Kale Frittata

kale frittata

Every so often I get requests for “healthy” recipes, or I see things online posted as “healthy” – and I’m not quite sure what the heck people are talking about. What is healthy? My idea of healthy eating is eating fresh foods – some eggs, cheese, and meat, poultry, and fish, along with fruit and vegetables. Buying foods that you prepare yourself so you know what’s in them, to me, ensures you’ll be eating “healthy.” But if you want to only eat good things, the best way to do it is just shop and cook for yourself, so you know what you’re eating.

Kale frittata

My “diet” used to be – “I can eat anything I want, as long as I walk there to eat it, and walk home.” Which seemed sensible to me at the time. Although the walks to my corner bakery for an éclair au chocolat became a little more frequent, so I had to come up with a better plan.

Kale frittata

Another of my ideas about healthy eating is to eat things like sausage and bacon, if you want, but use them as seasoning rather than pulling up to a giant plate of meat. (Which I’ve been known to succumb to from time-to-time, or cheese.) It also means using ingredients intelligently. If you’re going to eat cheese, eat very good cheese.

chorizo

And here, I used a sharp cheese, which has a lot of flavor and a little goes a long way. Smoked cheese is another good addition. Ditto with sausage; this chorizo I had on hand is very spicy and just a handful, chopped into little bits, flavored my entire frittata nicely.

This is a bit thinner than other frittatas (similar to tortillas in Spain), and is reminiscent of the French crespeou or crespeù, a Provençal quick-cooked frittata that’s thinner than its Northern French counterparts.

Kale frittata Kale frittata

I always have tons of (healthy) egg whites in my refrigerator because I make so much ice cream (which is healthy too – uh, right?), and blend them with a few whole eggs for richness of flavor. I had some sautéed kale on hand and used a generous mound of that in there, too. But you can use any sautéed greens, or swap out the sausage for something like smoked tofu (or leave it out), and mix up the herbs to suit your taste.

À votre santé!

Kale frittata

Kale Frittata

Serves 6

In Europe, chorizo is a cured spicy sausage that doesn’t require cooking (it’s different from Mexican chorizo.) You can use any cooked sausage, or crumbled bacon or smoked tofu, in its place.

I used sage, thyme and flat-leaf parsley since I had them on hand. Chives would be great if you have them, but avoid rosemary, or use it in small doses as a little goes a long way.

There is an ongoing debate about cast-iron versus non-stick and I’ve concluded that each has their place. If you use a cast-iron skillet, note that the pan tends to retain heat and get very hot. So be a little extra vigilant to make sure the frittata is not burning on the bottom after you add the eggs. If using a non-stick pan, I’ve had good luck with the new generation of “green” non-stick cookware, although if you plan to run it under the broiler or finish it in a hot oven, check to make sure that temperature the manufacturer recommends heating it to.

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) egg whites, about 4 (see Note)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, peeled and minced, or 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup (90g) sautéed kale
  • 1/3 cup (40g) finely diced cooked sausage (smoked or spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs; any combination of parsley, sage, thyme, parsley, or chervil
  • 1/2 cup (50g) grated cheese (smoked or sharp)

1. Mix the eggs and egg whites in a bowl with a fork, seasoning them with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a 10-inch (23cm) cast iron or non-stick skillet. Add the shallots or scallions and cook until soft and wilted, then stir in the cooked kale, sausage, and herbs. Season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until everything is nicely cooked together. Add the cheese and pour the egg mixture into the pan.

3. Use a spoon to coax the eggs around the kale and sausage so that it’s evenly dispersed. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, then run a spatula around the edges to loosen it from the pan. (At the same time, if you can lift a little of the bottom while the frittata is cooking, it’s a good idea to make sure that it’s browning, but not burning. After loosening the sides, wearing oven mitts, invert a large dinner plate over the top of the skillet and flip both the pan and the plate over simultaneously being careful of the hot skillet. Then slide the frittata, cooked-side up, back into the pan and cook for another minute or so.

(Alternatively, instead of flipping the frittata, you can run it under the broiler or put it in a very hot oven, until the top is cooked.)

4. When done, slice the frittata onto a serving platter. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cool.

Serving: You can serve the frittata with a side salad or it’s very good cold, served with cold white wine or rosé, or sparkling cider before a meal.

Storage: The frittata will keep up to one day refrigerated.



Note: If you wish, you can use 6 large eggs (total) in place of the 3 eggs and 1/2 cup of egg whites.


Related Links

Kimchi Omelet

Recipes for Using Leftover Egg Whites

Sautéed Kale (Simply Recipes)

Paris Kale Map (via The Kale Project)

74 comments

  • Fabulous! I have some fresh kale brought to me just yesterday by a co-worker and was wondering what I could do with it besides the usual. We’re in for a rainy, cool weekend (much appreciated because we’re in a terrible drought) and this looks like just the thing to make! When making any egg based dish I always use my mother’s cast iron skillet (60+years old) as it’s seasoned so well it’s even better than non-stick. Beautiful pictures! Thanks for the new idea for using my kale.

  • My wife and I love kale, and your Frittata recipe will be added to our kale recipes. Another fabulous blogpost David, and your photography is stunning as always!

  • It’s still fresh kale season here in Germany and it’s great to have another way to use this so yummy veggie. In a few weeks, we’ll no longer be able to get it fresh. Great timing! Thanks!!

  • I use a cookie sheet rather than a dinner plate for flipping. First swipe the cookie sheet with a very little oil (on a paper towel) if you think it might stick. Frittata slides back into pan like magic.

  • Beautiful recipe and what a great “healthy eating” advice! After 2 years in London with access to amazing European cheeses and meats I know it’s time to re-think our go-to ‘meat and cheese dinners’. Although I could never give them up completely I could use them sparingly. Thanks for being ever so inspirational!

  • This frittata sounds lovely! Awesome recipe!

  • I can’t wait to try this recipe. I eat eggs every day, so I look forward to tasting this! As always, gorgeous photos. Thanks.

  • This would be nice with spring greens instead of kale – might try that! And I so agree – eating healthily means buying ingredients rather than prepared food, and eating real food rather than edible food-like substances!

  • I am constantly telling people who ask me “how can you eat anything you want and stay slim?” that what’s important is to eat real food. Unfortunately too many people believe what they read on food packaging: “Healthy,” “Low-fat,” “Diet”. What they don’t get is that all of that is processed food that does nothing good for their bodies. I’d much rather eat a healthy slice of this frittata, cheese and all, than any “healthy” pre-processed, pre-packaged meal any day.

  • I’ve found that frittatas like this are a good way to use up that last bit of slightly wilted arugula in the fridge. Still too good to throw away but not really fresh enough for salad, this seems to happen on a monthly basis (I buy it loose rather than bunched at Rainbow Co-op in SF.) I’m also a fan of good cheese, and frittata is a thrifty way to use up those bits and ends of cheese (slice off the rind) that invariable accumulate. Like this 3/8″ of Parmeggiano-Reggiano I’m looking at.

  • KALE? how fabulous! makes up for the delicious salted caramel chocolate tartlet (from an earlier post) a friend gave me earlier today…

  • Hi David
    Can you tell me what kale is in french & can you get it at Richard Lenoir market? Thanks.

  • Or, you can use a cookie sheet and not risk breaking a plate.

  • Aha! Kale is my go-to when I cook eggs. They seem to pair nicely as the kale is not too tender like spinach or chard and not too broccoli-flavored like collards. But I’ve never tried the chorizo with it! I’m all about the breakfast egg, and this would be a nice change from my usual kale and cilantro pesto scramble. Good thinking.

  • So I’m thinking my kebab – frites pizza is not what you’re talking about here…

    Seriously, thanks for the tips. I especially liked the one about using chorizo as a flavor enhancer rather than the main course.

  • I have a similar view of ‘healthy’ eating as you – home made with little or no processed foods is healthy in my eyes. I often get put off by food which is totted as ‘healthy’, food should be focused on tasty and not healthy. I would rather not eat then eat something blah but I also believe in everything in moderation…

  • Thank you for your first paragraph! Food is for nutrition. Know what you’re eating. People get it so twisted.

  • Always looking for a way to use up egg whites. This looks great! Thanks.

  • This is so great! Thank you!

  • Thank you always your recettes. I live in Paris. Could you let me know where we can buy kale in Paris?

    • I posted a link to a “kale map” at the end of the post, which lists which markets and producers in Paris have kale.

      They also have it (seasonally) at Le Retour à la Terre and I get it from La Ruche qui dit oui! – it goes by a variety of names, including kale, chou frisé, chou hollandais, and chou plume.

      • Thank you so much for the kale map !! One of my friends who lives in USA came to Paris and she was looking for kale. I can let her know this bonne nouvelle. Merci.

  • Picard is sooo tempting in Paris I’ve almost forgotten how to cook – a great alternative and I think I saw kale in my marche…Will hunt it down.

  • To flip the frittata I was taught to use an equal or slightly bigger pan. I use 2 inexpensive ceramic coated pans and they work well without burning the eggs. (because they don’t retain the heat)

    thanks for all your good recipes!

  • My mother always used to make frittatas for lazy Sunday brunches in our family. And since I did not douse them with maple syrup, I’ve always found them to be a rather healthful way to start the day. Especially because she put lots of broccoli in them. And garlic. (Side note we once when food shopping together for our respective apartments and she was shocked when I did not buy any garlic. For her a couple heads of garlic a week is the bare minimum of garlic intake. One of the many ways I’m just beginning to resemble my mother.)

    Wonderful recipe, but also loved your points about mindful eating versus “healthy” eating. I’ve always found it so much easier to pay attention to the food I’m eating rather than cut something out because it is “bad”. Especially with meat and cheese. Although I may still eat too much cheese sometimes…

  • Looks great! Always looking for new kale recipes. My new favourite is crumbling roasted kale on top of chicken chilli…yum.
    As far as healthy…everything in moderation and cook your own food vs packaged junk from the shops. I go through phases where I eat a lot of one thing ( like your croissant trips) but I find you tire of it eventually. That’s what I tell myself.

  • Love kale frittatas—I add mushrooms, dill and feta instead of sausage! YUM! Would love to see some recipes to use up left over egg yolks since I can’t eat much ice cream!

  • Kale is the new pork belly

  • David, in today’s Montreal Gazette there is a wonderful full-page interview with you by Lesley Chestermann. You look quite svelte in the large photo, so I think you must be eating right!

    Enjoying your dessert cookbook!

  • Love your combo, David. And so glad to see you use fewer eggs, as I do (http://comfybelly.com/2012/12/kale-skillet-frittata/)

  • Hi David:

    Thanks for a “healthy” recipe that I can share with families on my websites. I love frittatas because they make a delicious meal with protein and vegetables in one dish. They are delicious hot out of the skilled or cold at a picnic the next day. A perfect family dish indeed!

    Donna

  • I just used my leftover spinach and mushrooms and followed to rest of your steps. Yum! It made for a HEALTHFUL meal. I am married to an English professor. As a rule of thumb, If you can eat it, it is HEALTHFUL. if it is a lifestyle, like exercise, it is HEALTHY for you.

  • Thinking of you as I read about the fire at Chez Panisse: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/east_bay&id=9020265

  • David,
    Feta is amazing in this frittata, too. Then you need no salt. I also use a handful of fresh rucola, instead of kale. And for those who can’t eat lots of yolks (me), I use 3 whites to one yolk…but then I never know what to do with those yolks!!
    I love your work, never miss it ,especially for laughs, and today I’m going to make your puy lentils.

    Thanks so much, Lucy

  • I just love how you mixed chorizo with kale and egg whites, and stand by it. That´s healthy for me too. Wow, chorizo, I can add it to so many things! I think it´s all in the quantity.

  • David,
    Here’s a link to a story about the Kale Project and the woman who started it; with her efforts, she single-handedly is more responsible for the appearance of kale in the Paris markets than anybody else

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/life/food/green-from-paris-le-kale-676219/

  • Very yum. Very. Reminds me in spirit of another one of your recipes- a tart I think I got from this website… with the spanish chorizo. Yummy too, but this has less butter.

    So…. when I have tons of leftover egg whites I think “macarons”, they store so nicely in the freezer waiting to be filled… I guess this works too!

  • speaking of eclairs au chocolat, do you have any recent eclair recipes? a lot of chefs have been changing their choux techniques, especially dough resting times and baking temperatures. a slower oven (350 F) gives a more uniform appearance and interior pocket than the hot oven method we were all taught to use in the past. and some pipe, freeze, then thaw the choux before baking, again to eliminate irregularities.

  • That is exactly my view of healthy! Thanks for putting it in print. Job well done.

  • I’m obsessed with tortillas with vegetables. I have to try this one. And Spanish chorizo makes everything better. Just saying. LOL

    ;)

  • I wish that rule about walking to get whatever you eat, but if that worked I’d move-in next door to my favorite ice cream shop. I’m always looking for new easy dinner ideas and this is perfect.

  • Been following your excellent blog for a while now. Love your observations on living and eating in Paris and France. I learned how to cook and how to eat during the years I lived just outside of Paris. Now that I have to work for a living, I earn my keep as a nutritionist and having spend a considerable amount of time wrestling with nutrition analysis and the whole scholastic concept of “healthy” I have come to a similar conclusion. The best way to eat healthy is to learn how to cook.

  • It sounds and looks absolutely delicious, especially with all the good stuff inside.

  • First, I am over the top with excitement to see David featured in the Montreal Gazette newspaper, Saturday, March 9th edition: DAVID LEBOVITZ searches for the best there is to eat in the City of Light –full page interview by Lesley Chesterman. How lucky she was to get that opportunity.
    Now, on the subject of kale: why did my kale chips have a powdery texture?

  • How wonderful to see this post after just having made Kale Frittata just this morning. I used ricotta from the Philadelphia Italian Market, which gives things a very fluffy texture. Combined with mushrooms, shallots, korean red pepper flakes and Moroccan spiced salt. Vive la Kale!

  • Great post (as is the norm …). Made this today, but used Nueske’s smoked bacon and goat cheese since that was what we had in the frig. We will put this on our regular Sunday am meals.

  • I read this last night and could not wait to wake up and make it, since I had everything in the fridge already. OMG, it was so delicious! Chorizo is the key! I was looking forward to lefovers for lunch tomorrow, but we do not have any! I’ll just have to make it again tomorrow. :)

  • I loved reading Lesley Chesterman’s article about you in the Montreal Gazette! Will you be returning to Mtl. soon? It’s been 10 years since your last visit. Maybe you could come to promote your next book? Just a suggestion!

    • Thanks! Here’s a link to Lesley’s article and interview: Montreal Gazette.

      Would love to come back to Montreal; it’s truly a great food city. The decision where, and if, I go anywhere rests with the publisher so I will keep my fingers crossed.

  • David, this is OT, but today’s my birthday and my wonderful mother in law sent me Ready for Dessert, which I haven’t been able to find anywhere in Hong Kong. So thank you – you and my MIL have made my day!! :-)

  • How can you speak of “kale” and ice cream in the same article never mind sentence!
    Who eats all the wonderful icecream you make? Not you for sure.
    A walk to the nearest bakery in Paris is just a stones throw away and how many “stone” do you weigh?

  • Thank you for this
    Can’t seem to get enough kale/spinach/swiss chard this winter..
    .Lacking in Vitamin A & C I suppose
    Hope Spring arrives shortly

  • Fritttas are my favorite savory breakfast. I love the addition of chorizo to add some spice and flavor. Wonderful!

  • Yet another deliciously hunger inducing post! I think I know what I fancy for dinner tonight!

  • I’ve been putting kale in everything I eat these days, this sounds great!

  • Pair it with my favorite smoothie: pineapple, ginger, kale, ice and water! YUM!

  • I like how you define healthy. That’s how I roll, too. Making food from scratch really is the best way to monitor what you’re eating. And using meat as a seasoning, rather than as a central item is a great idea as well.

    Now that kale is so readily available at the market, it’s one of those ingredients I use in just about everything. Vegetarian stir fry, bed for my poached eggs, or the hidden ingredient in my smoothies. It’s all good and healthy!

  • Kale is very popular in Germany, especially up North. We usually eat it with a special kind of sausage called ‘Pinkel’. But I will introduce this kale frittata to everyone I know. I am sure it will be a hit in no time, like most of the other things I read on your blog. (The bacon ice cream experience kinda fizzled…)

  • I’m a huge fan of kale – love your idea of what healthy eating is – and think your blog is just the best food blog out there. You are fabulous!

  • Oh, stop it. I already eat a head of kale at least once a week. Kale frittata? Help me. I’m going to make this as soon as possible. Thanks for another great post.

  • Just made it. With Trader Joe’s Organic Kale. And sausage / cheese / herbs I had at home. Even my husband who does not like frittata and claimed he’s already had his dinner liked it without me asking for comments. Have you tried raw Kale salad with warm toasted pine nuts, raisins, grated parm. cheese, lemon, oil, salt/pepper. Addictive. BTW: still remember your chocolate tasting during Susan’s cooking class in Paris-thanks.

  • looks wonderful. i love the taste of baked/roasted kale.

  • Wow this looks good and after reading the ingredients I do believe it fits into my Medifast diet for a “lean and green” meal. I’m going to make this tomorrow night. I’ve recently discovered that I like Kale (if made well). Thanks for the recipe David!

  • I like my “green” non-stick skillet too. Thanks for the kale recipe – there is lots of it up here and I appreciate learning new ways to use it.

  • I like the idea of using things like cheese/sausage/bacon as accents as opposed to building a meal around them. If only there was an equivalent solution for chocolate/ice cream/cake?

  • I love the combination of kale and eggs. They really compliment each other. I usually throw kale in an egg bake. It’s been a while since I’ve made a frittata, so that might be on my menu next week.

    Also, making homemade ice cream is always healthy. :) I want an ice cream maker so I have something to do with my yolks. I always just throw them away and feel awful about it.

  • Hi David,

    I need to leave a comment on this post! Wonderful! I just loved your healthy concept and your funny way to described it. ;)

    Best regards from Brazil.

  • Wonderful! I just loved your healthy concept and your funny way to described it. ;)

    Best regards from Brazil.

  • Bonjour David,
    My husband and I just moved to Paris from Seattle, WA. We have a tiny apartment right across the Seine from Notre Dame. I am using “The Sweet Life in Paris” to plan excursions. I read your book in the US but now it is even more fun since I have first hand experience with open air markets, the Monoprix etc. Thank you for helping make our new life adventure more gastronomically pleasurable! I have made your Frittata several times already as I always seem to have ingredients on hand And it is quick, easy and tasty. Happy Easter!

  • This looks good – thanks! We eat a lot of kale (which does pair well with sausage), my husband loves cheese, and I’m always looking for healthy new recipes for Saturday brunch. :)

  • I love kale and I love cheese – this recipe sounds like a perfect combination of these:)

  • This so so funny, posted next to each other on my iPad is your above article on healthy and next to it your picture of Mont d’Or…..hmmmmm. Moderation I suppose, is the key to it all…..

  • One if my college roommates was(is still :) French, and one was a body builder…needless to say we ate a lot of egg white frittatas! This post takes me back to those cold Vermont winters when we ate what we had, usually eggs and some cheese…nowadays, I covet the yolks of farm fresh eggs, but since my boys love butter cookies I have jars of frozen whites taking up prime freezer space! I’ve been waiting to make buttercream but no longer! Thank you David for the memory jog!

  • I love everything about the chorizo photo – the composition, the shallow depth of field, the well loved cutting board, the knife and most of all the chorizo. Thankfully I’m in Barcelona (we have a roomy apartment so come visit) for the next week and a half, so I can satisfy the craving you inspired :)