Walnuts add a unique twist to this fun dish that takes the classic eggs and toast breakfast to a whole new level!
Thank you to California Walnuts for sponsoring this post!
Have you ever had a toad in a hole? This eye catching breakfast dish, which unites a fried egg and a piece of toast, goes by many names including eggs in a nest, one-eyed Jacks, or eggs in a basket. It’s even been called “Moonstruck” eggs because of the breakfast scene in the movie Moonstruck when Olympia Dukakis makes this very dish for her daughter, played by Cher. Whatever you call it, it’s a simple, fun breakfast dish that takes the classic eggs and toast breakfast to a whole new level!
I wanted to put my own spin on this classic dish so I decided to make a walnut-crusted toad in a hole. I always have walnuts in my pantry and I use them in a wide variety of dishes, both savory and sweet. They are unique among other nuts in that they are the only tree nuts that offer an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). Walnuts are also a staple in the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and moderate amounts of fish, poultry, eggs, and wine while limiting the amounts of red meat, processed meat, dairy and sweets. The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a Mediterranean-style eating pattern as one example of a healthy diet plan.
In the landmark Predimed study, published in 2013, investigators found that a Mediterranean diet including tree nuts (primarily walnuts) reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease (myocardial infarction, stroke or cardiovascular death) by 30% and specifically reduced the risk of stroke by 46% when compared to a low-fat diet group.
So we know that a Mediterranean-style eating plan can have many health benefits and reduce our risk of heart disease but how do we do it? My best answer is to make small, simple changes. Sprinkle nuts on your salads or add them to smoothies. Cook with olive oil instead of butter. Stir some vegetables into your pasta sauce, soup or chili. Swap out white, refined grains for whole grains. As an example, let’s take a typical American breakfast of fried eggs, hash browns, bacon, and toast and talk about how I “Mediterraneanized” it to bring it closer to a healthful Mediterranean-style dish.Check out how @foodiephysician 'Mediterraneanized' a classic American egg breakfast using @CAWalnuts! #sponsoredClick To Tweet
- I used whole grain bread instead of white bread. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that at least half of all the grains you eat should be whole grains. Refined products like white bread have had many key nutrients stripped away, including fiber.
- I cooked the toast and egg in heart healthy olive oil instead of butter. The Predimed study also found that a Mediterranean diet enriched with extra-virgin olive oil reduced the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 30%.
- I crusted the bread with walnuts to add flavor, omega-3 ALA, and an awesome crunch factor.
- Instead of fried hash browns made with white potatoes, I decided to make a hash made with sweet potatoes sautéed in olive oil. Sweet potatoes are full of essential vitamins and minerals as well as fiber.
- I added a leafy green vegetable to the hash to incorporate more nutritious veggies. I used Tuscan kale but you could use any leafy green like spinach, Swiss chard or mustard greens.
- I omitted the typical bacon and added chili powder and walnuts to my hash instead. I could have used a small amount of bacon or pancetta but with the smoky flavor from the chili powder and the crunchy texture from the walnuts, I didn’t even miss the bacon!
Making healthy diet choices is all about small, doable changes. I challenge you to “Mediterraneanize” your next meal by making a few simple changes. Let me know how it goes!
- 4 slices whole grain bread
- 6 teaspoons olive oil, divided use
- ⅓ cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 4 large eggs
- Using a round cookie cutter, cut a hole out of the center of each piece of bread. Brush the top of each slice of bread with ½ teaspoon olive oil. Press some chopped walnuts onto the top surface of each piece of bread, pressing them in so that they adhere. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add two pieces of bread, walnut side down. Cook a few minutes until toasted and then flip the bread over (don’t worry if some of the walnuts fall off- they will get nicely toasted in the skillet). Carefully crack an egg into each hole. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for a few minutes until whites are set and yolks are cooked to desired firmness. Remove from skillet. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the skillet and cook the remaining toads in a hole. If desired, toast the bread circles in the pan and serve.
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 2 sweet potatoes (8 ounces each), peeled and diced into small pieces
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 bunch (8 ounces) Tuscan kale, chopped
- ⅓ cup walnuts, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the oil. Add the sweet potatoes and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, until the sweet potatoes get lightly browned and start to soften. Add a few tablespoons of water to the skillet, cover with a lid, and steam for another 3-5 minutes until potatoes are cooked through. Uncover and stir in the garlic, chili powder, kale, walnuts, and salt. Cook another 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until kale is wilted. Serve.
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