Spring has arrived and with that comes a lot of occasions for lunches, brunches and other daytime get-togethers. Besides celebrating the longer days and warmer weather, there is also Mother’s Day, bridal showers and so many other special occasions. Not that you need an excuse to have brunch or to enjoy the delicious and beautiful dish that is the frittata. Frittatas are traditionally egg-based dishes with added cheese, vegetables, herbs and other ingredients. The word “frittata” is Italian for “fried” though frittatas are really baked in the oven. Vegan frittatas are egg-free and can be made with tofu or with chickpea flour for a soy-free version. What else you put in them is up to you. They are a great way to clean out the fridge and use up leftovers. The ingredients for the frittata should be cut in similar sizes and fully cooked and seasoned before being added or else they will release moisture and not fully develop their flavor. Here are 5 flavor combinations you might want to try in your next vegan frittata.
1. Spinach and Artichoke
Everyone loves spinach artichoke dip. Take those flavors and put them into a frittata. When I make my Spinach, Artichoke and Vegan Mozzarella Tofu Frittata, it’s always a hit. In a skillet, saute 4 cups chopped spinach and 2 cups chopped artichoke hearts with minced garlic, salt and pepper. In a large mixing bowl, crumble a block of pressed and drained extra-firm tofu into very small pieces. It should look like gravel. Add ¼ cup nutritional yeast, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. dried basil, 1 tsp. black salt, ½ tsp. black pepper and ½ tsp. turmeric and mix well. Add in the sauteed spinach and artichoke hearts along with ½ cup vegan mozzarella shreds. Mix everything well with a spatula or your hands. Transfer the mixture to an oiled 9-inch pie pan and pack it in tight. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes until the top is browned and the frittata is firm. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. This will help the frittata release from the pan. Place a plate over frittata and holding both plates, flip the frittata onto the dinner place. Slice and serve.
2. Seasonal Asparagus
Asparagus comes into season in spring and it makes a wonderful filling for a frittata. Roasting the asparagus with garlic makes them savory. To make Roasted Garlic-Asparagus Frittata: trim 1-lb. asparagus by picking up a spear and bending it gently. Where it breaks naturally is where you want to cut all the spears to get rid of the woody tip. Arrange the spears in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, toss in a few thinly sliced garlic cloves and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees until lightly browned and tender, about 10-15 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. The garlic should be slightly browned and crispy. Chop the asparagus into small pieces and add them to your frittata mix with ½ cup vegan provolone or other cheese. Cook the frittata as described above.
3. Mixed Vegetables
Frittatas are a great way to use whatever veggies you have on hand. They also let you use a variety of vegetables so you don’t have to choose just one. Pick all summer veggies or make it a root vegetable frittata. It’s up to you and anything goes. Just remember you need to cook the veggies before adding them to your frittata mix. This Vegetable Frittata made with tofu has a Mediterranean flavor profile with sauteed zucchini, tomatoes, red bell peppers, basil and Kalamata olives. This Roasted Vegetable Frittata made with chickpea flour has roasted pumpkin, cauliflower and tomatoes. Choose a variety of different colored vegetables for the most beautiful presentation.
One of my favorite tofu scrambles that I make is my Mexican Tofu Scramble. It’s filled with black beans, red bell peppers, green chiles, cilantro and lots of Mexican spices like cumin, coriander and Mexican chile powder. To make a Mexican Frittata: heat 1 Tbs. oil in a skillet and saute 3 chopped scallions, 1 chopped red bell pepper and 2 minced garlic cloves. Add 1 can of green chiles and 2 cups of cooked black beans to the pan. Season with 1 tsp. each ground cumin, coriander, Mexican chile powder, paprika, dried oregano and black salt, ½ tsp. ground turmeric and cook until the liquid from the beans is absorbed. Add this filling to the frittata mix, add ½ cup vegan cheddar or pepper jack cheese, ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro and cook as described above. For another recipe, try this Oil-Free Mexican Frittata.
5. Potato, Rosemary and Tempeh Bacon
In my pre-vegan days, my favorite breakfast was a mozzarella omelet with home fries and a side of bacon. That’s still my favorite breakfast only now I make it completely plant-based. Those same flavors and ingredients can be used to make a hearty frittata that everyone will love. To make my Potato, Rosemary and Tempeh Bacon Frittata: heat olive oil in a skillet and infuse the oil with one clove of crushed garlic. Thinly slice 1 lb. of small red or Yukon gold potatoes and add them to the skillet. Let them cook until they brown on both sides, about 6 minutes. Add 1 chopped onion and season with 1 tsp. dried rosemary, kosher salt and pepper. Continue to cook everything until the onions are softened and the potatoes are fork-tender, about 4 more minutes. When they are done, add the filling to the frittata mix along with 6-8 chopped pieces of tempeh bacon and vegan cheddar, mozzarella or pepper jack cheese. Cook as described above. For a delicious tempeh bacon recipe, try the one used in this Tempeh Bacon Bowl. If you want a different type of vegan bacon, try making it out of eggplant, beets, shitake mushrooms or coconut.
Frittatas are the kind of dish where almost anything goes. You can play around with different ingredients, herbs and spices to make frittatas with different ethnic flavor profiles or keep it sweet and simple. Serve one at your next brunch with my Tips for Hosting a Plant-Based Brunch That Anyone Will Love. Once you start making your own vegan frittatas, I guarantee it will become a favorite you’ll make again and again.
Lead Image Photo: Tofu Frittata With Smoky Eggplant Salsa