7 Ingredients You Never Thought to Put in an Omelet

omelet breakfast

Omelet breakfast | iStock.com

When it comes to classic breakfast foods, nothing remains center-stage quite like a hearty, filling omelet. They’re easy to whip up, relatively inexpensive, and contain nutrients your body needs. In addition, they’re the perfect base for adding in any ingredient from your pantry. Toss in leftover peppers and tomatoes from your salad the night before, sprinkle in whatever kind of cheese you have, and add some ham or bacon for extra savory flavor.

Eggs are a great way to get many of the nutrients and fatty acids you need, along with a healthy dose of protein right away in the morning, nutritionist Jo Lewin shared with the BBC. They can promote heart health, contain vitamin D, and also have minerals such as zinc and iron, Lewin adds. You can boost the egg’s intrinsic nutritional value even more by adding other healthy ingredients, like greens or other proteins all rolled up in a fluffy omelet.

With the versatility omelets can have, you never need to make them the same way if you don’t want to. Classic ingredients are delicious, and simple cheese omelets are perfect when you need a quick meal with little preparation. However, eggs can also serve as a blank canvas for any number of tastes and preferences. Everyday Health offers a list of numerous add-ins to your omelets, providing you with potential combinations for using olives, sweet corn, taco meat, and even mashed potatoes. Still, it gets even more creative than that. Want to truly go out on a limb with your eggs? Try these omelet additions.

1. Golden Delicious apples

golden apple

Golden Delicious apples | iStock.com

Traditionally, one of the few fruits that ever goes near an omelet is the tomato — which is treated like a vegetable most times anyway. However, diced apples paired with chicken on an egg-white omelet create a flavor combination that’s truly unique. The author at The Healthy Foodie attests that you can make this omelet using the yolks, too — the flavors go well in either situation, depending on your egg preference. You can also switch out the collard greens for spinach if you’d like.

Unlike a typical omelet, this version is served open-faced, though you could always choose to fold it over if you would prefer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (or desired cooking oil)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) egg whites, or eggs with yolks
  • 1 small cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 Golden Delicious apple, cored, peeled, and diced
  • 3-4 large collard leaves, stems removed, finely chopped
  • 20 grams hazelnuts, lightly toasted and crushed
  • Pinch salt and pepper

Directions: Heat oil over medium heat in a small to medium non-stick pan. Add the pieces of chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until golden brown. Then add the diced apple pieces and cook until tender, about 30 seconds. Remove mixture from pan and set aside.

Add the collards (or spinach) and cook until wilted, about 30 to 45 seconds. Add the chicken and apples back into the pan, then pour egg whites over the mixture. Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts over the top.

Cover loosely (the blogger suggests using a pizza pan over the top) and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, until the eggs are completely set and opaque. Slide onto a serving plate and serve immediately.

2. Hummus

hummus in a bowl

Hummus | iStock.com

Hummus is for pita bread, vegetable trays, and … omelets? “Hummus tastes great with eggs and pairs really well with salty Feta cheese and the fresh flavors of basil and tomatoes,” the blogger for Emily Bites wrote of the omelet she crafted that features the Greek-inspired spread. The recipe author also suggests using pine nut hummus, but adds that any variation you prefer will work well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • A pinch/sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon light butter
  • 2 tablespoons hummus
  • ½ ounce crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, thinly sliced basil
  • 2 tablespoons diced tomatoes

Directions: In a mixing bowl, combine the egg, egg whites, water, and salt and pepper. Whisk together until thoroughly blended and beaten.

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with the butter, then add the egg mixture. When the edges are set and the middle is almost there, drop small amounts of hummus down the center of the omelet, and spread with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle most of the Feta (reserving a bit for the top) over the hummus.

Use a spatula to fold one side of the omelet over the center filling, then tilt the pan (folded side first) toward your plate. Slide the omelet onto your plate using the spatula, and fold the other side of the omelet over the center. Sprinkle with basil, tomatoes, and remaining Feta before serving.

3. Sweet potatoes and black beans

sweet potato diced on wooden board

Cubed sweet potatoes | iStock.com

Sweet potatoes can go in almost anything to add a hearty, filling punch, and it seems that omelets are no exception. This recipe uses a sweet potato and black bean burrito filling, occasionally made separately for tacos or other dishes. However, the blogger at Kim’s Cravings pulls double duty with the filling and uses it with her eggs, too. It’s the perfect way to use up leftovers without feeling cheated during breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup liquid egg whites
  • ½ cup sweet potato black bean burrito filling
  • Optional toppings: fresh cilantro, avocado and/or salsa

For the filling: 

  • 1 medium sweet potato (about 2.5 cups), cubed & roasted
  • 1 container cooked Minute® Ready to Serve Rice or about 1 cup brown rice
  • 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (any color)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans (about 1.5-2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed

Directions: To prepare the filling, preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with foil. Spread cubed sweet potatoes in an even layer on the sheet, spray with olive oil or coconut oil cooking spray, and lightly sprinkle with salt. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add oil, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 5-10 minutes, then add salt and seasoning and stir well. Add black beans and cooked rice and cook for another 5 minutes on medium heat, then add roasted sweet potatoes to the mixture and stir well. If some sweet potato pieces are too large, mash them with a fork.

To prepare the omelet, spray a medium skillet with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Pour liquid egg whites into the skillet and drop spoonfuls of the sweet potato and black bean mixture evenly over the egg whites.

Allow eggs to cook for about 5 minutes, until bubbly and set. Then, carefully flip to the other side and allow omelet to cook for another 1-2 minutes. Roll the sides and transfer to a plate, adding toppings if desired.

4. Pastrami

close up of fresh sliced beef pastrami

Pastrami | iStock.com

Pastrami might be a deli favorite when it’s served on rye bread, but it can also make an appearance with eggs to switch it up a bit. Horseradish and cucumber add zing and freshness. Cooking Light suggests serving this dish over pumpernickel bread, but you can forgo the slices completely if you’d like.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups thinly sliced peeled English cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ⅜ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 ounces chopped pastrami
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 large Bibb lettuce leaves
  • 4 (1-ounce) slices pumpernickel bread, toasted

Directions: Combine cucumber, mustard, vinegar, horseradish, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Let stand 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Combine remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt, remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper, dill, eggs, pastrami, and onions in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add egg mixture to pan; cook 2 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 8 minutes or until set. Cut into 4 wedges. Place 1 lettuce leaf on each bread slice; top with 1 omelet piece and ¼ cup cucumber mixture.

5. Quinoa

quinoa

Quinoa | iStock.com

Quinoa can hold its own at the breakfast table, but normally as a replacement for oatmeal. It’s used in this recipe from Half Baked Harvest as just one additive for Greek-flavored omelets, incorporating the supergrain along with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and more. These are so hearty, in fact, that the blogger argues they’re the perfect go-to if you’re looking to have breakfast for dinner. Along with the omelets, Half Baked Harvest offers a tzatziki sauce to go on top.

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved + 1 tablespoon of the olive brine
  • ¼ cup roasted red peppers, chopped or sliced
  • ¼ cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
  • ¼ cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes + 1 tablespoon of the oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, for topping
  • fresh grape tomatoes, for topping
  • 1 avocado, sliced, for topping

Directions: To make the quinoa salad, add the quinoa, chopped spinach, olives, roasted red peppers, chopped artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, oregano and basil to a large bowl. Incorporate 1 tablespoon of oil from the sun-dried tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of the olive brine (from the olive jar), season with salt and pepper. Toss well and set aside.

To make the omelet, use a fork to whisk together the eggs, milk, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. You want the egg mixture to be thoroughly scrambled. Heat an 8-10 inch skillet over medium-low heat. Once the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of butter and swirl the pan to coat. Pour in half of the egg mixture and let it set for about 10 to 20 seconds. Use a heat-safe spatula to gently move the set eggs toward the middle of the pan, then tilt the pan so runny eggs take their place. Repeat this process until there is hardly any runny eggs to move around.

At this point, add any cheese you would like to add, such as feta or mozzarella. Use your spatula to gently release the underside of the omelet from the pan. Tilt the pan a little forward and back to make sure it’s not stuck anywhere. Let it set for a few seconds, then scoot it off the pan onto a plate.

Immediately sprinkle the omelet with some feta cheese and then add the quinoa salad. Fold over and serve immediately, topping with grape tomatoes, olives, and additional feta if desired. Alternatively, keep warm and wait to top until the second omelet is finished, then top and serve.

6. Enchilada sauce

tomatillo sauce in a Colombian bowl

Green sauce for enchiladas | iStock.com

In many cases, eggs can take the place of bread when it comes to piling ingredients on top. In the case of this recipe from Skinny Taste, eggs take over the role tortillas normally have in an enchilada dish. They’re rolled and filled with a spinach mixture, then topped with enchilada sauce for a unique twist on a Mexican-inspired breakfast. This recipe makes 6 enchiladas, or breakfast for a group.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups egg whites or egg whites from 18 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup scallions, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 medium ripe tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 10-ounce package frozen spinach
  • 4.5-ounce can chopped green chiles
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 ½ cups grated reduced fat Colby-Jack cheese
  • 1 cup green enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium avocado, diced

Directions: Spread one-third of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites, water, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Lightly coat a large, non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat the skillet over medium heat. Add about a ½ cup of the egg whites, swirling evenly to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook until set, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until set, about 1 minute more. Set aside on a dish and repeat until the egg mixture is finished. (Should make about 6 egg “tortillas.”)

Heat oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add scallions, and cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant but not brown. Add tomato and cilantro, then season with salt to taste and cook 1 additional minute until soft. Stir in spinach and chiles, and cook for about 5 minutes, adjusting salt and pepper to taste.

Remove spinach mixture from heat and stir in a ½ cup of cheese; mix well. Divide spinach between egg white “tortillas,” about ⅓ cup each and roll, placing each seam side down in baking dish. Top with enchilada sauce and remaining cheese, cover with foil and bake until hot and the cheese is melted, about 20 to 25 minutes. If desired, serve with scallions and diced avocado.

7. Crab, chiles, and perilla leaves

Close up of Surimi Salad

Crab meat | iStock.com

If you’re truly looking to push the traditional American borders of what an omelet tastes like, consider trying this Vietnamese version, created by The Food Network. The recipe incorporates two kinds of crab meat, along with chiles and perilla leaves, which are in the mint family. Unlike many omelets, these are also served on baguettes, increasing the heartiness factor. If you’re hoping for a more adventurous breakfast and enjoy seafood flavors, this version is the one for you.

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon grated palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon shrimp paste
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil plus extra for drizzling
  • ½ baguette, cut into two pieces
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or a little oil for griddling

For the filling:

  • 100 grams (about ¾ cup) mixed crab meat, brown and white
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 8 stems of chives, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 or 2 birds eye chillies, finely chopped
  • Handful perilla leaves, finely chopped
  • Handful sweet basil leaves, finely chopped
  • Handful saw tooth coriander or normal coriander, finely chopped

Directions: Combine together all the ingredients for the filling into a mixing bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, break the eggs, add the grated palm sugar, fish sauce, shrimp paste and sesame oil. Beat well and set aside.

Cut each baguette lengthways. Brush with a little melted butter or oil and lightly griddle until the griddle markings appear on the bread. Remove and set aside.

Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add half the egg mix and cook for 2 minutes. Add half the filling to the center of each omelet. Fold the sides to make a parcel, turn over and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes until the filling has warmed through.

Remove from the heat and cut diagonally and place onto one of the baguettes. Drizzle with a little sesame oil. Repeat the above for the second omelet.

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