Mediterranean Egg & Vegetable Bake

This is one of those reliable, simple recipes you can keep in your back pocket for all sorts of occasions. Everybody likes quiche and frittatas (unless you're allergic to eggs) - this one just happens to have no crust. Take it with you for brunch with friends, make it for a holiday breakfast to feed the family, meal prep for the whole week, you name it, this make-and-take, easily re-heatable dish will probably fit the bill. Chop veggies, sauté, throw veggies in baking dish, add eggs, sprinkle with desired toppings, and bake…that’s it! It’s 100% customizable to your flavor and vegetable likes and dislikes as well. My recipe breakdown below is for the ingredients I used, but feel free to swap in and out any vegetables, cheeses, meats, herbs, spices and whatever else you like to make it your own.

 These veggies are all compliments of my local farmers market - the Little Italy Mercato in San Diego

These veggies are all compliments of my local farmers market - the Little Italy Mercato in San Diego

I don’t think it will surprise any of you that I like vegetables…A LOT. I can tell when I’m not getting enough in my diet and it makes me grumpy (just ask my better half! #sorryforthethingsisaidwhenididnthaveveggies). Therefore, any time I have the opportunity to make a dish like this that requires a mix of veggies, I take it to the max. As you can see in the pictures below, this dish is PACKED with color. More color = more nutrients. I like nutrients, and if you’re reading this, you probably do too. 

This particular combo of veggies all came from my favorite farmer’s market in Little Italy, San Diego. The veggies are fresh, local, in season, and haven’t been sitting on a truck for days wilting. That’s pretty awesome and I feel good forking over my food dollars to my local farmers. If you haven’t checked out your local farmers market, it is truly worth it. Here’s a great little tip sheet on how to make the most of your trip to the market: http://bit.ly/28Afgae 

It is a sad reality that not everyone is in an area where they have access to fresh foods and year round farmers markets like we do in San Diego, but there are many other options. If you have trouble getting local produce, check out a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in your area - there are often pick up options for crop shares in much more convenient locations than your nearest farm: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/  (This is me stepping down from my "buy local" soap box). If you really just can't get to a farmers market, need ingredients that aren't on offer, or don't have access to a local CSA, just try to spend your food dollars on the most nutritious, whole foods available to you. I shop at Costco and Trader Joe's on the regular to supplement my trips to the farmers market. No shame in that. 

And now...the recipe you've been scrolling for....

MEDITERRANEAN EGG & VEGETABLE BAKE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard - leaves separated from stems. Thinly slice stems and cut leaves in 1 inch ribbons
  • 2 medium zucchini - cut lengthwise into quarters, then into 1/2 inch triangles
  • 2 bell peppers (any color is fine) - cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 green onions - thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons mediterranean herbs (any mixture of oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary and/or basil will do)
  • 48 - 64 ounces (3-4 pints) liquid egg whites - the amount you need will depend on the amount of veggies you use. I needed 64 ounces (4 pints) to mostly cover all the veggies in my pan. 
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Wash and cut all vegetables. 

 Don't throw out the stems from your Swiss Chard! See all that color? Color = nutrients. We don't trash nutrients here. ;)

Don't throw out the stems from your Swiss Chard! See all that color? Color = nutrients. We don't trash nutrients here. ;)

2. Heat coconut oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add bell peppers, zucchini and swiss chard stems to pan and sauté 5 minutes or until just tender. Add all chard leaves to pan and cover for 2-3 minutes until leaves are just wilted. Remove pan from heat. Drain any excess liquid to avoid a soggy egg bake. Transfer drained vegetables to 9x13 baking dish. 

3. Evenly sprinkle sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese, green onion and herbs over the top of the cooked vegetables. Season with salt & pepper to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon of each should do).

4. Pour liquid egg whites over the top of the mixture and place pan in oven to bake for approximately 45 minutes or until edges and top of egg bake are lightly browned and center is solid. Cooking time will vary based on ingredients and amount of egg white used, so ensure center of dish is baked through by jiggling pan or inserting a knife in the center. 

5. Let cool for 5 minutes, then slice into 12 or more equal portions and serve! You can also make this a day or two ahead of time and just pop it in the oven to reheat for 20-30 minutes when you need it or reheat individual slices if you're using this for meal prep! I like to top it with avocado for a bit of healthy fat, and add even more tomato to the side. Kalamata olives would be a great flavor addition here as well! You can add a meat or cottage cheese on the side for additional protein, or a serving of fruit, potato or other starchy vegetable or grain for additional carbohydrates. 

 

NUTRITION INFO:

(NOTE: I don't do calories. Wait...what?! You're an RD and you don't provide calorie counts for your foods? Yep...you read that right. I teach my clients how to use intuitive eating practices and their hunger cues to eat the amount of food their body needs to reach their specific goals. It's a select few (namely top level athletes and figure competitors) who actually benefit from calorie counting)

Now, I think you can tell from the pictures alone that this is one nutritious dish, but what makes it so well balanced and wonderful? Let’s start with the macros (macros = macronutrients or Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat): 

  • These vegetables are fairly water dense and not very starchy, so the carbohydrate content is relatively low - ideal for a lower activity day. If you want more carbs, include a starch like cubed sweet potato in the egg bake or just add some colorful fruit or grains on the side. 
  • I used LOTS of egg whites in this recipe and added some feta on top, so there is a hefty amount of protein in one serving of this baby! Depending on your needs, you could amp up the protein content even more by adding some lean ground turkey, chicken sausage, ham, or any meat you like. 
  • The veggies were cooked in about 1 Tbsp of coconut oil and the feta cheese added fat as well. Spread throughout 12 servings, that makes the fat content of this recipe pretty low. I did that on purpose because I like adding avocado to eggs and making that my portion of fat for the meal. If you want a higher fat content, use whole eggs, add more cheese, or enjoy more avocado! Whatever you do, don’t leave out all the fat because you need it to help your body maximize absorption of some of the awesome vitamins in the veggies!

As far as micros (micros = micronutrients or vitamins and minerals), the veggies in this egg bake pack a mean punch. Between all these vegetables, there are more nutrients than you can imagine, so for the sake of time, I’ll just highlight one of my favorites (and possibly the most nutritious in today’s line-up)

  • Swiss Chard: loaded with Vitamins K, A, C, and offers a healthy dose of potassium, Vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, iron, fiberantioxidants. I won’t bore you with all the specific functions of those different nutrients (but if you want to nerd out on nutrition with me, comment below or send me an email and I’d be happy to explain!). On a high level, these nutrients can contribute to lowering blood pressure, increasing insulin sensitivity, preventing osteoporosis, and improving athletic performance. Let’s be real - this vegetable looks and acts like a nutrition powerhouse. Eat it! :)

And finally - if you like what you're seeing, eating and reading on this blog, my humble request is that you like, share, contact, and or refer me to any of your friends, family or colleagues who might be interested in my work or coaching. This is my full time job now and I am open for business! :) Please and thank you!

 How COOL is swiss chard! You can see the deeply colored red veins delivering nutrients to the leaves!

How COOL is swiss chard! You can see the deeply colored red veins delivering nutrients to the leaves!