In the midst of a holiday season studded with rich foods, it can be a relief to have a simple meal. A frittata, an Italian-style omelet, is a good choice for a light main course at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
A frittata is an open-faced Italian omelet in which the ingredients are mixed with the eggs rather than being folded inside, as in a French omelet.
And, unlike French omelets, a frittata is firm and set rather than runny. French omelets are made individually - quickly, over high heat.
A frittata is cooked slowly over low heat and, with a large enough pan, one frittata, as with one pizza, can feed a crowd.
Eggs are not prohibited in a healthful diet, and they are an inexpensive source of protein and other nutrients. Yes, they are high in cholesterol. But, depending on your cholesterol levels, and what else you eat the rest of the day, a few eggs a week can be a regular part of a healthful diet for most individuals.
For example, limiting meat, poultry and seafood portions and avoiding high-fat dairy products all day earns you an egg. Eggs are not associated with any increase in cancer risk, and they are a good source of protein and other nutrients - it's only the cholesterol content that is of concern.
A substantial amount of research suggests that in many people, blood cholesterol is affected much less by cholesterol in food than by the amount of saturated fat, which is usually high in the sausage, bacon and cheese typically eaten with eggs.
If your cholesterol level is healthy and you want to increase your consumption of eggs, have your cholesterol checked after a few months to make sure it's still at a healthy level.
Use phytochemical-rich spinach, leeks and chives to add extra flavor and color as well as health benefits to the frittata. High consumption of vegetables in the onion-garlic family has been linked with almost 50 percent lower risk of prostate cancer.
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Studies have shown that leeks, garlic, onions, chives and scallions contain substances that block cancer-promoting enzymes and promote DNA repair. Spinach contains several types of phytochemicals that fight heart disease, infections and eye diseases as well as cancer.
Frittata with Spinach and Leeks
Makes 4 servings.
- 4 eggs
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2-1 Tbsp. canola oil
- 2-3 cloves (or to taste), minced
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- 1 large leek (tough outer leaves removed), thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp. fresh chives, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg whites and set aside. Carefully spread canola oil over entire surface of a nonstick skillet and heat pan on medium until hot. Add garlic, spinach and leeks and gently saute until tender and soft, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the eggs over sauteed vegetables. Sprinkle with chives. Lower heat to low-medium and cook until eggs are set and underside is browned. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- With a knife, cut frittata into four pieces. Gently transfer frittata, one serving at a time, to plates, flipping so that browned side faces up. Serve hot.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
7 g. total fat (2 g. saturated fat),
6 g. carbohydrate,
11 g. protein,
less than 1 g. dietary fiber,
156 mg. sodium