Make: Fret-Free Frittata with Swiss Chard and Chicken Sausage

A make-ahead breakfast recipe that'll get you revved up for the day.

A frittata is an Italian omelette that isn’t folded; the open-faced omelette is either flipped or put under a broiler to set the top. I’ve made a few frittata and I won’t lie—they stress me out. The bottom gets too brown or the top is a bit runny. There’s always an issue. This recipe is easy breezy; just throw it in the oven and forget about it.

Just to clear up any confusion, no, this isn’t a quiche. While quiche is delicious, it’s also a calorie bomb. Pie crust in and of itself is over 200 calories per slice, plus you’ve got the eggs, heavy cream, breakfast meat and cheese—you get the picture. This frittata is a much lighter brunch option, and high in protein to boot.

You can find chicken sausage anywhere these days, and it’s a fantastic protein source. Most brands are between 100 and 180 calories per link and pack between 15 and 22 grams of protein. The links come precooked, but if you have time I recommend browning them in a skillet for a more authentic flavor. Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Style work very well for this dish and happens to be the store’s lowest calorie flavor as well.

The green veggie in this recipe is Swiss chard, which is one of the most popular Mediterranean veggies and one of the very healthiest for you. It’s full of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and vitamins and has only 35 calories per cooked cup. It’s pretty mild in flavor, similar to spinach. Don’t be afraid to give it a try if you haven’t yet; it’s very easy to work with.

As with any egg dish, this one is very customizable. Substitute spinach if it’s what you have, use a different cheese instead of feta (though it’s awesome with the feta), or even use a ground sausage of your choice. A wonderful dish for company or holidays, as you can prep it ahead and leave it covered in the fridge until an hour before your guests arrive, or even serve it cold! It can be a hot breakfast, lunch or dinner, or a chilled appetizer. If you have leftovers, freeze the squares individually on a cookie sheet and then wrap each in foil—a great and very healthy breakfast on the run. To make it even lighter, substitute egg whites at a rate of two whites per one egg. If you want to use Egg Beaters or a carton of whites, you’d need two cups worth, as an egg is measured to be about 1/4 cup.

Fret-Free Frittata with Swiss Chard and Chicken Sausage
Serves six as a main dish, 10 to 12 as an appetizer

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces precooked chicken sausage, chopped
1 small to medium white or yellow onion, diced
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, chopped
8 eggs
1/4 c. milk (preferably whole or 2 percent)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 c. feta cheese
Fresh parsley, optional, as garnish

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add chopped sausage and saute until browned, about 5 minutes.

2. Remove sausage and add onion. Saute for 5 to 8 minutes or until softened. Add 1 tbsp. water if onions get dry.

3. Add Swiss chard and saute until wilted and mixture is dry, about ten minutes. When the Swiss chard wilts it releases a lot of liquid; let it cook down until the pan is almost dry before removing from heat.

4. Scrape Swiss chard and onion mixture to a drainer or sieve and press out any remaining water.

5. Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add Swiss chard mixture, sausage and cheese; mix to combine.

6. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with nonstick spray and pour in mixture.

7. Bake for about 1 hour or until set. “Set” in this case means that there won’t be any liquid pooled in the top center. Press down with a finger in the middle of the frittata and it will feel firm.

8. Cool about fifteen minutes. Invert onto a plate and then set right side up onto another plate before slicing, or cut in pan. The frittata will release VERY easily from the pan, so don’t stress about trying to invert it. Place a plate on top of the pan and, holding both together, flip over. Then put a plate on it again and flip “back” so that it’s right side up.

9. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Per serving (main dish): 209 calories, 14.4 fat grams (5.6 saturated fat, 1.8 polyunsaturated fat, 5.3 monounsaturated fat), 275 milligrams cholesterol, 588 milligrams sodium, 444 milligrams potassium, 5.8 grams carbs, 1.6 grams dietary fiber, 15.1 grams protein

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Becca Boyd is a wife and new mom who teaches culinary courses to students at Radnor High School. She creates healthy and delicious recipes in her West Chester kitchen and blogs about them on her website, Home Beccanomics.