Asparagus Whole Wheat Bread Pudding

A rustic bread pudding made with whole wheat bread and studded with fat spears of asparagus and cheese, then brightened with fresh herbs and lemon zest. Perfect for a Mother's Day brunch menu or a weeknight supper.

Small acts, too, express a mother’s love.

Picture a mom with a baby in a stroller and a boy in hand near the Kirkwood train station. As a train rumbles round the bend, the mother squats, opening up her knee as a stool of perfect height for the four-year old, who hops right on. Picture a mom and daughter skipping hand-in-hand through Laumeier Sculpture Park. Picture front-yard baseball in Glendale, grandpa pitching, kids hitting, mom catching. Picture each, imagining moves as graceful as they are practiced.

Happy Mother’s Day to all who mother in ways small but significant: all those called ‘Mom’ but also grandmoms, aunts, older siblings, teachers, childcare workers, dance teachers, soccer coaches, family friends, 'mothers' in all but name.

ALANNA's TIPS This savory bread pudding recipe thrives on good crust so there’s no reason to slice it off, even with an extra crusty whole wheat baguette from St. Louis Bread Company. If you're inclined to use homemade bread, I recommend this Light 'n' Fluffy Homemade Whole-Grain Bread. For cheese, use anything from an inexpensive supermarket blend to a pricey Grùyere so long as it melts well. This bread pudding can be made ahead in two ways. It can be fully assembled, then baked the next morning. Or the bread, leek-mushroom and egg mixtures can be prepped the day before then combined just before baking. With the first method, the bread pudding is slightly crusty on top, very good. With the second, the bread pudding is more custard-y, also very good. Cook’s choice!
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. In 2009, Kitchen Parade celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special collection of my mother's recipes.


Perfect spring brunch or savory supper
Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time to table: 1-1/2 hours or overnight
Serves 6 as main course, 12 as side dish
  • 1/2 pound good bread, preferably whole wheat, cut into 1-inch pieces (see TIPS)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, white & light green parts only, cut into half-inch half moons
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, caps broken into pieces, stems chopped
  • 1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed, cut in one-inch pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/4 pound cheese, grated (see TIPS)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or basil
  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon (don’t skip this)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Lemon pepper to taste

Set oven to 375F. Arrange bread in single layer on baking sheet, place in oven until lightly toasted.

In a skillet, melt butter on medium heat until frothy. Stir in leeks and mushrooms, cook until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring often.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, then remaining ingredients. (If making ahead of time, see TIPS.) Stir in bread, then leek-mushroom mixture and asparagus. (Will be soupy.) Transfer to a well-greased casserole dish. Bake 45 to 60 minutes; after 15 minutes, gently press bread back into liquid; cover with foil if top becomes too brown before done. Serve while hot or barely warm.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Main-Course Serving: 322Cal; 16g Protein; 18g Tot Fat; 10g Sat Fat; 26g Carb; 5g Fiber; 583mg Sodium; 166mg Cholesterol. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 7, PointsPlus 8

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A Mother's Day Brunch Menu Starring
Asparagus Whole Wheat Bread Pudding

Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice or
Mango Lassis

Asparagus Whole Wheat Bread Pudding
Baked Bacon
Fruity Gazpacho
Sugar-Free Chai Tea

More Mother's Day Recipe Ideas

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
My Mom's Pancakes Winter Fruit Salad Raspberry Morning Cake

Celebrate Asparagus Season!

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

© Copyright 2009 Kitchen Parade

Okay ... that looks so good ...
That looks delicious! I love that you show the nutritional analysis. I wonder what it would be if I substitute artichoke hearts instead of asparagus?
Marilyn ~ Glad to catch your attention. It IS so good!

Grace F ~ Thank you! I think asparagus and artichoke hearts would be a wash. But when in question, you can always check this Weight Watchers points for vegetables at A Veggie Venture.
This was just excellent for Mother's Day, the whole wheat bread is definitely needed.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna