Spring Asparagus Frittata
There are certain foods, when in season, I couldn’t possibly get my fill of. Summer’s juicy tomatoes, herbs, figs and tender greens; in autumn, pomegranates, pumpkins, peppers and persimmons — an alliterative season; hearty winter squash, beets and colorful citrus fruit during the winter months; and in spring, sweet snap peas, strawberries and asparagus.
This frittata, with thin asparagus, zucchini, fresh dill and sun-dried tomatoes, welcomes spring to the table, perfect as a light main or nourishing side.
The recipe is a snap — just 7 main ingredients + ready in just over 20 minutes. With 15 grams of protein per 180-calorie serving, it’s vegetarian, kid-friendly, and naturally gluten-free. The veg and herb add-ins are basically loose suggestions, so you can mix, match, substitute and tweak to your heart’s desire, and you can easily double or triple the amounts for cooking in a larger cast iron skillet to feed a crowd.
At the market, look for thin, bright green asparagus stalks; avoid those that are dry and limp or have mushy tops. To best preserve the nutrients and antioxidants, stick with quick, waterless methods of cooking, like stir-frying, grilling, roasting or sauteing, as we do here. Raw asparagus is a treat as well, and for the next iteration of this frittata I think a few asparagus ribbons piled on top at the end, with a spritz of lemon juice and some extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic, or even some crumbled chevre, will make for an even more special dish!
What’s in it for me?
One whole egg contains more than 6 grams, or roughly 13% of the recommended daily value, of high-quality complete protein, necessary to help build muscles and provide steady, sustained energy. While most of the fat and cholesterol come from the yolk, so do many of its beneficial nutrients, including choline, vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that play a critical role in maintaining eye health.
Other HGN favorite egg recipes: Soft-scrambled eggs on toast || Rolled omelet || Garden glut succotash with barley, basil and poached eggs
Asparagus is packed with vitamins K, A and C, calcium, potassium, dietary fiber, particularly inulin (a type of “good gut bacteria-promoting” prebiotic), plus an impressive number of antioxidants. One of the richest sources of B vitamins, particularly folic acid, asparagus helps regulate levels of blood sugar and homocysteine, and is an extremely beneficial addition to a fertility and pregnancy diet.
Other HGN favorite asparagus recipes: Asparagus ribbon pizza with ricotta + lemon || Asparagus and olive chicken rouladen with white wine-mushroom pan sauce || Spicy asparagus pickles || Green quinoa salad with lemon and pistachios
Zucchini delivers more of the lutein and zeaxanthin for antioxidant protection, as well as fiber, vitamins C and B6, potassium, and phytochemicals. Sun-dried tomatoes provide the antioxidant phytochemical lycopene, plus vitamins A and C. Tomatoes are also a natural source of glutamate — the “umami”-providing amino acid that, like salt, enhances the savory flavors of other foods — without actually having to add salt, and, like asparagus, play a role as a prebiotic, boosting the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in the gastrointestinal tract to improve digestive health and bolster the immune system.
Frittatas are fitting for breakfast, lunch, brunch, supper, even a snack. Serve on its own, or with a green salad, crusty bread, a warm whole grain or rice salad. Packed with spring flavors and colors, this asparagus frittata would also be a lovely addition to any Easter or Passover celebrations you may be headed to. Enjoy!
Tell me… Do you frittata? What are your favorite add-ins or toppings?
- 2 whole eggs + 4 egg whites
- A splash of water (about 1 to 2 Tbsp total)
- 2 sun-dried tomatoes, drained well if oil-packed, coarsely chopped (to yield about 2 Tbsp)
- 2 to 4 Tbsp chopped fresh dill (or 2 to 4 tsp dried dill), plus extra to garnish
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 small white or yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 small zucchini (or summer squash), diced (to yield about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 bunch thin asparagus, woody bottoms trimmed and discarded, cut into 1-inch pieces (to yield about 3/4 to 1 cup)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Preheat the broiler with a rack positioned 4 to 6 inches from the heating element. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg whites, water, sun-dried tomato pieces, and the 2 Tbsp chopped dill with a pinch of salt and several good cracks of black pepper. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a 7- or 8-inch-diameter nonstick oven-safe or cast iron skillet over medium. Add the onions and zucchini, and saute until softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and garlic, stir, and season everything very lightly with salt and pepper; cook until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes more.
- Raise the heat to medium-high. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus mixture and, with a rubber scraper, fold gently to incorporate. Cook undisturbed until the eggs begin to set, 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook another minute until the eggs are almost set, but the top of the frittata is still runny.
- Carefully transfer the skillet to the oven and broil until the frittata is golden brown and bubbly, between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the strength of your boiler. Keep an eye on it!
- Remove the skillet from the oven; let the frittata sit for about 2 minutes.
- Loosen the frittata from the skillet with your rubber scraper, and slide it onto a serving platter or cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the frittata into 4 wedges (if serving 2), or several smaller wedges or squares (if serving as an appetizer or part of a brunch spread). Garnish with the reserved dill, and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
+ Add caramelized onions or mushrooms, sauteed spinach or other dark leafy greens, or sauteed white, sweet or purple potatoes, or a few chopped olives to bump up the veg.
+ Dress it up by topping the finished frittata with a tangle of fresh arugula, spinach or other baby greens, or shaved asparagus ribbons dressed lightly in lemon juice and a splash of olive oil.
+ Swap the dill for tarragon, basil, mint, oregano, chives or thyme.
+ Replace the zucchini with yellow summer squash, if needed; OR replace with chopped artichoke hearts; OR omit entirely.
+ Use chopped fresh tomato instead of sun-dried (increase the amount, if you like).
+ Vary the onion by swapping in red onion, shallot, scallions or leeks in place of the white/yellow onion.
+ Whisk some herb-y pesto into to the egg mixture before adding to the pan, or serve slices with a dollop on top.
+ Give it a more savory flavor (+ more protein but also more fat) with chopped crisped prosciutto or bacon, browned crumbled chicken or turkey sausage, or a few crumbles of another cheese, such as feta or Gorgonzola.
Other spring-y asparagus frittata suggestions:
+ Asparagus, fresh tomato + Fontina cheese
+ Asparagus, ramps, green garlic + Chevre
+ Asparagus, leek and Pecorino
An HGN original recipe.
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