A colorful array of spices is a hallmark of the sunny Mediterranean-style diet. When it comes to evidence-based eating patterns, the fruit- and vegetable- based Mediterranean diet has been the subject of scientific studies around the world. And the science stacks up; as a result, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that the Mediterranean-Style Eating Pattern – including eggs – is a healthy way to eat.
Spices used in the Mediterranean region include cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, saffron, paprika and herbs like mint, oregano, basil and thyme. And they all pair perfectly with eggs. Make scrambled eggs with sautéed zucchini and seasoned with oregano. A healthful dessert is bread pudding made with whole grain bread, eggs, a variety of berries and spiced with cardamom and vanilla.
The use of herbs and spices may be one of the many reasons why people who live in the Mediterranean region are healthier. According to recent research, herbs and spices allow “[people] to season foods to their liking with less salt, fat and sugar.”
The Egg Nutrition Center is a proud member of the Mediterranean Foods Alliance (MFA) an Oldways program that helps people discover Mediterranean foods and flavors. And last Friday, the MFA Fresh Friday’s e-newsletter was themed “Splurging on Spices” and featured our recipe for Protein-Packed Egg and Brown Rice Breakfast Bowl with sunny flavors from the Mediterranean. Serve it as a filling breakfast…lunch or dinner.
Protein-Packed Egg and Brown Rice Breakfast Bowl
Start your day with the sunny flavors of the Mediterranean.
By Serena Ball, MS, RD
- 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
- ¼ cup chopped zucchini
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon low-fat milk
- ¼ teaspoon of dried oregano
- Dash of salt and generous grinds of black pepper
- ½ tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
- ½ cup cooked brown rice
- 2 tablespoons canned cannellini beans
- ¼ cup sliced grape tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese
- In a small skillet, heat ½ teaspoon oil over medium heat. Add zucchini and cook, stirring, until beginning to turn golden, about 2-3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove zucchini from pan.
- Beat eggs, milk, oregano, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- In the same small skillet, heat ½ teaspoon oil over medium heat. Pour in egg mixture. As eggs begin to set, gently pull the eggs across the pan with a spatula, forming large soft curds. Sprinkle basil over eggs. Gently fold eggs a few more times until thickened and no visible liquid egg remains. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl (the same bowl in which you plan to construct your Breakfast Bowl) microwave the rice with 1 tablespoon water until hot, about 30 seconds.
- To assemble, top rice with eggs, beans, tomatoes, cooked zucchini and cheese.
Makes 1 serving
Per serving: Calories 394; Fat 18.5 g (Saturated 5 g); Sodium 364 mg; Carbohydrate 35 g; Fiber 4 g; Sugars 4 g; Protein 21 g.
Serena Ball, MS, RD is a registered dietitian and healthy food blogger at TeaspoonOfSpice.com. She is also one of ENC’s Health Professional Advisors.