A vegetable frittata is one of the best ways to feed yourself ~ it’s budget friendly, healthy, and can be whipped up with fridge leftovers in a snap.
a vegetable frittata is my fallback meal
What’s your go-to quickie dinner? Mine is almost always eggs, in some form or another. Mostly fried and plopped on top of whatever’s leftover in the fridge. But sometimes, when I happen to have a colorful haul from the produce section, I’ll whip up a vibrant veggie frittata. That way I can enjoy it again for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner the next day. A vegetable frittata is not only delicious, but an important part of my overall strategy to reduce meat consumption.
what is a frittata?
A frittata is a simple Italian baked egg dish ~ sort of a cross between an omelette and a (crustless) quiche. The eggs are combined with meats, vegetables, and cheeses. It’s only partially cooked on the stove, and then finished in the oven for a fluffy, sliceable egg ‘pie’. It’s a healthy and versatile dish that can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and it’s the perfect brunch dish.
what you need for a healthy vegetable frittata
The beauty of a frittata is that you can fill it with whatever is lurking in your fridge. You don’t have to go out and buy pretty tomatoes and peppers. A leftover half zucchini and a few mushrooms will make a great one. Asparagus, goat cheese, and olives is another favorite frittata.
- I treat eggs with the same respect I reserve for more complex animal proteins ~ I buy pasture raised organic eggs to insure a healthy humane product. I always buy large eggs because baking recipes are formulated for large eggs, so it makes things easy.
- bell peppers
- I love cooking with bell peppers at this time of year because the supermarket shelves and farmers markets are an explosion of color peppers. But bell peppers are one of those veggies that are available all year long.
- cherry tomatoes
- read my notes below about adding tomatoes to eggs. I used very small ones and left them whole. If yours are larger, slice them in half and place them cut side up. Chopped tomatoes can add unwanted liquid to a frittata.
- red onion
- fresh herbs
- my garden chives, parsley and basil, I just snip them right into the eggs with kitchen shears.
- Parmesan cheese
- or literally any cheese you want, even soft goat cheese. Keep in mind that sharp or aged cheeses give best flavor.
- salt and pepper
- butter or olive oil
how to make a vegetable frittata
This is one of those simple kitchen skills that will serve you well for a lifetime.
step 1. whisk your eggs
I whisk my eggs with lots of fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese for flavor. A little cold water loosens the eggs and makes them extra fluffy ~ never add milk or cream, which can toughen eggs!
step 2. sauté veggies
I flash sauté my onions and peppers in butter or olive oil, just to take the raw edge off. This preserves their color and crunch.
step 3. add the egg mixture to the pan
Pour the beaten eggs right over the vegetables in the pan. Let the frittata cook over the stove just until the edges start to set. Then I add my cherry tomatoes. Tip: the heat should be moderate, not screaming hot.
step 4. bake
12-15 minutes in a 400F oven is all it takes to set the eggs and puff the frittata. Be careful not to over cook, this doesn’t take long! Tip: think of a fritatta like a pan of brownies and err on the side of under cooking rather than over cooking.
I finally have an oven safe nonstick pan I love
I’ve been searching for the perfect nonstick egg pan for years. I bought and tossed so many. My most recent purchase has been the best yet ~ the Scanpan 10.25 inch fry pan (a Danish company.) I save it for eggs and no one is allowed to use it but me. The nonstick surface is great and it can go in the oven. So far, so good, my frittatas slide right out!
cast iron works for a vegetable frittata too
Cast iron is another good choice if you don’t have a nonstick pan. It conducts heat well and can go into the oven. One caveat: eggs will stick to cast iron if it’s not very well seasoned.
This works great for a brunch crowd.
tips for making veggie frittatas
- Get a good nonstick pan and reserve it just for eggs! This might sound extravagant, but if you love eggs like I do, it makes such a difference. Use only silicone implements and never put it in the dishwasher.
- Add water not cream or milk to your eggs for fluffiest results.
- Don’t over beat your eggs. This will incorporate too much air which can make the texture of your frittata ‘spongey’. Just whisk them enough to break them up.
can you make a frittata on the stove top?
You can but it’s more difficult. You need to flip the frittata so it can cook on both sides. To do this, Place a dinner plate over the top of the pan and flip everything over so the frittata is now on the plate. Then carefully slide it back into the pan to cook on the other side. It’s tricky, but do-able. Bon Appétit has a nice visual tutorial, here.
what to serve with frittatas
For breakfast you can serve it alone or with sausage or bacon.
For lunch or brunch it’s nice to serve a salad alongside. I think my French Potato Salad or Chopped Asparagus Salad would be great in spring/summer. Maybe some crusty focaccia bread in cooler weather.
more eggs for dinner
- Eggs Benedict Quiche with Hollandaise Sauce
- Perfect Egg Tartines
- Baked Eggs Florentine
- Ottolenghi’s Red Pepper and Baked Egg Galettes
- Mushroom Carbonara with Gruyere and Hazelnuts
- Asparagus Goat Cheese and Olive Frittata
- Quiche Lorraine
- Persian Mixed Herb Frittata (Kuku Sabzi)
- a 10" nonstick skillet that can go into the oven, or a cast iron skillet. This is the pan I use.
- 8 large eggs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes, optional
- 3 Tbsp fresh chives, parsley, basil
- 2 Tbsp butter, or olive oil
- 1 cup (heaped) colorful bell peppers chopped
- 1/2 cup (heaped) slivered red onion
- 2 dozen very small cherry tomatoes, or 12 halved cherry tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Whisk the eggs with 3 tablespoons of water until well broken up. Whisk in the cheese, salt, pepper, and chili flakes, if using. Snip in the herbs and set aside.
- Heat the butter or oil in a 10 inch skillet and sauté the onions and peppers for a few minutes, just to soften slightly.
- Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook just until the edges start to set.
- Arrange the cherry tomatoes on top,. Note: if using halved cherry tomatoes, place them cut side up.
- Carefully slide the frittata into the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the frittata is just cooked through but the center is still ever so slightly loose. Remember it will continue to cook out of the oven so judge accordingly. Just like with scrambled eggs, under cooking is better than over cooking.
- Slice and serve warm, or at room temperature.