Diabetes. Cholesterol. These are the words that send a person to the cupboard searching for what to make that will taste good but not shoot up that glucose, those dreaded triglycerides, or the ever-bad word, cholesterol. Frittata to the rescue. Or to be precise, an egg-white-frittata.
A vegetarian frittata made with all egg whites, provides lots of protein, few calories, not too much saturated fat (depending on cheese quotient), and lots of comforting winter taste. I’ve experimented with this recipe a few times, beginning with including a few egg yolks and too much oil, and ending with no yolks, less oil, and more cheese. And always, I’ve used a base of cherry tomatoes and artichokes for my veggies. Normally, I use three vegetables, but for my latest, most stomach-satisfying incarnation, I used four. This is the recipe I share with you today.
You may notice the lack of salt and pepper. This is because salt raises blood pressure, and there is enough in the cheese to flavour the dish nicely. If, however, you’re used to a lot of salt in your diet, you may find adding no salt bland to your taste buds. As for pepper, my brain injury means my body does a lousy job of regulating body temperature. Anything spicy – and that includes pepper -- makes me way too hot. Try it without pepper, then with, and see which you prefer. The spices and herbs are all about what you like. Feel free too to experiment with the vegetables too. Sometimes, I’ve roasted half a small bag of frozen broccoli florets, straight from the freezer, with the tomatoes and artichokes. If you’re not using mushrooms, then amend the recipe so at the point you heat the pan, add the roasted veggies, stir a moment, add half-a tablespoon canola oil, then the egg whites.
- Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, one small container or dry pint, leave whole
- Artichoke hearts, one can (about 240g net weight without the water), rinsed to get rid of the salt, cut up (I use my hands to pull them apart)
- One onion, medium sized though small will do too, chopped in quarters or eighths, the layers roughly pulled apart
- 1 T olive oil
- 3T balsamic vinegar
- dried oregano, generous sprinkle
- dried parsley, generous sprinkle
- 1T canola oil
- Sliced mushrooms, 227g
- 3T apple cider vinegar
- 8 egg whites
- dried oregano, dash
- dried parsley, dash
- 9 dashes turmeric
- dried garlic (you could roast a garlic bulb and omit this in the eggs)
- 6og part skim-milk mozzarella
- 12g grated parmesan
Dump the cherry tomatoes, artichokes, and onion on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Sprinkle over the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and herbs. Mix with your hands until all the veggies are coated with the oil and vinegar. Pop into a 425F oven. Roast for 25-30 minutes until they start to look caramelized, maybe with a few edges burnt, no more than that. You can do this ahead of time, even the day before, in which case set aside in the fridge covered until ready to use.
When the veggies are close to done, in a bowl beat the egg whites with the herbs and spices until slightly frothy and the whites have loosened. Set aside.
Put a large oven-proof pan over medium-high heat on the stove. Add one-half tablespoon of the canola oil. When the oil wrinkles but is not smoking yet, toss in all the mushrooms. Spread over the pan evenly and let sit for a couple of minutes or 5 until the bottom ones are browned. Pour in the apple cider vinegar. You could use another vinegar or balsamic again if you prefer, something that will go well with the taste of which veggies you’re using. Do not use wine. Too many calories; too much sugar. Cook until all the vinegar has evaporated and the mushrooms have started sticking to the pan a little bit. Add the roasted veggies. Stir. Their juices will dissolve the brown bits stuck to the pan. Turn down the heat to low. Add the rest of the canola oil and stir.
Spread the veggies evenly over the pan.
Beat the egg whites again for a few seconds then pour over the veggies in a circular fashion to ensure they’re all covered. You may need to shift the veggies with a spoon to get the whites to every edge of the pan. If the mozzarella is not shredded, cut it into small bits so you can spread it evenly over the top of the eggs. Lastly, sprinkle the parmesan evenly over the entire dish, right to the edges.
Put into the oven. Bake at 424F for 15-18 minutes until set. Turn the broiler onto high (unless your top rack is very close, in which case, set it to low). Broil for about 2-3 minutes. Open the oven door and check. If not yet browned, turn the pan, and broil for another minute. It will puff up a bit and brown evenly. If any veggies are sticking up, they will char, which is yummy.
Cut into four wedges.
The nice thing about a frittata is that if you don’t finish it, it refrigerates nicely, covered with plastic wrap or in a sealed container. You can then eat it cold or warm it up in the microwave. It’s good by itself, or you can serve it with a salad, steamed veggies, or a dollop of fat-free yogurt.
My diet app calculated the nutrition per serving as 226 calories; 2.8g saturated fat; 10.2g fat; 18.9g carbohydrates; 5.8g fibre; and 17.3g protein.