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The holiday season can keep us busy with endless shopping and cooking in the kitchen. Try this easy recipe for a healthy winter vegetable frittata with heart healthy salmon, Delicata squash, and kale!
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love having breakfast for dinner! Whether it be omelettes or Huevos Rancheros, these meals are not only convenient they are also packed with protein. Not to mention also very versatile. This vegetable frittata includes salmon, squash, and kale, but feel free to modify it as you like. If you are vegetarian, try substituting mushrooms, tofu, or beans for the salmon. Or if the whole “kale” trend is completely annoying to you, use spinach to get the same good sources of magnesium and B vitamins.
The truth about eggs…
Aren’t eggs bad for you? I get asked that by my clients/patients all of the time. Years ago egg yolks were the bad guys because they were accused of raising your cholesterol. Consumers were limited to 300mg cholesterol per day. In the new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, cholesterol limitations are no longer limited or mentioned. When this came out, commercials were exploding with promotions for bacon on pretty much everything! Bacon-flavored donuts anyone?
With this new update in guidelines, moderation is still key. The “incredible edible egg” is no lie. Just one large egg is packed with 6g protein and includes lots of B-vitamins, like Biotin and B12. However, just because it is good for us does not mean we can overindulge. It is still recommended that we aim for saturated fat intakes to be 10% or less of our daily calories. This includes emphasis on vegetable oils in place of solid fats like butter.
Put an egg on it!
As we mentioned, eggs are an excellent (and affordable) source of protein and vitamins. There are many forms of eggs besides the common (and delicious) scramble. You can serve it hard boiled, fried, and poached too. Mix it in stir fries, soups, casseroles, or salads and you have a complete meal for Meatless Monday (or any day of the week!).
Eggs in the form of a frittata were always a mystery to me because of the “baking” method. Again, I tended to shy away with most baking recipes before my cooking adventures. However, on the contrary, this dish couldn’t be simpler!
Cooking this vegetable frittata requires two steps. First, you want to sauté your toppings (protein and vegetables) in an oven-safe pan. Second, simply pour your egg mixture over your toppings prior to placing in the oven. Most recipes call for a cast iron skillet. This pan allows you to cook your vegetables on the stove top and then magically cook further in the oven. I recently purchased a cast iron skillet for these versatile reasons; I am quite obsessed with it. The best part? They are affordable! I got my cast iron skillet for under $50 on Amazon (see below).
No cast iron skillet at home? No problem! You can cook your veggies in a saute pan then transfer to a baking dish, for example, a greased pie or brownie pan dish. Just as you would with a cast iron skillet, slowly pour the egg mixture on top and place in the oven. Voila!
It’s in the mix!
There is more to a frittata than just eggs and cheese. The perfect ratio of eggs, milk, and cheese make the frittata texture and taste. As mentioned in Bon Appetit, for every dozen eggs, you will need a half cup of milk (full fat preferred) and one cup of cheese. A frittata this large would be more practical for hosting a brunch for a large group, but for most of us just wanting 4-6 servings, I would cut this ratio down to six eggs, quarter cup of milk, and half cup of cheese.
In addition to six eggs, I also added 1-2 tablespoons of flax seed meal to add more texture. This is completely optional, and if you prefer flaxseed for grittier texture, but do not have it try wheat flour.
I hope you enjoy this protein-packed vegetable frittata for the busy holiday season! As we are surrounded by delicious holiday dishes, keep focusing on balanced and nutritious meals to get your healthy self through the wintry season!
If you want to cut down on the egg content, feel free to replace some of the eggs with flaxseed meal; one flax egg is 1 tablespoon flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water. If salmon is not your thing, substitute with mushrooms to make it vegetarian friendly.
- 6 large eggs (if want less eggs use flax eggs for replacement)
- 1/2 cup part skim shredded mozzarella or Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup skim or low fat milk (can use dairy alternative)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small delicata squash, peeled, deseeded, and cubed
- 8oz uncooked salmon fillet (I used two 4oz salmon fillets), cubed
- 1-2 scallions, chopped
- 2 cups raw kale, stems removed and chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons (or a sprinkle) of fresh thyme leaves
- Pepper and/or garlic powder to taste (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prior to cooking, whisk the egg mixture including the eggs, cheese, milk and seasoning. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a cast iron (oven safe) skillet on medium heat. Saute squash and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the salmon and cook until thoroughly done, about 5-7 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and fresh thyme, cook until the kale is wilted about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Pour in the egg mixture over the cooked salmon and vegetables in the skillet. Place in the oven (middle rack) and cook for 20-30 minutes until the middle is cooked through.
Kathryn Pfeffer-Scanlan MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and recent transplant to Boulder, CO. After working as an inpatient dietitian for almost five years in Boston, she is expanding her expertise in the health and wellness industry. Katie is passionate about cooking and food photography, sharing her culinary adventures on her food blog, One Hungry Bunny, and exploring her new Rocky Mountain surroundings. Follow Katie on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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Those silly chia pets ranging from Looney Tunes characters to U.S. presidents were onto something. Chia seeds are well loved by most health enthusiasts for its role as a superfood. They are loaded with omega-3 fats (such as alpha-linolenic acid, ALA) and fiber which can promote satiety and benefit heart health, but also pack in a little protein (four grams for one ounce serving) and antioxidants.
Omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA, DHA, and ALA are truly essential, not only because of their reported health benefits, but really because our body cannot make them. EPA and DHA are the “marine” omega-3’s as we get most of them from fatty fish and plankton that fish feed on. ALA is converted to EPA and DHA to function as a health benefit; you can find ALA in flaxseed, nuts, and yes, chia. While we see omega fats (omega-3 and omega-6) promoted in food stores, one thing to keep in mind is the actual ratio of these fatty acids we consume (the reported benefit is a ratio of 1:1).
In the typical american diet, we are consuming too much omega-6, found in canola and corn oil, and too little omega-3 which may attribute to inflammation or cardiovascular risk, however there is not enough strong evidence in research literature yet to make this claim. Omega-3 supplementation of EPA and DHA has been recommended by many health professionals since many lack the fish consumption in our diet and there is question of ALA conversion to these fats being limited in the body.
One important factor to consider while making chia pudding is the chia seed-to-liquid ratio. One of my favorite blogs, Minimalist Baker, recommended 1/3 cup chia seeds for every 1 1/2 cups liquid, and while on their site I also came across a beautiful chocolate chia pudding treat.
I divided this recipe into four serving sizes. Chia seeds can pack up to 60 calories or more per tablespoon, so I would suggest to keep the pudding size in moderation. The smaller serving is still very filling with the fiber and protein in the chia, and the thick consistency created as the seeds absorbed the liquid. For breakfast, I added in the nut or seed butter and fresh fruit (can try with frozen fruits too).
This recipe was fun to make and could not have been easier; if I could do it my first time trying, so can you!
Crave: Tapioca pudding Behave: Chia pudding
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk (may substitute with other milk versions)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon nut or seed butter, optional
- 1/4 cup each of raspberries and peaches (or other fruit of your choice), optional
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweeted coconut, optional
- Simply mix the chia seeds and milk thoroughly in a mixing bowl.
- Add in the vanilla extract and maple syrup.
- Transfer the mixture into an airtight container and cover. Place the container in the refrigerator and keep for at least three hours, or until thickened to the consistency of your liking.
- Once it is pudding ready, add in the toppings of your choice.