This colorful Mexican-spiced frittata boasts bell peppers, onions, black beans, and tomatoes in a unique golden crust made from millet.
Cinco de Mayo was not something I celebrated until I joined my high school’s Spanish club. Long before that, however, my eating out included heaps of Tex-Mex food. Take a look at this map: Each State’s Distinctive Most Cuisine. Oklahoma, where I grew up, ranks right up with Texas with Tex-Mex eateries. And then there is Saskatchewan, my current location, where I can find almost none. Don’t feel too sorry for me though.
It’s now up to me and my kitchen to turn out the Tex-Mex flavours I crave; and what I make is usually healthier and cheaper than what a restaurant would serve. Furthermore, with this being a week where foodies across Canada and the world are taking the challenge to “live below the line,” I thought I would attempt to use the most frugal ingredients possible. In the list of ingredients I priced out costs to see close this recipe might come to $1.00* per serving.
While I am not a full participant in the challenge this week, I commend other bloggers who are raising awareness about those who are supposed to eat on less than $2.00* a day. Cost limitations have been on my mind as I shop. I ponder the issue of food insecurity as I look at all the things I could not buy if I had not quite enough money to feed my growing family.
The challenge has also reminded me about a book that fascinated me several years ago–What the World Eats. If you don’t feel you have plenty, you probably will by the time you look through the photos of what families in various countries eat for a week. The disparities are remarkable. I actually think we can learn a lot from those who live on less. Sometimes what others eat is healthier than what we in North America typically consume (or over-consume).
Millet is a commonly eaten grain in Africa. I recall eating it in China too, mixed with rice. It’s highly digestible and inexpensive. I’d like to include millet in what my family eats, but it has a reputation for being bland. So I spiced it up in this frittata and found a great way to enjoy millet!
This frittata was a tasty bargain as well. Where I live, quinoa costs four times as much as millet. By avoiding pricier ingredients like meat, cheese, and quinoa, the estimated cost of this frittata runs just under $1.00 per serving (with 6 slices per frittata). And it is loaded with flavour and nutritional value, with the vegetables flaunting their brilliant colours. Olé!
Mexican Frittata with Millet Crust
- 3/4 cup millet seed (175 grams) $1.00*
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth $0.50
- 3/4 cup water $0.00
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced $1.00
- 3/4 cup black beans, cooked $0.40
- 6 large eggs $1.40
- 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise $0.30
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin $0.05
- 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika $0.05
- 1 + 1/4 teaspoons garlic salt $0.10
- 2 Tablespoons butter, divided $0.30
- 3/4 cup red or white onion, chopped $0.50
- 1/2 medium tomato, sliced $0.20
Total Cost $ 5.85
*Figures are estimated costs in local Canadian dollars (CDN).
- In a medium to large saucepan with a lid, heat the dry millet over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes to toast it, stirring frequently. Add broth and water and heat to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover with the lid. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed but millet remains moist. Remove from heat.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Grease a 9-inch (22cm) pie dish or cast-iron skillet with 2 teaspoons of the butter. Transfer 2 cups of cooked millet to the dish or skillet, pressing it down with a flexible spatula to form an even crust. Once the millet is cool enough to handle, spread the top surface with 1 teaspoon of butter and use your fingers or a spatula to smooth it further, ensuring that the millet is tightly packed. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt. Bake crust for 10 minutes and set aside.
- While crust is baking, saute onions in remaining 1 Tablespoon butter. After onions are tender, turn off heat and stir in cumin, paprika, and black beans. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and then whisk in mayonnaise until relatively smooth. Stir in green bell pepper and garlic salt, followed by onion and bean mixture. Pour this egg and vegetable mixture into the millet crust. Arrange tomato slices on top. Bake frittata for 25 to 30 minutes, until center is set. Let cool for about 5 minutes. Serve warm.
Crust adapted from Edible Perspective