“A box without hinges, key, or lid,
yet golden treasure inside is hid.”
Eggs are pretty amazing. They’re beautiful little nutrition powerhouses, packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals, and with a little ingenuity they can be transformed into an endless variety of dishes. They are a vegetarian and an athlete’s dream! Despite being low in calories (one medium egg only contains around 70 calories), they boast an impressive amount of protein and healthy fats, helping to keep you feeling satiated for longer. Starting your day with some eggs will help prevent you from snacking later on, and will boost your mental performance throughout the day. Evidence also suggests that eggs help regulate your metabolism and, despite containing cholesterol, actually help reduce the absorption of cholesterol in your body. The protein in eggs also helps lower blood pressure.
A few more benefits to eating eggs
Antioxidants – Egg yolks contain several different antioxidants which help prevent cancer and heart disease (lutein and zeaxanthine), and help protect eyes from age-related degeneration (tryptophan and tyrosine).
Vitamin D + Phosphorous – Eggs are one of the few food sources of Vitamin D, which, in combination with phosphorous, contributes to healthy bones and teeth.
Brain Health – Eggs contain choline – good for memory – along with several B-vitamins and mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which are necessary for a healthy nervous system and brain.
The white vs. yolk debate
A lot of people think that eating egg whites alone is the healthier option, but since the majority of the vitamins and minerals are contained within the yolk, doing so greatly reduces their nutritional efficacy. For example, 100% of the Vitamin A, E, D, and K, along with virtually all the iron and zinc, contained in an egg is found in the yolk. An egg is the perfect nutritional package, so enjoy it the way nature intended!
I suppose I should talk about this frittata at some point though, right? It’s good. It started out as one of those dinners where you throw all the leftovers in the fridge together and hope for the best – and quickly became a time-saving staple.
I remember feeling tired, hungry, and decidedly lazy. I was too hungry to go grocery shopping before eating, and too picky to eat something that didn’t contain a respectable serving of veggies. I looked in the fridge and saw only a few cubes of steamed sweet potato, a couple of spears of roasted asparagus, and a useless amount of spiralized zucchini, all seemingly destined for ignominy (or maybe even the garbage if they sat there long enough). There were also some eggs. I tossed everything into a pan, gave it a few stirs, and a star was born. But since multi-hued scrambled eggs don’t translate well in photographs, I thought I would take things up a notch and turn this into a perfectly presentable and eye-catching main dish.
I’ve had this frittata as part of either my lunch or dinner all week and it’s been just great. No need to fuss over the protein part of my meal! I bought the fresh ricotta at a farmer’s market and it’s pretty fantastic, but any salty, crumbly cheese will work just as well. Feel free to add whatever fresh herbs you have on hand as well – if I had been thinking properly, some rosemary would have complemented everything really well.
Sweet Potato Frittata with Asparagus and Salted Ricotta (makes 3 meal-sized portions or 6 side portions)
~ gluten free, vegetarian, soy free, nut free, sugar free ~
- 8 large organic eggs
- 1 tsp organic goat’s (or cow’s) butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 large sweet potato, thinly sliced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 1/2 small zucchini, finely chopped
- 3-6 asparagus spears (depending on how thick), chopped
- a small piece of sheep’s milk or salted ricotta
- sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large cast-iron or other oven-safe pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the garlic, chopped onions, and sweet potato, and saute for about 10 minutes, until the sweet potato is just cooked through. Depending on how full the pan is, you may wish to have the lid on to ensure the potato cooks evenly.
- Once cooked, transfer the potato and onions to a plate, season with sea salt and black pepper, and reserve for later.
- Whisk the eggs in a large bowl and season with sea salt and black pepper.
- Add the chopped asparagus and cook for 2 minutes, adding more oil or a splash of water if necessary.
- Add the zucchini and cook for another few minutes, until both are just cooked through.
- Add this mixture to the whisked eggs, along with half the potato mixture (preferably the less pretty pieces).
- Grease the pan with a touch of extra butter and pour everything back in.
- Top with the remaining potatoes and sprinkle generously with ricotta.
- Bake in the middle rack of the oven for about 13 minutes, until mostly cooked. The top will still be a little runny.
- Turn the oven to broil and cook for another 5 minutes, until the egg is no longer runny and the cheese has browned just slightly.
- Serve with soup or salad for a lovely light lunch, or avocado toast and fruit for breakfast.