Eggs are my secret to a quick, easy and delicious meal. Greek Greens frittata can be on the dinner table in less than thirty minutes!
Back in February, when the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee dropped their recommendation to limit cholesterol, I was pretty excited. A long time egg lover (sunny side up and over, thank you!), I hate that eggs were demonized for so long. If you live in Columbia, you may have heard me yell out a Vicky Gunvalson-style "woo hoo!" when the news broke...or maybe that was your next door neighbor whose been subjecting himself to rubbery egg white omelets for years.
There's a small percentage of people considered "hyperresponders" to dietary cholesterol, usually someone with diabetes, an early history of heart disease or familial hypercholesterolemia. They should continue to limit eggs to just a few times a week. Otherwise, eggs are not only safe, but incredibly nutritious, yolk and all.
In fact, eggs are (you guessed it!) a Good Mood Food, and not just because that sunny yellow yolk makes you smile. Although it does that too :) Eggs, especially the yolks, are packed with nutrients that support brain health.
VITAMIN B12 // A deficiency in B12 can cause depression, anxiety, and lethargy, which in some cases can be severe. This vitamin plays many roles in the maintenance of the central nervous system, including the creation of neurotransmitters, DNA expression, and metabolism of fatty acids (remember, your brain is mostly fat). One whole egg contains 25% daily needs of B12.
VITAMIN D // Does more than build strong bones. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and most recently, depression. Vitamin D is needed to build neurotransmitters, for nerve growth, and seems to also reduce inflammation in the brain. Multiple studies have shown a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and cognitive issues and depression. Vitamin D, which is activated by the sun, has been proposed as the root cause of seasonal affective disorder, or the winter blues. It's too early to know if vitamin D is an effective treatment, but one small study found supplementing vitamin D in women with severe depression reduced symptoms.
CHOLINE // Contained in the yolk is a nutrient called choline, which forms acetylcholine, the backbone of neurotransmitters. Most research has focused on deficiencies in serotonin as a root cause of depression - the most common antidepressants work on serotonin - but recent research indicates acetylcholine may play a role, especially for those who don't respond to traditional depression medications. Choline deficiency has also been linked to anxiety. Egg yolks happen to be an excellent source of choline, the most excellent source in fact!
OMEGA 3S // Likely the most studied nutrient for brain health, depression and anxiety and it's not just in fatty fish! Because pastured eggs significantly more omega 3 fats, it's a good reason to pay the few extra dollars.
Clearly, I'm a fan of the mood boosting benefits of eggs. But perhaps just as important - eggs are THE BEST for whipping up a quick, easy and family friendly dinner. Think omelet and a salad, veggie and potato scramble, veggie fried rice with a scrambled egg...heck, I'll throw an egg on some whole grain toast and cal it a day if I'm really pressed for time! But usually, it's a frittata that becomes my weeknight meal. We probably making one every week, either for a make ahead breakfast or dinner! This Greek inspired frittata was particularly tasty, especially when topped with a quick spicy tomato sauce. Feel free to use any greens you like, another good mood food, by the way, but we'll save that for another day!
Greek Greens Frittata
Feel free to use any greens you like. Spinach, chard and arugula would all work well. To save time, skip the tomato sauce and use jarred, souped up with a little crushed red pepper flakes.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
- 8 eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
- Salt and pepper
- 2 ounces goat or feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cups canned pureed tomatoes
- In a medium, oven-proof skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add garlic and kale and saute, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 7-10 minutes depending on thickness. While kale is cooking, whisk oregano, salt and pepper into the eggs.
- After kale is wilted, add olives and stir. Pour eggs into the skillet, reduce heat to medium and cook without touching until mostly set. To cook the top, place briefly under the broiler for about 1-2 minutes.
- While frittata is cooking, make the tomato sauce. In a small pot, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Pour in pureed tomatoes. Simmer 5-10 minutes to let the flavors meld. Season with salt and pepper.
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