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Breakfast strata or egg casserole without cheese?

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I will be responsible for breakfast for 10 people, half of whom are lactose intolerant. I would like to make some kind of egg strata or casserole type of dish so that I can put it together the night before and bake the morning of. I can use lactose-free milk for the milk portion. But, every recipe contains cheese! Cheese is really an issue for some of the folks. I've looked all over the web for a recipe that doesn't contain cheese, and I found one - only one; it was smoked salmon based, and that won't work as the next morning's breakfast will be bagels with smoked salmon.

There must be a reason why all the recipes contain cheese (other than taste, of course). Do I really need to add cheese? Is there a good substitute for a cheddar-type of cheese? Or do you know of any egg casseroles / stratas / frittata recipes which don't contain cheese? Thanks!

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  1. there r some great tasting soy cheeses out there. They melt well too.Do taste first.

    stay away from any rice cheese that you find, I learned...just a tad unpleasent.

    1. Maybe something more like a baked french toast or savory bread pudding would work. The cheese (if any is called for) would be easily left out of those.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sarahjay

        I agree with SJ's suggestions but would go sweet rather than savory for the bread pudding as many of the savory ones depend on cheese as well.

      2. Search for bread pudding, which is essentially the same as a strata sans cheese. That's why you're not finding it. Cheese in strata helps reinforce its structure, which allows for layered ingredients like breakfast meats and vegetables. Bread puddings tend to be less structured.

        1. When you look at the nutrition label on the cheese package, specifically look at the number next to the "sugars" or "carbohydrates" information. If it says "0 grams," then the cheese should be lactose free. Since lactose is a sugar, if there is no sugar in the cheese, there is no lactose. I have family members who are extremely lactose intolerant and have been able to eat cheddar, mozzarella, swiss, and many other kinds of cheeses with no symptoms at all. The naturally lactose free cheeses tend to be more from the "hard" cheese family. Very occasionally, you might find a feta that has zero sugars.

          As long as we are vigilant about reading labels and avoiding the cheeses that have sugar in them, the lactose intolerant members of our family have been able to avoid all kinds of cheesy dishes.

          1. I often make frittatas without cheese. I usually increase the amount of spices and fresh herbs, and I make sure the other ingredients are flavourful (Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, herbs, spices, etc.).

            I often make a Herbes de Provence, roasted tomato, zucchini, mushroom & roasted potato frittata during the late summer. Another idea would be a Mexican-style frittata, using chorizo, peppers, onions, omitting any dairy, and serving with salsa and guacamole.

            Spanish tortilla (egg & potato is the standard, but there are variations) is another egg dish that doesn't contain cheese, that's a good breakfast dish. Can be served at room temp or hot. http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

            Persian Zucchini Frittata without dairy

            http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

            Would be easy to omit the cheese in this frittata:

            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

            This baked eggs dish has no dairy: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ba...

            Also, at epicurious, using advanced recipe search http://www.epicurious.com/recipesmenu... , it's possible to customize your search to exclude dairy.

            1. "There must be a reason why all the recipes contain cheese (other than taste, of course)."

              I don't see why there has to be another reason. As others have noted, bread puddings don't have cheese (except some Mexican versions). Spanish tortillas don't usually have cheese (potato and onion are the best known filling).

              1. Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts. I went ahead and made a mushroom, spinach and roasted red pepper strata without cheese, and it came out just fine. I'm sure it would have been better without cheese, but the lactose-intolerant folks appreciated the fact that I left it out. :-)

                3 Replies
                1. re: goodeatsgal

                  Goodeatsgal--what was the recipe you used? My mother-in-law is kosher and lactose intolerant, and your recipe sounded good for breakfast. Thanks!

                  1. re: stillnotdon

                    Hi, stillnotdon - sorry for the late reply. I didn't work off a specific recipe. I sauteed mushrooms, put them aside and sauteed/wilted the spinach, and cut up the roasted red peppers. All of that got mixed in with a dozen eggs, plus some salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a little bit of milk for fluffiness. I poured it into a rectangular dish and baked until done (I don't recall how long - maybe 30-40 minutes?). Hope that helps!

                    1. re: goodeatsgal

                      Thanks, that sounds good--and definitely a recipe i can handle!

                2. I always use goat cheese for my lactose intolerant friends. I was under the impression that lactose was only from cows so sheeps milk & goat's milk cheeses are ok. At least they are for them.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: sparkareno

                    I was under the impression that lactose was only from cows
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    nope. goat's milk & sheep milk contain lactose as well, and the percentage is similar to that of cow's milk. but milk from goats & sheep is more easily digested and assimilated (and also less allergenic and acidic) than cow's milk.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      As a lactose intolerant gal, I can testify to this.

                      Both goat and ships milk cheese are WAY more easily digested for me. And many folks I know with the same issue : )

                      Otherwise, if I'm making stuff with cheese, along with salt and pepper, I calmly offer guests Lactase pills. It's just life! ; )

                  2. I know you already made something but for other folks who are looking tortilla de patatas has no cheese and makes a lovely breakfast.

                    1. I know you already made your dish, but for others in the future...

                      I do a baked frittata with caramelized onions, roasted garlic, mushrooms, broccoli (or spinach), minced sundried tomatoes, salt, pepper, a little mustard powder and almond milk. Sometimes some fresh herbs. No cheese needed with the nice flavors from from onions, garlic, mushrooms and sundrieds. You can add some nutritional yeast if you want a parmesan-y flavor in there.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Emme

                        Thanks for this idea, especially the nutritional yeast which I've never used. Since this is for my husband's family and we try to rent a house together every year, I know this issue will come up again. :-)