Ovo-lactos, I’m afraid today’s meat-free menu is reserved for those of us who love nature’s little bundles of protein and goodness: Eggs! Eggs can be the center of a meatless meal with little to no effort on the part of Y-O-U. Rich, sometimes decadent, simple and delicious — how can you go wrong?
Today I’ll share 5 meatless meals that feature eggs as the main dish. Some are straightforward and traditional — scrambled, or in an omelette — and others are a bit more inventive. Have fun with eggs; their healthy qualities (good cholesterol, protein) and versatility make them pretty ideal.
Italian-Style Baked Eggs [pictured above]: Grease a large ramekin with butter or spray lightly with cooking spray. Crack two eggs into the ramekin; sprinkle with herbs (basil and oregano are favorites; for an Asian twist, sprinkle sesame seeds and dried seaweed flakes), salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil (or sesame oil for Asian flavor) and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, checking frequently for desired doneness. (SO GOOD with roasted veggies.)
Migas Scramble: Cut a tortilla into thin strips using a knife or kitchen scissors. Heat 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium-low, seasoning the oil with dashes of chili powder and cumin as it warms. Pan-fry the tortilla strips for 5-10 minutes, or until brown and crisp to your liking. Set aside on serving plate.
In a small bowl, scramble 2 eggs (if cooking for one) with a splash of milk or cream; season with salt, pepper and a dash of cumin. In the same pan, reheat another tsp of oil over medium-low heat. Add 1/2 cup diced green or red pepper and 1/2 cup diced onion. Saute for 5-10 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add egg mixture and scramble, pushing eggs around gently until scrambled to your liking. Add tortilla strips back to pan, stirring just to reheat.
Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, shredded cheese, or whatever other Tex-Mex toppings you prefer.
Meatless Croque Madame: Lightly toast two slices of a French baguette or similar artisan bread. Meanwhile, spray a saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium-low. Add 1 egg (if serving one; double or triple easily) and fry according to your liking (sunny-side up? Over-easy? So gooey you might get salmonella poisoning? Entirely your call.). Set aside on your serving plate, covered with a pan lit or aluminum foil.
Butter one side of each piece of toasted bread. Add 1-2 slices of good Swiss or Gruyere cheese in between. You can also spread the bread slices lightly on the inside with bechamel (optional). Raise the heat to medium and grill sandwich for 4-5 minutes on both sides, or until bread is browned to your liking and cheese has melted. Top with fried egg, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and serve. Voila! Un repas delicieux.
Non-Carnivorous Carbonara: [adapted from a Food Network recipe.] Despite the awkward title, this meal is a win! Heat a pot of water on high for pasta; when it’s ready, prepare 1/2 lb spaghetti or linguine according to package directions. In a large saucepan, saute 1 or 2 chopped cloves of garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. When pasta is al dente (slightly tough to the bite, but cooked through), drain and add to the saucepan with 1/2 cup pasta water. Toss to coat with oil and garlic.
While pasta is cooking, prepare sauce: beat 1 egg and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese in a mixing bowl. Add dashes of salt and pepper. Remove saucepan with pasta, garlic and oil from heat; add egg and cheese mixture, stirring with tongs or a pasta scoop frequently until eggs thicken but don’t scramble.
Place on serving platter and sprinkle with salt, pepper, Parmesan, and chopped Parsley.
Asian Egg Salad Redux: Hard boil 1 or 2 eggs according to these tips. Allow to cool, then peel and discard shells. Chop eggs into small chunks; add to mixing bowl. Stir in 1/4 to 1/3 cup mayonnaise, mixing gently to allow eggs to retain their shape somewhat. Add a dash of Sriracha chili sauce, chopped cilantro, salt, pepper & a drizzle of sesame oil.
Serve on toasted wheat bread with sliced radishes, shredded carrot and sliced cucumbers.
Are you folks fans of the incredible, edible egg? Or do you hate eggs and wish they would disappear into an egg-shaped black hole? Sound off, share, and happy eating!