Comforting Caprese Egg Casserole
Egg casserole is a convenient dish that you could prepare ahead of time and bake when you need to. To some, it can serve as a complete meal. Recipes include ham, potatoes, sausage, bread, leftover meat, spinach and cheese.1 But if you’re looking for a unique breakfast or brunch idea, here’s an egg casserole recipe from Ruled.Me that incorporates caprese, an Italian antipasto or appetizer,2 with eggs for a more satisfying and nutritious dish.
Caprese Egg Casserole
- 2 tablespoons grass fed butter or ghee
- 2 cups (300 grams) organic cherry tomatoes
- 8 large organic, free-range eggs
- 13 grams (2 1/2 teaspoons) fresh basil
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella balls
- Coconut oil for greasing
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop the cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters. Sauté in a skillet with butter or ghee until the tomatoes have softened.
Set aside the cooked tomatoes and the liquid from the pan to cool.
Add the eggs to a mixing bowl.
Chop up the fresh basil, and then add that to the eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk the eggs together until the yolks and whites are well combined.
Pour the eggs into a casserole dish that’s been greased with coconut oil, and then add the cooked tomatoes.
Add the fresh mozzarella balls.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the eggs have completely set in the middle of the dish.
What Is Caprese?
Caprese or insalata caprese is Capri, Italy’s signature dish — a salad consisting of fresh tomato slices, mozzarella and basil, which mimics the colors of the Italian flag. Salt, extra-virgin olive oil, oregano and olives may also be added to enhance its flavor and aroma. This light and simple meal requires fresh and high-quality ingredients, especially the cheese, which is why mozzarella made with buffalo milk is often used instead of cow’s milk mozzarella.3
Using Fresh and Organic Ingredients Matter in Making Caprese Egg Casserole
As mentioned, making a light and simple salad like caprese requires fresh and high-quality ingredients to produce a satisfying dish. Here are reasons why you should choose fresh and organic ingredients, and tips on how to prepare and store them:
- Egg — Commercially sold eggs are usually produced by hens raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) farms. These animals are fed unnatural feed that they wouldn’t be eating were they free-ranging, hormones and antibiotics, and are raised in small spaces that increase the risk of bacteria growth.Their eggs are exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, fecal contaminants and salmonella bacteria that may pose potential dangers to your health.4 To avoid contamination, make sure that you choose the free-range organic variant sold by local producers. Also, check if there are cracks or holes before buying them. You will know if an egg is fresh if it sinks in a container or glass with water.5
- Mozzarella — Mozzarella cheese has a rubbery texture, mild flavor and melting properties that make it a perfect ingredient in pizza, bread and appetizers.6 It is usually made with buffalo cow’s milk, which is more expensive because it has a higher butterfat content,7 which is essential in helping boost your good cholesterol levels.8 Buffalo cow’s milk contains more calcium, protein and iron as well.Unlike other kinds of cheese that taste better when aged, mozzarella is best consumed fresh.9 It may still be used for up to three weeks, but remember to keep it with the water from the original packaging, which you should replace every other day.10 In this recipe, note that fresh mozzarella balls were used, and not the shredded variant.11
- Cherry Tomatoes — Another key in making an appetizing caprese dish is using fresh, sweet and ripe tomatoes.12 In this recipe, cherry tomatoes are used, which may be cooked or roasted quickly for a more efficient cooking or preparation.13 Cooking cherry tomatoes with coconut oil not only will help increase its lycopene content, a fat-soluble nutrient, but lessen their lectin content as well, which are known to cause disrupted endocrine function and gene expression, leaky gut and weight gain.Tomatoes are linked to a lower risk of various health conditions such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, inflammatory processes and cancer.14 They are also known to contain lycopene, a carotenoid that provides beneficial effects against cardiovascular issues.15When buying cherry tomatoes, choose those with firm and bright skins. They must be stored at room temperature instead of keeping them chilled in the refrigerator to avoid drying.16
Basil Adds Flavor and Nutrients to This Recipe
Basil is a popular herb widely used in condiments, baked goods, salad dressings, meats, nonalcoholic beverages and even ice cream. Aside from its culinary uses, it is utilized in perfumery and dental and oral products as well.17 Traditional caprese recipes include basil leaves, whether chopped or whole, to complement the ingredients’ distinct flavors through their strong aroma.18 This herb has a clove-like taste that goes well with cilantro, coconut milk, fig, ginger, lemon, lime, mint and tomatoes.19
Basil contains numerous nutrients, including vitamin K,20 which is essential in blood clotting. Research found that this vitamin provides benefits against bone and vascular diseases as well.21Carotenoids like beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin22 that are found in basil may help boost eye health through their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.23 Other nutrients found in this herb are:24
- Vitamin C
Ruled.Me was created by Craig Clarke, a blogger who originally struggled with weight problems. The website not only focuses on the ketogenic diet as a way to lose weight, but as a lifestyle that can improve your quality of life. It contains dieting tips, strength and endurance exercises and various recipes for people who are struggling with their weight and nutritional deficiencies.
Sources and References:
- 1 “Quick and Easy Cooking: Meals in Minutes,” 2009
- 2 “The Seasons of the Italian Kitchen,” 2012
- 3,18 “Ultimate Food Journeys: The World’s Best Dishes and Where to Eat Them,” 2011
- 4 Consumer Reports, January 2014
- 5 “Egg: The Very Best Recipes Inspired by the Simple Egg,’ 2015
- 6 “Handbook of Food Science, Technology, and Engineering, Volume 4,” 2006
- 7 “The Water Buffalo: New Prospects for an Underutilized Animal : Report,” 1981
- 8 Adv Nutr. 2012 May; 3(3): 266–285
- 9 The Spruce Eats, February 9, 2019
- 10 “Tomatoes & Mozzarella: 100 Ways to Enjoy This Tantalizing Twosome All Year Long,” 2011
- 11,12 “Vegetable Cookbook: Savory Gourmet Recipes Made Easy,” 2010
- 13 “Knack Gourmet Cooking on a Budget: Essential Recipes & Techniques from Professional Kitchens,” 2010
- 14 Mediators Inflamm. 2014; 2014: 139873
- 15 Front Pharmacol. 2018; 9: 521
- 16 The Spruce Eats, September 10, 2018
- 17 J. Agric. Food Chem.2003;51:3197-3207
- 19 “Green Smoothies for Every Season: A Year of Farmers Market Fresh Super Drinks,” 2014
- 20,24 USDA National Nutrient Database, “Basic Report: 02044, Basil, fresh”
- 21 Dermatoendocrinol. 2015 Jan 21;6(1):e968490
- 22 Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2010 Jun;65(2):164-9
- 23 Nutrients. 2018 Sep; 10(9): 1321