By Meri Raffetto, Wendy Jo Peterson

Eggs are eaten often in the Mediterranean and are a great breakfast choice because they’re a wonderful source of protein and offer other healthy vitamins and minerals.

Although they’re high in cholesterol, eating eggs in moderation hasn’t proven to have any adverse effects on heart health. In fact, a review of 224 studies carried out over the last 25 years has determined that eating eggs daily didn’t raise cholesterol levels. Don’t get too excited, because some information with other studies contradicts this info, and it’s still recommended that the average healthy person limit dietary cholesterol to 300 milligrams per day. One large egg has 213 milligrams of cholesterol, all in the yolk, making eggs an okay food to eat in moderation.

If you have high cholesterol or heart disease, be sure to follow your physician’s specific recommendations in regard to this diet and eggs because every person’s situation is unique.

People of the Mediterranean often use egg scrambles and frittatas as a way to use up leftovers, which is a great idea. Not only does it save you money by not wasting food, but it’s also a great way to sneak in some vegetables.

Zucchini and Goat Cheese Frittata

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

2 medium zucchinis

8 eggs

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1⁄8 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the zucchinis into 1/4-inch-thick round slices. In a large bowl whisk the eggs with the milk, salt, and pepper.
  2. In a heavy, ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the zucchini slices and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the whisked eggs over the zucchini and stir for 1 minute. Top with the cheese and transfer to the oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the eggs are set. Remove the pan from the oven and let sit for 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the frittata to a cutting board, slice into four pie wedges, and serve hot or at room temperature.

PER SERVING: Calories 134 (From Fat 72); Fat 8g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 11mg; Sodium 324mg; Carbohydrate 4g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 12g.

You can use yellow squash in place of the zucchini.

Dilled Eggs

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup onion, minced

8 eggs

2 tablespoons fresh dill

2 ounces feta, crumbled

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes, until softened. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and then pour them into the pan.
  2. Whisk the eggs in the pan, breaking each yolk. Stir the eggs every 30 seconds until they set and are firm.
  3. Add in the dill and cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

PER SERVING: Calories 103 (From Fat 59); Fat 7g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 13mg; Sodium 268mg; Carbohydrate 2g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 9g.

You can replace the feta with goat cheese. Using goat cheese adds a slightly milder taste but keeps the delicious flavor.

If you prefer a more scrambled egg, simply beat the raw eggs in a small bowl first and then cook them as you would scrambled eggs. The figure explains how to mince an onion.

mediterranean-onion
Illustration by Liz Kurtzman

Mincing an onion is a good skill to know.