Historically, eggs have been considered unhealthy because they contain cholesterol. A large egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, which is a lot compared to most other foods.
However, it has been proven that eggs and dietary cholesterol do NOT adversely affect cholesterol levels in the blood.
Research published early in 2013 looked at 17 prospective studies on egg consumption and health. They discovered that eggs had no association with either heart disease or stroke in otherwise healthy people.
Eggs are particularly rich in two antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthine. These antioxidants gather in the retina of the eye and protect against eye diseases, such as, Macular Degeneration and Cataracts.
Eggs contain high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, good fats and various trace nutrients.
A large egg contains:
Only 77 calories, with 5 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein with all 9 essential amino acids.
Rich in iron, phosphorous, selenium and vitamins A, B12, B2 and B5.
One egg contains 113 mg of Choline – a very important nutrient for the brain, among other things. A study revealed that 90% of Americans may not get enough choline in their diet.
If you decide to include eggs in your diet then make sure to eat Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs. They are much more nutritious than eggs from factory-raised chickens.
Eggs score high on a scale called the Satiety Index, which means that eggs are particularly capable of making you feel full, so you eat less calories.
Eggs only contain trace amounts of carbohydrates, which means that they will not raise blood glucose levels.
In a study of 30 overweight or obese women that ate either a bagel or eggs for breakfast, the egg group ended up eating less during lunch, the rest of the day and for the next 36 hours.
In another study, overweight men and women were calorie-restricted (340 calorie breakfast) and given either a breakfast of 2 eggs or a bagel. After 8 weeks, the egg eating group had:
61% greater reduction in BMI.
65% more weight loss.
34% greater reduction in waist circumference.
16% greater reduction in body fat.
…even though both breakfasts contained the same number of calories.
It is also essential to keep in mind that while eggs themselves can be considered healthy, they are often prepared in unhealthy forms and mixed with ingredients high in saturated fat and calories, for example scrambled eggs made with cream and butter.
For best results, use low fat cooking methods such as poaching, sauteeing or boiling to get maximum nutrition without adding extra unhealthy fat or calories.
Here are low-fat healthy ways to cook eggs.
Fill a saucepan with water, add some salt and boil your eggs depending on how you like them. For soft-boiled cook for approximately five to six minutes. For hard-boiled eggs cook eggs for about ten minutes.
Scrambled eggs can be cooked in several different ways.
You can cook them in a greased skillet. Break two eggs in a bowl and add 2-3 tablespoons milk; whisk the eggs until the mixture turns yellow.
Place skillet on medium heat, add egg mixture and stir until the mixture starts to bubble slightly, after a while the mixture will start to thicken and look like scrambled eggs.
To do this in the microwave is a similar process but use a microwaveable container. Microwave on full power for about four to five minutes, stirring half way through.
Break two eggs into a large measuring cup and use a fork to whisk them together, until you have a yellow mixture.
Put a skillet on medium heat, add 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the mixture and cook it until it looks like a pancake. Turn once during cooking.
Boil some water in a saucepan or deep skillet and add salt and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Slowly lower the heat in order to simmer the water and carefully break an egg into the pan and simmer until the egg has turned white. With a slotted spoon take out the egg and serve on toast.
Pesto, Mozzarella & Egg Breakfast Sandwich
- 1 whole-wheat English muffin
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons chopped roasted red pepper
- 1 teaspoon prepared pesto
- 1 thin slice fresh mozzarella cheese
Toast English muffin.
Combine egg and roasted red pepper in a small (about 8-ounce) microwave-safe ramekin or bowl.
Cover and microwave until the egg is set, about 1 minute.
Spread pesto on 1 English muffin half, then top with cheese.
Place the egg on the cheese. Top with the remaining English muffin half.
Breakfast Pita Pocket
Try substituting broccoli or asparagus for the spinach and add mushrooms, sausage or veggie sausage, if you like.
Use warm whole wheat tortillas or naan in place of the pitas.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 cups packed baby spinach (or 1 cup frozen, then thawed and squeezed)
- 3 organic eggs, beaten
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese or Sargento Italian
- 2 whole wheat pitas, warm
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Heat oil, add spinach and cook, tossing often, until just wilted, about 1 minute.
Add eggs, salt and pepper and cook, tossing gently, until fluffy and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove from heat, add mozzarella and toss again.
Spoon egg mixture onto pitas, fold in half and serve right away or wrap in foil to eat on the go.
- 6 Eggs
- 2 cups chopped cooked vegetables and/or meat
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil or chives
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, beat eggs and stir in vegetables and/or meat, cheese, herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add oil and carefully swirl around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the skillet.
Add egg mixture, spread out evenly and cook, without stirring, until the edges and bottom are set and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. (Carefully loosen an edge to test.)
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until eggs are completely set and frittata is deep golden brown on the bottom, about 15 minutes more.
Remove the skillet from the oven. (The handle will be hot!) Loosen edges and bottom of frittata with a table knife and spatula; carefully invert onto a large plate.
Serve warm, at room temperature or cold, cut into wedges.
Individual Egg & Cheese Casseroles
- 4 ounces raw turkey breakfast sausage
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup Fat Free Milk
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 10 tablespoons shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
- Non-Stick Cooking Spray
Cook and stir sausage in a skillet until browned and crumbled. Add onion and cook until onion is softened. Set aside.
Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in milk.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Mix dry ingredients gradually into egg mixture by sprinkling a spoonful at a time into the egg mixture and whisking until smooth before adding another spoonful.
Divide egg mixture among five (5-ounce) ramekins that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Divide sausage among casseroles. Top each casserole with 2 tablespoons shredded cheese. Use a fork to lightly submerge cheese into egg mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the individual casseroles comes out clean.
Healthy Eggs Benedict
Makes 2 servings
- 1 whole-grain English muffin, split
- 2 large, whole eggs
- 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp powdered mustard
- Sea salt, to taste
- Dash cayenne pepper
- 6 asparagus stalks, cooked
- Parsley for garnish (optional)
Fill a medium skillet with 1-inch of water, bring to a boil over medium heat.
Meanwhile, toast muffin halves and set aside.
When the water reaches a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, crack one egg at a time into a small dish and gently pour into the simmering water and cook until desired doneness, three to five minutes.
While the eggs cook, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, mustard, salt and cayenne pepper in a small saucepan over low heat; heat until warm – do not boil.
To serve, place a toasted muffin half on each serving plate and top with three pieces of asparagus. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove eggs from the water and place one on each muffin; drizzle half the yogurt sauce on top and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.
- The Incredible, Edible Egg (fillyourplate.org)
- HEALTHY Egg McMuffin (katieconquers.wordpress.com)
- Good Health = Eating at Least on Egg Daily! a Must Read! (pathwaytoascension.wordpress.com)
Sometimes, cooking for one or two may seem like it’s not worth the trouble; however, everyone needs a variety of foods to stay healthy. Homemade meals usually are more nutritious, better tasting and more economical, compared with restaurant meals. Planning makes a difference in eating healthy meals. Set a goal to plan menus for a week at a time, and incorporate your “planned-overs.” For example, making a small roast on Sunday could provide the meat for a sandwich on Monday and a vegetable beef stir-fry on Tuesday. To help plan, read your recipes ahead of time and refer to the grocery store flyers for other ideas. Organize your shopping list based on the grocery store layout. Keep a list handy in the kitchen, so jotting down when you need flour, sugar or other items is easy.
- Cook a batch and freeze single portions. For example, make a casserole or stew and freeze individual-size servings. Then take out only the amount of food you need. Be sure to write the date and contents on packages and move older packages forward as you add food to your freezer.
- Prepare one-dish meals. For quick and simple cooking, choose a dish that serves as the whole meal. Look for dishes that include items from several food groups, such as meats, whole grains, legumes and vegetables. Healthy examples include beef, barley and vegetable stew; chicken, vegetable and rice casserole; turkey and bean casserole; and vegetarian chili.
- Use extras wisely. Plan meals so that you can use the extra food in new dishes. For example, cook rice and use as a side dish for one meal and the remainder in a casserole or rice pudding. Bake chicken for a meal and use the leftovers in sandwiches or soup, or toss with greens, dried fruit and nuts for a salad. Or make a meatloaf mixture and bake some as a meatloaf and freeze the uncooked portion to use later in stuffed peppers.
- An economical strategy is to buy a family pack of chicken breasts, marinate them overnight in light salad dressing, then grill them. Slice the grilled chicken and portion it into airtight freezer bags. Then, the chicken portions to make pasta, tacos, barbeque chicken sandwiches, chicken salad, chicken Caesar salad, etc. Preparing dinner is a cinch when the chicken is already cooked!
Reduce The Number Of Servings
Choose recipes that fit with your tastes and time requirements. Whether you’re a 20-something single person or an “empty nester couple” with grown children, you don’t need to throw out your favorite family recipes. You can adapt many of them to fit your current household size.
Try these tips to help reduce your recipes:
• Choose recipes that are easy to divide mathematically. Consult The Reducing Table, below, to help you reduce the number of servings in recipes.
• If a recipe calls for a can of beans or soup and you would like to divide the recipe in half, use what you need and either refrigerate or freeze the remaining food. Label the container with the contents and date.
• Add seasonings gradually. Sometimes you may need to add more (or less) to reach the desired flavor.
• Check for doneness of halved recipes five to 10 minutes sooner than the original recipe.
• Keep notes about what works — and what doesn’t!
Table For Reducing Ingredients
When the recipe calls for use:
1/4 cup…………….. 2 tablespoons
1/3 cup…………….. 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons
1/2 cup…………….. 1/4 cup
2/3 cup…………….. 1/3 cup
3/4 cup…………….. 6 tablespoons
1 tablespoon…….. 1 1/2 teaspoons
1 teaspoon……….. 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon…….. 1/4 teaspoon
Making One-third of a Recipe
1/4 cup…………….. 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon
1/3 cup…………….. 1 tablespoon + 2 1/3 teaspoons
Another key to quick, nutritious meals is to keep a variety of foods in your freezer, refrigerator, and pantry. Whether you’re thinking about a pasta dish, salad, pizza, soup, sandwich, stew, or omelet, a well-stocked kitchen makes preparation fast and easy. In addition to lean meat, poultry, and fish, stock these tried-and-true ingredients:
- Whole-wheat rolls
- Bags of frozen fruits and vegetables
- Pre-cooked chicken strips
- Pizza shells
- Lean meats, poultry, and seafood
- Frozen entrees
- Canned and dry beans, peas, and lentils
- Whole-grain pasta, rice, and other grains
- Pasta sauce, pesto, tomatoes
- Dried and canned fruits
- Canned vegetables
- Nuts, seeds
- Salad dressings, oils, vinegar, and mustard
- Dry sauce mixes
- Jarred peppers, olives
- Whole-grain bread and crackers
- Canned fish in water
- Dairy foods — yogurt; cheese; skim or low-fat milk
- Fresh fruits, vegetables
- Pre-washed salads in bags
- Light margarine
- 100% fruit juice
2 servings, 2 cups each
- 4 small red potatoes, (1- to 2-inch diameter), quartered
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tilapia fillet, diced (about 5 ounces) or whatever fish is available
- 4 ounces bay scallops, patted dry
- 1 small sweet onion, sliced
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
- 1-2 teaspoons hot paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 plum tomatoes, diced
Place potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add tilapia and scallops; cook, stirring once or twice, until just opaque, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and onion to the pan and stir to coat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, add Italian seasoning, paprika to taste, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine, water and tomatoes; bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the fish, scallops, potatoes and capers (if using), return to a simmer and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
Fusilli with Italian Sausage & Arugula
2 servings, 2 cups each
- 4 ounces whole-wheat pasta, such as shells or fusilli
- 4 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage, removed from casing
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 cups arugula, or baby spinach
- 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano, or Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package directions.
Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic, arugula (or spinach) and tomatoes. Cook, stirring often, until the greens wilt and the tomatoes begin to break down, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and keep warm.
Combine cheese, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Measure out 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid; drain the pasta. Whisk the cooking liquid and oil into the cheese mixture; add the pasta and toss to combine. Serve the pasta topped with the sausage-arugula mixture.
Baked Sea Scallops
- 8 sea scallops, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons butter or Smart Balance Spread, melted
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 shallot, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Lemon wedges for garnish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place scallops, melted butter, garlic, and shallots in a bowl. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stir gently to combine. Transfer to a casserole dish.
In a separate bowl, combine bread crumbs and olive oil. Sprinkle some under and on top of scallops.
Bake in preheated oven until crumbs are brown and scallops are done, about 11 to 14 minutes. Top with parsley and serve with lemon wedges on the side.
Add a side of whole-wheat pasta, a salad and a glass of Pinot Noir.
- 2 turkey or pork or chicken cutlets, (8 ounces), pounded thin
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 1- 6-ounce bag baby spinach
- 1/4 cup finely shredded Fontina cheese
- 1 teaspoon butter
Position oven rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat broiler.
Sprinkle both sides of the cutlets with flour. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cutlets and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the cutlets to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and shallot to the pan; cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add sherry and spinach; cook, stirring constantly, until the spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Carefully mound equal portions of the spinach on top of the cutlets. Transfer the spinach-topped cutlet and any accumulated juices to the pan. Top the spinach with cheese and transfer to the oven. Broil until the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
Transfer the melts to 2 plates. Add the butter to the pan and whisk into the juices over medium-high heat until melted, about 30 seconds. Drizzle over the melts.
Eggs for Two
This combination of eggs braised in tomato sauce served on crusty bread is unusual but delicious. You might also try it over angel hair pasta.
Serve with broccoli or broccoli rabe.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 1/2 ounce pancetta, chopped (optional)
- 1 cup prepared marinara sauce
- 2 large eggs
- 3 large fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 slices whole-wheat country bread, toasted
Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and pancetta (if using). Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add marinara and adjust heat to maintain a simmer. Crack an egg into a small bowl, taking care not to break the yolk. Make a well in the sauce roughly large enough to hold the egg and slip it in so that the yolk and most of the white is contained (some white may spread out).
Repeat with the remaining egg, spacing the eggs around the pan. Sprinkle the sauce with basil; cover and cook until the eggs are the desired doneness, 6 to 8 minutes for medium-set. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with Parmesan and pepper.
To serve, top each slice of toasted bread with an egg and sauce.
I have read that Italian breakfasts are very light, usually consisting of coffee (espresso) or cappuccino and some kind of pastry or bread. Biscotti are also favorites for an Italian breakfast. Biscotti are a, not too sweet cookie, that is baked, cut, then baked again to form slices of hard biscuits that are often dunked in coffee. Egg dishes, such as frittatas, are usually eaten at lunch or dinner, never for breakfast.
I can remember going to my grandparents’ home around breakfast time and my grandfather would be having a cup of coffee and eating the heel end from a loaf of Italian bread. This was pretty much his usual breakfast. I am not sure when Italian-Americans began eating specialty pastries from a bakery, but I can remember Italian bakeries were numerous where I grew up in New Jersey. I think the tradition of going to the Italian bakery came about when folks who had just come from church services wanted a special breakfast on Sunday. I can remember long lines at the bakery counter, didn’t like standing there, but liked those pastries. My grandfather even got into the habit and would bring us pastries when he visited us on Sundays. He continued the tradition when my children were little and brought us pastries up until the time that he died. Some of those delicious pastries (just wanted to make you drool) are pictured below. Of course you know they are not a healthy choice.
I recall that most of my breakfasts growing up were the usual cereal and scrambled eggs. Very American. My mother, however, often made traditional Italian style egg dishes, such as potatoes and eggs, or peppers and eggs or spinach frittata and I will share those recipes with you. My children weren’t so fond of fritattas when they were growing up, but they like them now as adults, so I like to make frittatas for breakfast when they visit.
A frittata is a healthy and economical dish that you can eat for any meal of the day. It is a dish similar to a French quiche, an American omelette, or a Spanish tortilla. Frittatas generally consist of eggs, vegetables, cheese, and herbs.
In my house, the contents of a frittata usually consist of whatever leftovers I have in the refrigerator that day. Italians are frugal and know how to use leftovers creatively.
You will want to pick items that have a natural affinity for each other. Think of things that you might find on a plate together anyway, or on a pizza and cheese is a key ingredient in any frittata. Making this dish is very simple as long as you have an ovenproof skillet. Sauté whatever veggies you are putting into the dish and heat through any cooked meat leftovers.
Here are some ideas:
- 1 pound of asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces and sautéed until soft, 2 diced plum tomatoes and 4 ounces of diced or shredded Fontina.
- A bag of cleaned spinach cooked in a skillet with olive oil, salt and pepper, 1/4 pound sliced Prosciutto, some grated Parmesan cheese and some shredded Mozzarella cheese
- I prefer to use reduced fat shredded cheeses from Kraft or Sargento and substitute half of the eggs with egg substitute to save on calories.
General techniques include
- Turn on the broiler. Place a non-stick skillet with an oven safe handle on the stove over medium heat.
- Heat the pan and add 1 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is hot add the frittata vegetables, stirring until warm, and then pour the eggs beaten with the egg substitute over the vegetables.
- Slowly cook the frittata until the edges start to firm up. When the frittata is cooked about three-quarters of the way through, scatter the top with shredded cheese and move it to the heated broiler.
- Set the frittata about 6-inches below the broiler.
- When it is just golden brown and puffed up, remove the skillet to your stove top.
- BE SURE TO PROTECT THE HOT HANDLE WITH A HOT PAD SO YOU DO NOT BURN YOUR HANDS!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
- 5 eggs and 1 1/4 cups egg substitute
- 8 ounces chopped raw spinach (or 1-10 oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry)
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat oil in a 10 or 12 inch skillet with a heat-resistant handle over medium heat. Saute onion in the oil until golden, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the mozzarella cheese. Whisk until well blended. Pour egg mixture into skillet with onions and spinach. Return to low heat and cook 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle the top with shredded mozzarella cheese and place under the broiler. Remove when the top is golden brown and cut into wedges.
Some Traditional Italian Style Egg Dishes
Peppers and Eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup thinly sliced green pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced red pepper
4 large eggs beaten with 1 cup egg substitute (such as, Egg Beaters)
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Add the garlic and sauté until lightly golden.
Add the peppers, cook 10-15 minutes until they begin to soften.
Cover skillet and cook 5 more minutes until they are tender.
Mix the eggs, oregano, salt and pepper together and por over the peppers in the skillet.
Stir fry the eggs and peppers to allow the uncooked portions to reach the bottom of the skillet.
Remove from heat when the eggs are done to your liking.
Potatoes and Eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
1 medium onion, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 large eggs beaten with 1 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Heat the oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the potatoes until tender and golden brown. Add the onion and salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the onion is soft, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the egg mixture to the potatoes and onions. Stir fry the mixture turning the ingredients with a spatula over and under until the eggs look cooked to your liking.
Completing the Breakfast Menu
The best accompaniments to the egg dishes featured here are bread and fruit, such as, melon or berries. Certainly a loaf of Italian bread would be good, but I like to serve Focaccia.
Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread which may be topped with herbs or other ingredients.
Focaccia is popular in Italy and is usually seasoned with olive oil and salt, and sometimes herbs, and may be topped with onion, cheese, meat, or vegetables.
Focaccia dough is similar in style and texture to pizza dough but is usually baked in a deep dish pan. The bread bakes up thicker than pizza and can be used for sandwiches.
In Ancient Rome, foccacia, was a flat bread baked in the ashes of the fireplace. The word is derived from the Latin word meaning “centre” and also “fireplace” – the fireplace being in the centre of the house. As the tradition spread, the diverse regions and the different local ingredients resulted in a large variety of breads. The basic recipe is thought by some to have originated with the Etruscans or ancient Greeks, but today it is widely associated with Ligurian cuisine, a coastal region of north-western Italy. In America, it is referred to as focaccia bread.
Here is a recipe I have adapted from King Arthur.
This bread is just about the easiest home-baked bread recipe that I have found because it can be made without kneading and is ready in under 2 hours.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (plus 2 tablespoons for drizzling)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
- 1 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- Italian seasoning or other herbs of choice
- Grated parmesan cheese
Drizzle the bottom of a 9″x 13″ pan with 1 tablespoons olive oil.
Combine all of the ingredients and beat at high-speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds.
Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan. If you spray a spatula (or your fingers) with cooking spray, the dough will be easier to smooth out.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
Gently poke the dough all over with your index finger. Drizzle it lightly 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with Italian seasoning and grated parmesan cheese.
Bake the bread until it is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove it from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.