Try This Spring Vegetable Savory Bread Pudding

With all the bounty that spring gardens bring, include a savory spring vegetable bread pudding to your menu.

What is the difference between stuffing, bread pudding, strata and panade? They are all in the same genre of recipes because the main ingredient is bread. The differences are in the ratio of liquid to eggs.

Stuffing is the driest with panade being the moistest. Strata and bread puddings use milk or cream instead of broth like stuffing and panade. Almost all are savory with the exception of bread pudding, which half the time is sweet. The choice of bread can add a whole new dimension of flavor to this dish.

La Churreria Bakery & Deli makes Pan Colombiano bread that is perfect for this dish. It is egg bread that can hold its own with the weight of liquids and not lose its flavor. With spinach, leeks, asparagus, spring onions, Swiss chard, arugula, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, and parsley in season, this savory side dish is ideal for dinner. Pick any combination of these ingredients to customize a savory bread pudding that suits your family’s taste.

—What new recipes have you tried lately? Tell us in comments below.

In this recipe, I used spinach, asparagus, leeks, parsley, chives and thyme. Deliciously savory!

Spring Vegetable Bread Pudding

3 large leeks, light green and white part only, sliced 1/2” thick

1 lb. asparagus, sliced 1” pieces

Kosher salt

2 Tablespoons of butter

2 Tablespoons of water

10 cups of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

12 cups or 1 loaf of Pan Colombiano bread cut into 1” inch cubes

3 Tablespoons of parsley, finely chopped

2 Tablespoons of chives, finely chopped

2 Tablespoons of thyme leaves

3 large eggs

3 cups of whole milk

1 cup of heavy cream

Freshly grated nutmeg

2.5 cups of Gruyere cheese or nutty creamy cheese of your choice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wash leeks thoroughly to remove all dirt between layers. Heat butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add leeks and salt, stir often for about 5 minutes then turn down heat to low. When leeks release their liquid at about 15 minutes add the water and the asparagus and sauté for 10 minutes or until water has almost evaporated and the asparagus are tender. Season with pepper to taste.

Meanwhile toast the bread cubes until dry and pale gold in the oven. Do not turn off oven.

In an extra large bowl (I used a Tupperware cake saver top) mix the bread with the leek mix then add the parsley, chives and thyme mix well. Add the spinach and toss together.

In another large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs then add the milk, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese on the bottom of a 9 x13 inch glass baking dish. Do not greased the baking dish - the oil from the cheese will prevent sticking. Spread half of the leek and crouton mixture over the cheese. Sprinkle ½ of the remaining cheese on top then add the rest of the leek and crouton mixture. Mound the mixture in the center as best as you can. Keep in mind that the spinach will shrink to about ¼ of its size while baking. Top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with salt. Pour the egg mixture over the top and let it soak for about 15 minutes. Bake for 1.5 hours or until pudding is set and top is brown and bubbling.

Serves 14-16


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