From Stratas to Frittatas: Main Dish Eggs

By Terese Allen, Organic Valley Food Editor

Eggs have everything going for them. They are nutritious, affordable and versatile. Farm-fresh and humanely produced, they’re the ultimate symbol of rebirth and renewal. And eggs are about as yummy as an ingredient gets.

So why don’t we eat them for dinner more often?

Maybe there’s a misconception that in order to deserve main meal status an egg-based dish must be complicated or time-consuming. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In my kitchen, eggs are just too useful to relegate to mere scrambling or frying. In their simplest forms—boiled, poached, omelets, etc.—eggs give us a range of traditional morning dishes, but with minimal additional effort, lunch and dinner prospects are never ending. Think frittatas, stratas, creamed eggs, soufflés, crustless quiche—with a bit of chopping, a little mixing or layering, they can all be assembled in thirty minutes or less. Egg entrees prepared on the stovetop take mere moments, and those that are baked are out of the oven in an hour or less.

What’s more, even the side dishes that go best with egg-based main dishes are simple: toss some greens or craft a fruit salad, put out some good bread and butter, and the meal is complete.

Eggs at suppertime are especially welcome in early spring, when you’re craving something fresh but the selection of local vegetables is at its lowest. Happily, the increasing sunlight is a natural prompt for chickens, making eggs plentiful at this time of year.

And happily, recipes are plentiful, too. With international flavors and traditions to inspire us, eggs are what’s for dinner.


Recipes

Creole Creamed Eggs (with Ham or Spinach) – A zippy take on an old favorite that’s fitting for lunch, brunch or dinner.

Spring Rolls with Eggs and Fresh Herbs - Light, healthy and utterly fresh-tasting, spring rolls are fun fast food--fast to make and fun to eat.

Italian Chicken Sausage and Fennel Pie - The pie pan is lined with breadcrumbs instead of a crust and the custard is studded with sautéed fennel bulb and Italian-spiced chicken sausage. Definitely not your regular quiche!

Tortilla Española - Similar to the Mexican tortilla in shape only, this is more like an Italian frittata. This Spanish classic is rich with wholesome olive oil and studded with potatoes and onions.

Bosnian “Soufflé” - Although this doesn’t rise as high as a French soufflé, it does puff attractively--and it’s much, much easier to make.

Peruvian Potatoes with Eggs, Chilies and Cheese - As thick and delicious as a slow-simmered, long-tended stew, this is, in fact, a very quick preparation—and it’s perfect for a chilly spring day.

Enchilada Strata - A layered casserole or “strata” is a convenient make-ahead dish because it can be refrigerated several hours or up to overnight until you’re ready to bake it. This one has Mexican flair.

Asparagus Soufflé - Ethereal and elegant, a French-style soufflé is a dish that says "You're special."

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