Thursday, July 5, 2012

Basics : Frittata

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Another great way to take advantage of money-saving eggs is to make Frittatas a basic staple in your everyday cooking.  This is also a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, especially at breakfast when this is usually a challenge.  Eating a slice of Frittata - hot or cold - with that cup of coffee or tea will give you both a good serving of protein and a good serving of vegetables, making this an ideal breakfast choice.

The same goes for lunch.  If you can't face having just a big cold salad, having a slice of warm Frittata with a small salad on the side might be a more appealing option and will still give you all the protein and vegetables you need to keep you healthy.

A Frittata is something between an omelette and a crustless quiche.  All of these incorporate protein and vegetables into the egg mixture, but an omelette tends to be more egg with just a bit of protein and vegetables. A quiche usually uses a cream and cheese base and therefore is heavier on the dairy, but a Frittata just uses eggs as the base and often you don't even taste the eggs because of all the other protein and vegetables. So if you don't particularly like the taste of eggs this might be the option for you.

It is usually baked in the oven and then cut into wedges and eaten either hot or cold.  It can also be cooked on top of the stove in a skillet, and some recipes will call for that method.

You can also make individual Frittatas in small quiche pans, custard cups, or even muffin tins.  I often use this method because I find them easier to freeze this way.

Even though Frittatas are often associated with Italy, they are also a part of many other cuisines.  I lived in Spain for a period of time and ate many delicious ones while I was there.

I will give you a few examples to try, but don't be afraid to try your own combinations.  You can put pretty much any meat, poultry or fish into a Frittata along with any vegetable so it's a great way to use up the last of your leftovers.

Basic Frittata Recipe
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients :

-  8 eggs
-  seasoning to taste - salt, pepper, herbs
-  2 to 4 cups of chopped protein (chicken, meat, fish)
-  2 to 4 cups of chopped vegetables

Directions :

-  Preheat oven to 350'F
-  Lightly grease 2 - 9 inch pie plates (or 8 individual cups/large muffin tins)
-  Whisk the eggs with your seasonings in a large bowl.
-  Distribute the chopped protein and vegetables evenly among the pie plates.
-  Pour the egg mixture into the pie plates, making sure the protein and vegetables stay evenly distributed.
-  Bake in the centre of the oven until the Frittata is golden around the edges and firm when jiggled - about 35 to 40 minutes. If using individual containers, start watching after 15 minutes. I have found that usually  about 20 minutes is right, depending on the size of your tins.  You don't want them to get overcooked because then they will be rubbery.

My basic recipe will make 2 Frittatas, each with 4 servings.  The best way to bake them is in a couple of Pyrex glass pie plates.  Both will fit together in most ovens and give you extra servings for another meal, or several meals. Pyrex Grip-Rite 9 1/2 Inch Pie Plate, Clear
You can also make these in non stick pie plates as well. OvenStuff Non-Stick 9 Inch Pie Pan Two Piece Set
Another method is to use a large baking dish and to cut the Frittata into squares, which can sometimes make it easier for freezing without taking up a lot of room. Pyrex Bakeware 4.8 Quart Oblong Baking Dish, Clear
If you want to make individual Frittatas, you can use muffin tins or custard cups.
Baker's Secret Basics Nonstick 12-Cup Muffin Pan
Pyrex Bakeware 6-Ounce Clear Custard Cups, Set of 4

(will freeze)

Ham and Cheese Frittata

Ingredients :

-  8 eggs
-  1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
-  1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
-  2 cups diced ham
-  3 plum tomato, diced
-  1 yellow pepper, diced
-  2 large green onions, thinly sliced

Spinach and Bacon Frittata

Ingredients :

-  8 eggs
-  1 cup chopped onion
-  3 cups spinach leaves
-  1 cup shredded swiss cheese
-  1 cup chopped cooked bacon

Fry the onion and spinach in a little butter before adding to your eggs.

Pizza Frittata 
If you miss pizza now that you've give up grains, you've got to try this.  It's fabulous ..... and a great way to have pizza for breakfast!

Ingredients :

-  8 eggs
-  1 tablespoon pizza seasoning
-  crushed hot peppers to taste (optional)
-  2 cups chopped or sliced tomato
-  1 cup chopped onion
-  1 cup chopped green (or any other colour) pepper
-  1 cup sliced pepperoni
-  2 cups sliced mushrooms
-  a few sliced olives to taste (optional)
-  1 cup shredded or sliced mozarella cheese
-  1/4 cup grated parmesan (use to top the Frittata just before putting into the oven)

Fry the onion in a little olive oil until starting to brown, then add the mushrooms and keep cooking until they are soft.

Shrimp and Asparagus Frittata

Ingredients :

-  8 eggs
-  1 cup grated swiss cheese
-  2 cups cooked chopped shrimp
-  1 bunch of asparagus spears (can be used uncooked)
-  1/2 cup chopped onion (any kind)

Artichoke Frittata

Ingredients :

-  8 eggs
-  1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley)
-  4 cups of canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
-  1 cup grated parmesan
-  1 large onion, chopped and fried in a little butter

This gives a great artichoke flavour which I love, but if you find it a bit strong, just use a couple of cups of artichokes and add some chopped red or yellow pepper and/or more onion.

Salmon Frittata

Ingredients :

-  8 eggs
-  1 can of salmon (or about 8 ounces cooked)
-  1/2 cup chopped dill
-  1/2 cup sour cream
-  1 cup chopped red onion
-  juice of one lemon

Mix the eggs with the dill, sour cream and lemon juice.  You can also add vegetables to this like asparagus and  spinach.

Zucchini Ricotta Frittata

Ingredients :

-  8 eggs
-  3/4 cup Ricotta
-  1/2 cup grated parmesan
-  1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
-  1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
-  1/4 cup olive oil
-  2 small zucchini, sliced

Saute the zucchini in the olive oil with the herbs until just starting to brown.  Put into baking dishes and cover with egg and cheese mixture.

Chicken and Broccoli Frittata

Ingredients :

-  8 eggs
-  1 cup chopped cooked chicken
-  2 cups chopped broccoli (doesn't have to be cooked but can be)
-  1/2 cup heavy cream
-  1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
-  salt and pepper

Spinach Frittata

Ingredients :

-  2 cups baby spinach
-  1 medium onion, chopped
-  1 teaspoon chopped garlic
-  8 eggs
-  2 tablespoons heavy cream
-  1/3 cup grated parmesan
-  2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
-  3 oz. goat cheese

Saute onion in a little olive oil until starting to brown.  Add spinach and cook until just wilted.  Mix in garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste and divide in pans.  Whisk together eggs cream and parmesan and pour over.  Top with goat cheese.

Bacon and Beef Frittata

Finally here is a Frittata from .  Mine is a simpler version but still very, very filling and a great way to stretch a pound of grass-fed beef.

Ingredients :

-  8 eggs
-  1 lb. grass-fed beef, browned
-  1/2 lb. (or more if you like) bacon, chopped and cooked
-  1 large onion, chopped and fried in the bacon grease
-  2 cups of sliced mushrooms
-  2 cups of chopped kale.  Saute with the onion.

I have also made this with 1 cup each of cooked carrots and frozen peas instead of the kale.  Tastes sort of like beef stew.


Along with the basic recipe, I've just given you 10 - count them 10! - versions that you can try, and I've really just scratched the surface of the many, many variations available.  They really are limitless. You could, if you really wanted to have a great money-saving week, eat a different Frittata every day for dinner and never get bored.

Whatever you put into it, whatever meal you decide to eat it, and whatever shape or size you make it, a Frittata will always be a great, healthy, and inexpensive meal option.  Since it keeps in the fridge for up to a week and also freezes so well, making lots to have on hand is a great way to always have a Paleo Primal meal available any time you want one.

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  1. beautiful photos for interesting recipes. thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Hi, I'm a beginner(Aussie), what would a can of the salmon be in mg's please- looks lovely!

    1. I'm not sure what system of measurement you use, but I looked up conversions to mg's and found this site. ( You might find it useful for converting any other North American recipes. When I input 8 oz. it comes up as 8oz= 226796.18mg. Seems like a lot, but hopefully this makes sense to you.

      This might be more useful. Just as a general guide, when I am making something like an omelette or a frittata that has a protein base already of eggs, I usually add approximately half a cup of whatever extra protein I am adding per person. So if you were making the salmon frittata above which serves 4 people, you would use approximately 2 cups of cooked salmon. You don't really have to be exact. If your cans are a bit smaller or bigger it will still work.

      Since you are a beginner, let me just say that if you are using canned salmon, you need to make sure you drain the liquid and remove any bones before using.

  3. Great recipe! I'm sending traffic your way via my blog: Keep up the good work.


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