Squash and thyme frittata

Squash and thyme frittata

Today I wanted to make a version of a frittata with lots of thyme.  It’s a superfood and amazing for your lungs – helping protect them from damage and alfor breakfast or brunch over a few days.    This recipe is one you can adjust as you like.  If you don’t have squash, cooked broccoli florets would also work well.  If you are NOT on the SC diet, sweet potatoes are another option.

The essentials of a frittata are onions, garlic, eggs and extra virgin olive oil and some sort of additional vegetable.

For 4
8 large eggs, ideally organic
1 large onion (200-250g)
2 cloves garlic, crushed.
Half a large butternut squash, peeled (you want around 450g flesh for the recipe)
Half level tsp Himalayan salt or sea salt
Generous handful of fresh thyme, rinsed and dried
3-4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Optional extras: 1 dsp finely chopped sage leaves and/or 1 level tsp paprika
Heavy-bottomed frying pan that can be put under your grill

  1. Preheat oven to 200C(or 180C for a fan oven).
  2. Scatter thyme, stalks and all, into a roasting tin, add the squash, 1 tbs olive oil, sprinkle on the salt, some freshly  ground black pepper and toss well.
  3. Roast for 45-60 minutes (giving it a toss half way through) until the flesh is soft when pierced.
  4. Meanwhile peel and chop your onions (about 1cm squares is nice).  Add to a heavy bottomed frying pan along with 2 tbs olive oil 1 tbs of water and steam fry on a medium heat till translucent and soft.  Steam frying is using a mix of oil and water and covering with a lid/plate and gently cooking till soft.  This technique avoids the browning that damages food (and causes us inflammation).
  5. When squash is done (softish), remove from oven, let it cool a bit, then poke through, gathering up the thyme sprigs.
    Pull the leaves off with your fingers (yes, you will get messy!) and add back into the squash. Throw away the bare twiggy bits.
  6. Beat 8 eggs with a generous pinch of black pepper, a pinch of salt and (if using) some paprika/finely chopped sage or both.
  7. Add the cooked squash and thyme, 2 cloves of crushed garlic to your cooked onions, give a stir and flatten down.
  8. Pour on the eggs and cook on a low heat for at least 25 minutes until the egg is set.  I cover with a plate/lid during cooking to speed it up but you don’t have to.
  9. If you feel like it, flash the whole thing (but not any plastic handle!) under a hot grill for a few minutes to brown the top.

Serve hot or at room temperature with:
A big crunchy salad of green leaves dressed with my Mediteranean salad dressing (also on blog).

Why this is good for you:
Using extra virgin olive oil instead of low grade cooking oils helps make this healthier.  All polyunsaturated nut/seed oils are toxic when heated or refined.  Extra virgin olive oil, and virgin coconut oil are not polyunsaturated and so are much more stable when heated.  This means they don’t do you harm.

Thyme helps your lungs function better, resist infection more, and helps prevent/treat coughs.  There is a tide of high quality peer-reviewed research on medline about the bronchial benefits of thyme.  Orange veggies are a rich source of beta carotene which in your diet also protects your lungs. 

Onions are rich in inulin, a type of “prebiotic” fibre.  Prebiotic fibres feed good gut bacteria which are so critical for your immunity.  Over 70% of your immune cells live in your gut.  Your immune cells are controlled in large part by the  bacteria, fungi and viruses (yes viruses can be useful) that live in you.  So eating a big variety of veg, herbs and spices gives a friendly environment for “good” critters to grow and help you.  In fact there are more cells belonging to critters in and on you than make up you.  Its just that the cells of micro organisms are a lot smaller than human cells!   

Courgetti (courgette spaghetti)

Courgetti (courgette spaghetti)

I wish I could claim this idea as my own but every supermarket now sells spiralized courgettes for you to use instead of pasta.   The oil and salt lift courgetti from being worthy to being delicious.  I used to make a lot of wholemeal pasta dinners until I studied nutrition.  Then I realised the large proportion of starchy foods in meals was contributing to my fatigue, frequent infections and poor stress tolerance.  Rebalancing my plate helped me enormously within days.

For 2 people
2 medium courgettes
2 dsp extra virgin olive oil (more if you want!)
Pinch of Himalayan salt or sea salt

1. Make long strands of courgette:  Either grate them lengthways (skin and all) on the big side of your grater or use a spiralizer.
2. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat.  Add the olive oil, the courgetti and scatter over a generous pinch of salt.
3. Now heat, stirring every so often, for around 5 minutes.  You want them heated, VERY slightly softened, but not so soft they release water and go into a bit of a mush.  It took me a few tries to get this right!
4. Serve immediately with your pasta sauce.  Enjoy!

Why this is good for you:
When we eat more than 1/4 of our lunch and dinner as high carb foods (e.g. pasta, potatoes, bread) it makes us more likely to struggle with poor detoxification (acne, PMS, headaches or fatigue anyone?).   Your body stores excessive sugars as fat and this is why reducing carbohydrates to modest levels helps so quickly in getting you to your ideal weight.   Farmers know that one of the fastest ways of fattening their livestock for market is to switch from grass-feeding to grain-feeding.  Excessive sugars come not only from “healthy” grains, potatoes and fruit juice but also (even more)  from added sugar foods like biscuits, cakes and “fruit juice drinks”.

About wheat pasta: Did you know that gluten breeches the lining of your small intestine within  minutes of reaching it?  This allows gut bacteria, waste and undigested food to flood into your bloodstream.  It’s called increased intestinal permeability and lasts for a minimum of 3 hours.   This has been proven by ground-breaking research using capsule video cameras swallowed by HEALTHY STUDY VOLUNTEERS.  This is not related to gluten sensitivity or coeliac disease.  It happens to everyone though its effects are more serious in those groups.   So finding ways to lower gluten in our daily eating is a great way of moving towards better health.   Looking after your gut lining makes you less likely to suffer sepsis should you become very ill with an infection.  Low gluten grain choices include sourdough bread and oats.  If you have an autoimmune condition like hypothyroidism (90% is autoimmune) you will need to switch to naturally (not highly processed!) gluten-free options.