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Swiss Chard and Bean Fritatta

My friend, Jennifer Brewer, MS, CNS, Chef and Radio Show Host has always told me what most of us already know but don’t always practice: breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

Even more important to this conversation is having your breakfast contain some sort of protein. According to a recent study that compared the calorie intake of those who ate protein (eggs) or a carb-based breakfast (bagel) with the same amount of calories, those who ate protein for breakfast consumed 300 fewer calories over a 24-hour period and said they felt more full during the day. Boy, talk about a win-win.
Image of Organic Swiss Chard
There are lots of ways to get protein in the morning that include something from the produce department. You can start with a Melissa’s organic granny smith apple, chopped dates, flax seed and walnuts, and combine them with hot oatmeal to make a hearty breakfast. Or, here’s an easy-to make Swiss chard and Bean Frittata adapted from that can keep you going.

Swiss Chard and Bean Frittata
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)

7 large egg whites, lightly beaten
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2-teaspoon salt
1/4-teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped organic jalapeño pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (optional)
4 chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1-teaspoon olive oil
2 cups torn Melissa’s organic Swiss chard or spinach 1-1/2 cups chopped
Melissa’s organic yellow onion

Preheat broiler. Place egg whites, eggs, salt and black pepper in a large bowl, whisk. Stir in jalapeño, mint (if desired), olives and beans. Heat the oil in a large well-oiled iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add Swiss chard and onion; sauté 3 minutes or until Swiss chard is tender. Pour the egg mixture into pan; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 10 minutes or until almost set. Place skillet in broiler and broil egg mixture for 4 minutes or until golden brown.

Be sure you have a good sturdy oven mitt when removing the pan, as it will be EXTREMELY HOT! Let sit for 5 min. or cool to touch and serve with salsa. This will keep you filled up all morning but sometimes in the afternoon you may be looking for a healthy snack that does the trick as well. I love to snack, especially around the holidays. That said, more and more these days I’m trying to choose healthy snacks when I do. One of my favorites is roasted pumpkin or squash seeds for a great nutritious snack. Roasting the seeds is something many of us forget to do and these tips make it easy. All you have to do is rinse them (a colander works best) and let dry. Then, lay them out on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 250° F for 1 hour.

For final browning, increase to 400° F for an extra 5 minutes. Add your favorite seasoning and store in an airtight container. Ummm, ummm. Or how about

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

1 large sweet Hannah or Japanese sweet potato (you can use a jewel or garnet if you can’t find these. I like these because they are a bit drier and make the best chips)
Garlic salt
A teaspoon of olive oil

Heat oven to 350º F. Peel sweet potato (works with yams too) and slice thin, as if for a thick potato chip. Put the chips into a plastic bag with about a teaspoon of oil (more or less), blow in some air, and shake to coat. Lay sweet potato in a single layer in the pan, sprinkle with salt. Bake for 20 minutes, turn, sprinkle that side, and bake for another 10 minutes.

If you have never had these, I suggest you make a lot because EVERYONE will love these. Tasty, healthy and what a wonderful guilty pleasure. Let the long days of shopping, parties and winter sports begin.
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