner.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories419 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Resting Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1 pound store-bought or homemade ciabatta, crusts removed and reserved for bread crumbs, bread torn into small chunks (6 cups)
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium zucchini, coarsely grated, (3 to 4 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • In a medium bowl, combine the ciabatta, milk, and cream and mix well. Cover and wait for the bread to absorb most of the liquid, about 30 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine the garlic, eggs, cumin, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix well and then add the bread and its liquid followed by the zucchini and basil. Stir gently.
  • Place an 8-by-10-inch (20-by-25-cm) baking dish in the oven until hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush with the oil, and pour in the zucchini mixture, smoothing the surface. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the last of the Parmesan evenly on top of the strata and then bake until the strata is golden brown and cooked through (a knife inserted in the center should come out clean), 20 to 25 minutes more. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Adapted From

Ottolenghi Simple

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 419 kcalCarbohydrates: 41 gProtein: 20 gFat: 20 gSaturated Fat: 9 gMonounsaturated Fat: 8 gTrans Fat: 0.02 gCholesterol: 215 mgSodium: 663 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 4 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2018 Yotam Ottolenghi. Photo © 2018 Jonathan Lovekin. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This zucchini strata was delicious! It was extremely easy to assemble and it came together quite fast. My bread soaked up the milk and cream in 10 minutes so I didn’t wait the full 30 minutes as instructed in the recipe. All other instructions were perfect, so follow it exactly and you can’t fail.

I made this a second time and used sourdough instead of ciabatta and half-and-half in place of heavy cream and it was equally delicious! My one recommendation, don’t bother removing the crusts from the bread. It’s unnecessary, the bread soaks up the milk and egg mixture just the same, and the crust add a nice variance in texture.

I would describe this more as a strata than frittata (I’m Italian and frittata never contain bread or that much milk. That being said, this made a lovely vegetarian dinner but could also be served for brunch.

I baked mine in a square stone baker—9 1/2 by 9 1/2 inches—and it was the perfect size.

This zucchini strata recipe came together quite easily and was very light and fluffy. The flavor was very good, even my husband liked it, and he’s not a zucchini fan. The zucchini was not overpowering.

I used a standard 7-by-11-inch baking dish as I did not have an 8-by-10-inch dish and it worked out fine.

The flavor combinations of the zucchini with basil Parmesan, and garlic was both mild and exciting. Each bite both comforted and excited the palate.

Although the flavors were good, my mouth could not get past the texture of the custardy, soggy bread. For those who don’t mind that texture, this zucchini strata is great!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Wow!!! This was amazing! The only problem I had with this was that I had to fight the urge to eat the entire dish.

    1. I’d say that’s a good problem to have, Stacey! I’m delighted that you enjoyed it so much.

    1. Denni, we haven’t tried it with bagels, so we can’t say how it would turn out. The bagels may be a bit too dense to soak up that creamy egg custard.

  2. 5 stars
    It’s zucchini season again, so I was happy to discover this recipe. I made some substitutions, to use what I had on hand. I used up a bunch of caraway-seeded rye boule ends (in varying states of dryness) instead of the ciabatta. I trimmed the crusts off. Instead of regular (pasteurized) milk and cream, I used soured raw milk from a local farm. Instead of parmesan, I used a mix of pecorino romano and gruyere. I didn’t have six eggs, so only used four. It was enough. The combination of cumin and garlic was fantastic. Of course, the results would have been richer with cream and more eggs, but my version was still delicious.

    1. It sounds wonderful, Lilian! I especially like the idea of using the caraway rye in place of the ciabatta. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this with us.