Why Meatless Mondays?…
Lots of reasons but health-wise I know we should eat more plant-based meals not only for our health but for the environment…I have decided to do it in stages as to me it should be a permanent commitment and I wish to find some tasty dishes which are equal in taste to what I normally cook for my family.
Introducing more plant-based meals into your diet can help you maintain a healthy weight if you have some weight to lose then adding more plant-based meals has the benefit of removing foods from your diet which cause weight gain.
Plants are high in fibre…this means by introducing more plant-based recipes to your diet that the health of your gut improves so you are better able to absorb the nutrients from your food… you will be eating foods that support your immune system and reduce inflammation.
Fibre can lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar and it’s great for good bowel management…
This week I am going to showcase plant-based/meat-free recipes we love at home…I have tried tofu, cooking lentils not yet tried Quorn or Nutritional Yeast but lentils I have had a few tips thank you… I know I need to use lentils (as) I like them just its different lentils for different things and it’s blowing my mind a little…the same with all the different tofu’s and I do really want to try Paneer…but baby steps I can’t do it all at once it needs to be gradual and I don’t want my family to get weary of too many experimental dishes…
This frittata has green beans, broccoli and asparagus and of course cheese…
Frittata...isn’t that an omelette I was asked…my answer was no it’s like a quiche with no pastry…A frittata is cooked slowly over low heat while an omelette is cooked quickly over higher heat. Whereas omelettes are served hot straight from the stove, frittatas are often served at room temperature, making them perfect to make ahead for brunches or buffets…
I always think a frittata is a great way to use up the odds and ends in your fridge…a couple of mushrooms, half a pepper, a handful of spinach…it cuts the waste and the calories as no pastry like quiche and they are tasty…
They can be served with salad, with some lovely steamed veggies, a jacket/baked potato, rosemary and garlic potatoes, slaws, in so many different ways…
Some flavour combinations:
- Spinach, artichoke and feta cheese.
- Broccoli, cheddar and green onion.
- Cremini mushrooms, arugula and goat cheese.
- Cherry tomatoes, zucchini, mozzarella and basil.
- Yellow onion, carrot, bell pepper, goat cheese and chives.
- Asparagus and new potatoes.
- Masala paste, cherry tomatoes and coriander
- Green vegetable frittata pictured above.
As there is NO pastry...I go for heavy cream, half-and-half and whole milk. Sour cream, crème fraîche and yoghurt will work as well…semi-skimmed or skimmed milk is too watery for a good frittata.
Pre-cooked your veggies or use leftover veggies from the day before as adding them fresh releases too much water and generally won’t be fully cooked by the time the eggs are…
Potatoes can be cooked ones from the day before and ideal way to use them up or cut and slice a potato and pre-cook until just done I also crisp my potatoes in the oven a little before adding the eggs…
Cheese is also a great idea...cheddar and parmesan or a soft goats cheese or salty feta all good choices…You can stir up to one cup of grated or crumbled cheese directly into the egg mixture, or reserve some for topping the frittata.
Don’t overcook the frittata just remember eggs carry on cooking once removed from the heat or the oven…
Bake until the edges puff up a little and the middle is just a little jiggly…
What to cook your frittata in…use a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or an oven-safe, non-stick skillet if you are cooking on the stovetop…I sometimes start mine on the stove and then pop in the oven.
Oven baking then use a well-oiled baking dish or muffin tin think breakfast frittatas…but always well oil to be sure…
I will give you a basic frittata recipe which can be halved depending on how many you are serving…or you may be freezing some for another day…
If freezing, place frittata pieces on a cookie sheet in the freezer until frozen. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer until ready to eat. To reheat, place frozen frittata pieces on a cookie sheet and bake in a 275 degrees F preheated oven (135 degrees C) for 20 minutes.
Basic Frittata Recipe…
- 12 eggs, whisked just until the egg yolks and whites are blended nicely.
- 3 tbsp full-fat dairy of your choice I generally just use whole milk.
- 3 cups cooked and seasoned vegetables.
- 1 cup grated or crumbled cheese.
- 1/2 tsp salt.
- Freshly grated black pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 425F/218C for the traditional stovetop method, or 350F/177C for the baked methods (casserole or mini/muffins).
Crack the eggs into a medium mixing bowl. Add your dairy of choice and the salt and pepper. Whisk just until the egg yolks and whites are combined then whisk in all or half of the cheese (you can reserve the other half for topping the frittata before baking if desired). Set the mixture aside.
In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet (or any other large skillet that’s oven-safe), warm the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the vegetables, starting with chopped onions or other dense vegetables. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, then add any softer vegetables such as zucchini. Cook until those vegetables are tender, then add any garlic or greens, and cook until fragrant or wilted. Season with salt and pepper, to taste…if you are halving the recipe then use a 9″ skillet or pan.
Traditional stovetop option: Whisk the eggs once more and pour the mixture over the vegetables. Stir with a spatula briefly to combine and distribute the mixture evenly across the pan. If you reserved any cheese, sprinkle it on top of the frittata.
Once the outside edge of the frittata turns lighter in colour (about 30 seconds to 1 minute), carefully transfer the frittata to the oven. Bake for 7 to 14 minutes (keep an eye on it), until the eggs are puffed and appear cooked, and the centre of the frittata jiggles just a bit when you give it a gentle shake.
Remove the frittata from the oven and place it on a cooling rack to cool. Garnish with herbs, slice with a sharp knife, and serve.
I prefer the stovetop and then into the oven…but if you want a meal which requires less watching then the oven version is just as good ideal for a larger frittata or the smaller breakfast muffins.
Let the cooked vegetables cool for a few minutes. In the meantime, grease a 9 by 13-inch pan with butter. Stir the lightly cooled veggies into the egg mixture, then pour it all into the pan. If you reserved any cheese, sprinkle it on top of the frittata.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (keep an eye on it), until the eggs are puffed and appear cooked, and the centre of the frittata jiggles just a bit when you give it a gentle shake. Remove the frittata from the oven and place it on a cooling rack to cool. Garnish with herbs, slice with a sharp knife, and serve.
Baked mini frittata option: Let the cooked vegetables cool for a few minutes, then stir them into the egg mixture. Grease 18 muffin cups (I used two muffin pans for this), then fill the cups evenly with a scant ⅓ cup of the mixture. If you reserved any cheese, sprinkle it on top of the frittatas now.
Bake for 13 to 17 minutes, until the eggs, are puffed and appear cooked, and the centre of the frittatas jiggle just a bit when you give the pan a gentle shake keep an eye on them as being smaller they cook much quicker… 6 hole muffin pans finish even sooner. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on a cooling rack to cool. Garnish with herbs, and serve.
Healthy eating and introducing more meat-free plant-based meals are a commitment…a commitment we make to ourselves to enjoy our food and eat as healthy as we can ….MOST of the time…
I have decided I will have a lentil corner and a tofu corner and maybe even a Quorn or nutritional yeast corner…Why?
Well, my lovely readers are giving me tips and as some of these ingredients are newish and I am not fully up to speed with them it helps me and hopefully, it will help some of you as we are all in this together…I am so grateful for any tips which will make cooking and eating of new ingredients more enjoyable…xx Cooking and eating should be fun …Right?
Dolly’s Tip!... When I cooked lentils before Instant Pot revolution, I soaked them overnight, rinsed them, and then used 1/3 ratio. Yes, they do cook slowly and need occasional stirring. Lentil soup also has a tendency to thicken while cooling, so you might want to add more water the next day and taste for seasoning. I hope this helps.
First off, tofu is NOT the byproduct of making soy-milk but is actually made by curdling the soy-milk, similar to making cheese. The pulp left over from making the milk is called okara and can be eaten (my family made “burgers” with it growing up), but I suspect if you don’t like tofu okara will be even harder of a sell.
Freezing firm tofu helps extract even more water than pressing, turning it into a regular flavour sponge. Until you have developed a taste for it, the secret is getting as much flavour in there as possible so you don’t pay as much attention to the texture, so think about sauces that really pack in the flavour and try marinating for several hours before you cook it. The best tofu I’ve eaten was baked in a thick peanut sauce. A smokey BBQ sauce also does wonderful things.
Coating cubes of tofu in cornstarch and frying it makes for delightfully crispy little nuggets, although maybe isn’t as healthy. You can probably also achieve this in the oven, with a similar level of satisfaction to doing say “fried” chicken in the oven- acceptable, but not quite the same.
Thank you, ladies, for your advice it is most helpful…x
That’s all for today on my journey into eating more plant-based meals on a Meatless Monday……Thank you again to everyone who is suggesting recipes I will try them all…xx
Thank you for reading this post If you have enjoyed this post please leave a comment as any tips or comments I love as you all know I just love to chat…Love Carol xx