Vegetable Fried Rice Frittata
Goodbye Christmas cookies, hello vegetables.
It’s a new year and time for a fresh start.
Sometimes healthier foods can be bland and boring, but this isn’t one of them. I’m not saying this fritatta is the equivalent of raw celery sticks and kale leaves, but it’s better than cookies. It’s made by layering vegetables on top of a bed of seasoned rice, and they’re coated with creamy soup and eggs. It takes on an almost cheesy-like quality, even though no cheese was used. It’s vegetarian, gluten-free, and packed with protein from the eggs. And it comes together in five minutes, the best kind of healthy meal.
To make the frittata, I added frozen fried rice to the bottom of my cast iron skillet. I used Trader Joe’s frozen fried rice and I didn’t even bother thawing it first. I really don’t know how much frying of the fried rice Trader Joe’s does because it tastes more seasoned than fried but use pre-cooked brown rice or any rice you enjoy.
I coated the rice with a can of cream of mushroom soup and since cream-style soups are so thick, it created a cheesy texture without using cheese, which is nice in case you’ve eaten your fair share over the holidays. However, if you have shredded cheese and would like to use it, feel free to sprinkle a handful or two over the soup.
On top of the soup, I sprinkled a random assortment of produce-drawer vegetables over the rice. I used a combination of carrots, broccoli, and green beans. Most any vegetable including frozen peas, canned corn, fresh bell peppers, mushrooms, or onions will work. If you’re trying to work more vegetables into your life because you’re trying to get healthy in 2013, this is a perfect way to incorporate them. Plus, sneaking them into a frittata is one way to trick your kids or spouse into eating more, not that you’d ever want to trick them.
If you’d like to add some leftover shredded chicken, turkey, sausage, tofu, tempeh, previously cooked chickpeas or another favorite protein, go for it now. I’d go with a generous half-cup sprinkled over the vegetables.
Next, I beat four eggs and poured them over the top and then drizzled a couple tablespoons of olive oil for richness and flavor. I seasoned the frittata using Mrs. Dash Chipotle seasoning blend. Try anything from curry powder to cayenne pepper based on preferences. Prepared soup is quite salty and the frozen fried rice was already salted and seasoned so I omitted salt, but used a bit of black pepper.
I hoisted my heavy load into the oven and baked the frittata for 45 minutes. I pulled the skillet from the oven when the center had just barely set and wasn’t overly brown. Carryover heat from the hot skillet continues to cook the food, which is something to be mindful of when cooking with cast iron. Even when out of the oven, the food continues to cook as long as it remains in the cast iron. If you wait to pull food from the oven until it looks fully done, it will likely become over-done as it cools in the skillet.
I allowed the frittata to cool and set up in the skillet and then transferred the big golden disc to a cutting board, where I treated it as a ‘pizza’ and sliced it into six wedges. I’m on a roll with pizza lately. The wedges that weren’t eaten made great leftovers for lunch the following day. I reheated them in just a minute in the microwave. I love it when I can get two meals out of one cooking session. Cook once, eat twice; words to live by.
This was a hit with the family and it was packed with flavor from the rice, soup, and seasonings. The seasoned fried rice created a crusted rice base, and the vegetables that adorned it provided a bit of crunchy texture. The soup provided creaminess and a cheesy-like quality, minus the saturated fat. Scott liked that the eggs were creamy in the center and the edges stayed crispy and crunchy.
Skylar liked the pizza shape. Anything that’s shaped in the form of a slice of pizza slice is an automatic hit with kids.
I liked that it literally took me less than five minutes to prep and was a virtually no-work meal and healthier than a slice of this pie.
This is an easy vegetarian meal to toss together in just minutes, uses just one skillet, and is highly adaptable based on the what you have around and your preferences. The fried rice forms a crusty base, the creamy soup lends a cheesy quality, and the vegetables add healthy texture. The eggs and centers stays soft while the edges crisp up. A simple yet flavorful one skillet meal. The fritatta may be baked in a 9-by-9-inch pan or similar oven-safe baking dish.
4 cups fried rice, previously cooked (I use half of one 20-ounce bag of Trader Joe's frozen vegetable fried rice)
one 10.5-ounce can cream of mushroom soup (cream of chicken soup or other cream style soup may be substituted, such as celery or potato)
1/2 cup vegetables, diced (carrots, broccoli, corn, peas or a favorite; fresh, frozen, or canned)
1/2 cup previously cooked protein, diced and optional (beans, chicken, tofu, tempeh, pork, beef)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning blend (Mrs. Dash, Trader Joe's 21 Salute, Lowry's, or similar)
salt and pepper, optional and to taste (both the fried rice and soup are likely already quite salted)
Preheat oven to 375F and spray or grease a large oven-safe skillet (I use a Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 10-1/4-Inch Skillet , skillets from 9 to 12 inches in diameter will work). Add the rice to the skillet, covering the base in a flat layer (I don't bother unthawing the frozen fried rice and add it straight from bag to skillet). Sprinkle the vegetables and optional protein evenly over the rice. Add the soup and lightly spread it using a spatula because it's thick. Pour eggs evenly over the top of the soup. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with seasoning blend, and salt and pepper to taste.
Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until top is golden browned and set, and edges have crisped up. Remember that if cooking in cast iron, there is a notable carryover cooking effect so food will continue to cook in the skillet and don't wait to pull frittata from oven until it's very browned because with carryover cooking factored in, it will become very tough. Slice and serve immediately. Slice leftover fritatta into wedges and wrap in plasticwrap or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Vegetable Lasagna Casserole (vegan, GF) – A non-traditional lasagna that’s packed with texture and loaded with vegetables. The lasagna ‘noodle’ is a made from shredded carrots and zucchini, formed into a pancake, then topped with vegetables, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and baked. Easy to keep vegan, gluten-free, and a lightened up twist on traditional lasagna
Creamy and Crispy Hash Browns Frittata – Similar to today’s recipe, but instead of rice hash browns are used and it’s a fast brinner (breakfast-for-dinner) or brunch to throw together in virtually no time. The cream-style soup gives the frittata an almost cheesy-like quality. The eggs are creamy and the potatoes crisp up, creating both softness and a bit of crispy texture and crunch
Cheezy Vegetable Bake (vegan, GF) – A can of soup is also used in this easy, one-pan vegetable bake. Nutritional yeast provides a cheezy quality which allows the dish to remain vegan if other ingredients used are vegan. I go through so much nutritional yeast in everything from popcorn to kale chips and buy it from iHerb with my monthly order. Enter code AVE630 to save an additional $5 on your order
Spicy Baked Eggs and Hash Brown Frittata (vegetarian, GF)- Frozen spinach is incorporated in this easy and fast eggs with a slightly spicy kick
Cheesy Taco Casserole (gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan) – Like tacos, but baked into casserole form, complete with rice and beans. Makes planned leftovers that can be frozen for those nights you don’t have time or energy to make something from scratch. This one is a hit with the family
Spinach and Red Pepper Frittata – Red peppers, spinach, and eggs are used in this easy and flavorful quickie meal
Baked Chipotle Sweet Potato and Zucchini Fritters (vegetarian, GF) – Baking rather than frying grated zucchini and carrots makes for a healthier twist on traditional fried potato-based fritters, so you can have extra now
Do you have a favorite frittata recipe or cast iron or oven-safe skillet recipes?
What do you make for lighter or healthier dinners?
Fast and easy toss-together dinners using whatever is on hand or needs to be used up and baking it all in my cast iron skillet is one of my favorite tricks. You can make this recipe in an oven-safe baking dish or a 9-by-9-inch pan if you don’t have a skillet. I’m convinced that almost any combination of eggs, rice, potatoes, fresh or frozen vegetables, beans, corn, cheese or odds and ends will bake up just fine. We usually eat half of the batch one night, and then the day we’ve got lunches handled.
My cast iron skillet is jealous I’ve been using it for more savory items than Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Skillet Cookies
Have a great weekend!