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15-Minute Frittata

August 04, 2020

This is one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make. One pan, one bowl, 15 minutes.  This recipe hails from a small costal town in Southern Italy. On a hot summer day, when you might not want to fire up the oven, these frittatas are made on the stovetop, quickly, and served as an antipasto (appetizer) for dinner.  Here in the US, we think of this more as a breakfast food – it is fitting for either.

Pan-frying means more extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). More fat is not necessarily bad, in fact, many large-scale studies in humans have shown that olive oil, particularly as part of the Mediterranean diet, provides many health benefits. Two major components of EVOO are thought to be responsible for this. Most of olive oil’s fat content comes from monounsaturated fatty acids. You may have heard of these as “good fats,” which lower LDL cholesterol and improve heart health. Olive oil also contains polyphenols – naturally-occurring plant-based compounds that have cardiovascular, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits. EVOO contains more polyphenols than more refined olive oils. Like all fats, olive oil is high in calories, so don’t overdo it if you have been advised to watch your total calorie intake.

Another thing that’s different from the average oven-based frittata is the flour. The flour imparts a slightly pancake-like texture that makes it easy to pan-flip. If you’re avoiding gluten, you can skip it or substitute almond flour – just be aware that the softer texture might make for a more complicated flip.

Most frittata recipes call for a fair amount of cheese; here, we recommend just a tad. Animal products have been linked to inflammation, which may increase risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. The key is moderation; a small amount of high-quality cheese can go a long way in terms of flavor. Which cheese to pick largely depends on your preference, as the small amount will have minimal effect on the overall nutrition profile. In general, some fresh cheeses (like ricotta or feta) are a little lower in fat and higher in protein, though feta is high in salt. Hard cheeses (like Parmesan or cheddar) tend to have less lactose, so if you are sensitive, you might be able to tolerate this addition to your frittata. You can also consider making this recipe dairy-free altogether (see below).

We used classic and readily-available zucchini and garlic. Substitute any vegetables that can be sautéed in small pieces; the key is to remove most of the water from the vegetables before adding to the eggs.

Two examples:

1. Peppers, mushrooms and onions – make sure all water is out

2. To make this recipe dairy-free, omit the cheese and try kale, shallots… and bacon. Just a couple of strips of nitrate-free bacon, sautéed and crumbled up, impart a richness of flavor that would otherwise come from the cheese. Again – moderation is key, because bacon is a processed meat; several studies have shown a link between processed meat consumption and advanced and lethal prostate cancer. However, the potential negative effects of the bacon may be offset by the nutritional benefits of the kale, as this cruciferous vegetable is an antioxidant powerhouse. One cup of chopped kale contains more vitamin A and vitamin C than you need in an entire day, as well as trace minerals. Take note if you’re on warfarin, as kale is very high in vitamin K.

15-Minute Frittata

• 3 large eggs
• One large zucchini, grated, or shredded in a food processor
• One small garlic clove, minced
• 2 tablespoons of flour
• 1-2 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan
• 1/2 tsp of salt
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil for cooking

Heat 1 tbs of oil in a medium sauce pan or skillet on medium-high heat. Add grated zucchini to the oil. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally and letting a few bits brown. In the meantime, whisk eggs, flour, cheese, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the garlic to the zucchini and cook for 60 seconds more, stirring constantly. Scrape the cooked ingredients from the pan into the egg mixture and whisk until well-combined. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in the same pan – no need to clean in between! – over medium heat. Pour in the frittata batter. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes. Flip the frittata using a large spatula. Cook, uncovered, on the second side for 2 minutes. Can be served warm, room temperature, or cold!

Serves 2, or 4 as an appetizer.