Dinner tonight was a savory Vegetable, Meat and Cheese Frittata and it was so easy and oh so delicious! Today was one of those days when time was not on my side, and I was getting “hangry” by the time dinner came around. This recipe allowed me to clean out my fridge and quickly put a delicious meal on the table. Frittatas are perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner and the leftovers are great too!
What is a Frittata?
Frittatas are a rustic egg-based dish made with cheese, vegetables, meats, or herbs. They are typically cooked in a cast iron or oven safe skillet on the stove and then transferred to the oven to finish cooking. Frittatas are the Italian answer to an omelet or quiche. But as much as there are similarities between them, they are also very different.
Frittata vs. quiche
So, isn’t a Frittata just a crustless quiche? Actually, it is not. A quiche is a savory custard. You will find that the egg to cream ratio for quiche is 1 egg to ½ cup of dairy. Where a Frittata does not use nearly as much dairy. And of course, a quiche has a pie crust which a frittata does not. One last difference is how they are cooked. A quiche would be baked in the oven in a pie pan or a baking dish. A frittata is cooked in a frying pan or a cast iron skillet on the stove top and finished in the oven.
Frittata vs. omelet
Well then if must be the same thing as an omelet, right? Nope! The major difference is that when making an omelet you add fillings near the end of the cooking process and fold the omelet in half or in thirds over the filling before it is completely cooked. Where with the frittata you cook the filling and egg mixture together and the top is cooked completely. You also want to eat the omelet while it is warm, while a frittata can be served at room temperature.
Ingredients for a vegetable, meat, and cheese frittata
I am going to share the recipe that I put together tonight, but easy egg and cheese frittatas are so versatile that you can take a simple basic recipe and create a thousand, maybe more, versions based on what you have on hand or what you happen to be craving.
The base of this recipe is eggs, whole milk, and a mixture of pecorino and parmesan cheese. This is what I always start with. To that then I then add some herbs such as thyme and basil and then I start to raid the refrigerator. This time I had some pancetta, which I absolutely love for it’s bacon like flavor, so that was definitely going in. Then I also had a mix of vegetables left over from a veggie tray that we served for a get together. They included cauliflower, red, yellow, and orange bell pepper strips, and cherry and grape tomatoes. Along with some chopped onion and a little garlic, this made an amazing feast for my eyes as well as my stomach!
How do you cook a Frittata?
Cooking a vegetable meat and cheese frittata is really very easy. You will want to start by heating an oven proof skillet and adding a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. The pan needs to be well greased so that the eggs and vegetables will cook without sticking.
I used cauliflower in this recipe, so I added that first and got it started because it takes longer to cook then the other vegetables to cook. After a few minutes I added the pancetta and the rest of the vegetables.
While the vegetables are cooking, whisk the eggs, milk, cheese, and herbs and set aside. Once the pancetta is crispy and the vegetables are tender pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Lower the heat to medium low and let the eggs cook for several minutes.
When the eggs look like they are cooked about halfway, transfer the pan to the oven.
They can be put under the broiler for a few minutes or cooked at a lower temperature for about 10 minutes. The Frittata is done when it puffs up and the top is a beautiful golden color.
What do you serve with a vegetable, meat, and cheese frittata?
Potatoes, such as Easy to Make Rosemary Sweet Potatoes make a great side dish for a beautiful frittata. A salad is also a great way to make this a healthy meal. You may want to try this Easy Italian Tomato and Cucumber salad as a tasty side. Serving this for breakfast or brunch, why not add some Chocolate chip Zucchini Muffins to go with it.
FAQ’s about Frittatas
You will want to use full fat dairy in your frittata. You can use whole milk, cream or half and half. Any of these will make your eggs soft and fluffy. Low fat or fat free dairy products have too much water and will make your eggs watery and lifeless.
Aside from using the right dairy, be careful not to use ingredients that give off a lot of water. For example, zucchini or tomatoes should be cooked until they are no longer giving off moisture.
It is important to keep a close eye on the frittata as it cooks because it can dry out quickly. As soon as the top of your frittata starts brown give it a shake. It should have a little bit of a wiggle, but to be sure you can use the toothpick test, just as you would with a cake. If the toothpick comes out clean the frittata is done.
It depends on the size of your pan and how many people you are feeding. But in general, you should use 6-8 eggs for a 10” skillet, with 2-3 cups of filling. This will provide hearty portions for 4 people.
Easy Oven Baked Vegetable, Meat and Cheese Frittata
- 1 oven safe skillet or frying pan
- 6 Eggs
- 3 tbsp Milk Whole fat, cream or half and half
- ⅓ cup Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Cheese Grated
- ¼ tsp Thyme Dried
- 1 tbsp Basil Fresh, chopped
- ½ tsp Salt
- ⅛ tsp Black Pepper Ground
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1½ cups Cauliflower Florets Roughly chopped
- ½ cup Sweet Pepper Red, Yellow or Orange chopped
- ¼ cup Red Onion Diced
- 1 cup Cherry or Grape Tomatoes Halved
- ⅓ cup Pancetta Diced
- ½ cup Mozzarella Cheese Shredded
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Heat olive oil in an ovenproof skillet. Add the pancetta and cook until crispy. Remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside.
- Add the cauliflower to the skillet and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the remaining vegetables and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Whisk the eggs, milk, thyme, basil, cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl until well blended.
- Add the pancetta back into the pan, stir to mix. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and swirl the pan so that the egg is evenly distributed.
- Cook over medium low heat for 5-7 minutes or until the egg is cooked about half way.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 7-10 minutes, until the frittata puffs up and is golden. Use a toothpick to test for doneness.
- Sprinkle with mozzarella and return to the oven for 1 minute, just until the cheese melts. Promptly remove from the oven.