This post has been updated for recipe, photos and content since its original publication in 2015.
Italian-inspired, veggie, ham and cheese frittata is a hearty, savory weekend breakfast recipe. This Italian frittata is loaded with tender spring asparagus, sweet sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), roasted bell peppers and onions. The “ham” in this veggie and ham frittata is actually lightly smoked Canadian bacon and it adds just the right meaty flavor to make this healthy breakfast completely satisfying. Shredded mozzarella tops the egg and cheese frittata for a delicious low-carb meal that’s easily adjustable for most diet plans. It’s also a perfectly portioned breakfast for two.
Nothing says “weekend” to me more than a leisurely breakfast and by leisurely, I mean relaxed, not a cooking marathon. Enter the Italian frittata. This one skillet egg dish is one of the champions of quick, delicious meals — and they are incredibly versatile and healthy. With a handful of veggies, ham and cheese, this easy (and naturally gluten free frittata) is ready to eat in half an hour.
Here’s what you’ll need for a ham and cheese frittata:
- Canadian Bacon
- Roasted Bell Peppers (you can make your own or use the jarred variety)
- Sun Dried Tomatoes (we prefer them packed in oil)
- Eggs (use large or extra large)
- Mozzarella or Italian Blend Cheese
- Salt & Pepper
- Italian Parsley or Basil
The only “chef-y” part of this dish is blanching and shocking the asparagus, but it really is a necessary step. Here’s why…
Why pre-cook the asparagus for the Italian frittata?
- Asparagus, even the tender new spring stalks, need a quick steam or blanch to remove the woody texture of the raw veg.
- Blanching cooks the asparagus and the ice bath (which is simply ice and water) stops the cooking and “sets” the bright green color and it only takes about 5-6 minutes from start to finish. Come on — you can do that for a weekend breakfast for two, right?
- I like to cut the asparagus into bite sized pieces before cooking them, because it’s easier to fit the 1″ bites into a small bowl of ice water, without bending and twisting them — and asparagus is easier to chop when it’s raw.
- PRO-TIP: This is optional, but I’m a food blogger, so I’m compelled to tell you… For presentation’s sake, reserve the pretty tops of the asparagus for decoration. After the ham and cheese frittata is assembled, place the spear tips over the top of the eggs and cheese, so they’re visible. Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, it’ll give your other diner a clue as to what’s in the recipe.
If “blanch and shock” was a new culinary term to you, you might want to check out this primer for other cooking definitions from the Culinary Institute of America, they’re helpful for home cooks as well as seasoned pros.
The rest of this recipe comes together pretty quickly, despite the number of steps. Trust me, it’s easy…
Assembling the Italian veggie and cheese frittata
- Sauté the onions and diced ham (Canadian bacon) until the onions are slightly softened and ham is fragrant and transfer to a small bowl.
- Add the rest of the veggies (roasted bell peppers, sun dried tomatoes & asparagus) to the ham mixture.
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in the skillet over medium to medium high heat and pour the eggs into the center of the pan.
- When the edges of the egg begin to turn a pale yellow as they start to cook, sprinkle the veggies and ham evenly over the eggs. (Don’t worry if it looks like too much — the eggs will puff and rise around the filling as it cooks in the oven).
- Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the Italian frittata and add the asparagus tips.
- Cook the eggs for 2 to 3 minutes on the stove (do not stir, shake or otherwise disturb the contents of the skillet) until the edges are cooked, but the middle is still wet and unset.
- Transfer the skillet to the hot oven and bake for an additional 5-6 minutes (keep an eye on it) and when the eggs are just set, turn on the broiler. (You can tell the eggs are set by giving the skillet a little shake.) If the middle of the eggs don’t jiggle, it’s ready.
- Broil for about 2 minutes or until it just starts to take on some color. Remove from the oven and garnish the frittata with Italian parsley or fresh basil.
The finished product will be light and puffy straight from the oven, but will sink a little in the pan after a few minutes. When it’s rested for a few minutes, cut into slices and serve. This Italian veggie inspired breakfast frittata fills the kitchen with savory aromas as it’s cooking, making your tummy rumble in anticipation. I’m hungry just thinking about it.
This frittata is gluten-free, high protein, low-fat & low-carb
It’s so yummy, you might forget that it’s actually good for you. Eggs are low carb, high protein and this frittata is naturally gluten free. The Canadian bacon (ham) is very lean because that cut comes from the tenderloin of the pork and if you’re using part-skim mozzarella, it’s even low in fat. Plus you can tweak the ingredients to suit most any diet that you’re adhering to. This breakfast is a winner.
More healthy recipes to serve with ham and cheese frittata:
- Sugar and Spice Broiled Grapefruit
- Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Muffins
- Cinnamon Blueberry Bran Muffins
- Rum Spiked Tropical Fruit Salad
More healthy breakfast ideas for two:
- Cajun Andouille Sweet Potato Frittata
- Easy Irish Oatmeal
- Crustless Veggie Quiche
- Pan Crisped Potato Bacon Frittata
- Fluffy Almond Flour Banana Pancakes
Veggie Ham and Cheese Frittata
- 1/4 pound asparagus tough ends trimmed; cut into one inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil divided
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 4 slices Canadian bacon diced (can also use 1/2 cup diced ham)
- 1 roasted bell pepper (from a jar or homemade) peeled, seeded, diced
- 2 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes in oil drained and sliced
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or Italian cheese blend
- 4 eggs lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- fresh parsley or basil for garnish
- Oven safe 8 or 9" nonstick skillet
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Add a cup of water and salt to a non-stick 8-9" skillet. Bring to a boil. Blanch the asparagus by adding it to the water and boil for 2-3 minutes or until just crisp tender. While asparagus cooks prepare an ice bath (ice and water) in a medium bowl. Transfer blanched asparagus to the ice water to shock it and stop the cooking. (This also helps preserve the bright green color of the vegetable). Dry the asparagus lightly with paper towels and transfer to a small bowl. Reserve the frilly tops of the asparagus separately, for decoration and set aside.
- Pour the water out of the pan and dry it. Set the pan back on the burner and 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil. Heat over medium-medium high heat and add onions and Canadian bacon or ham. Cook until onions soften and become fragrant and ham is heated through Transfer the vegetables to a small bowl.
- Add the sun dried tomatoes and roasted bell pepper and asparagus (except for the tops)to the onion mixture. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl crack the eggs and add salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
- Spray the pan liberally with non-stick cooking spray and add the remainder of the olive oil. Heat the pan over medium to medium high heat and pour, the eggs into the center of the pan. Do not stir or jostle the pan around.
- Toss the asparagus, ham and sun-dried tomato mixture together and sprinkle it evenly over the eggs. Lightly press the vegetables into the eggs. Add the shredded cheese over the eggs and vegetables in an even layer and sprinkle the asparagus tops over the cheese, decoratively. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until edges begin to cook, but center is still wet.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 5-6 minutes until center of frittata is set. Turn the broiler on and brown the top of the frittata for 1-2 minutes or until desired doneness.
- Let frittata rest for a minute or two, then use a pliable spatula (I like my very thin and flexible fish spatula for this) to remove frittata from the pan and transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle with parsley or basil if desired. Cut into wedges and serve.
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