The Meal Planner

More and more people are trying out one or two nights a week of Meatless Meals, either for health or wallets sake.  Things have been tough financially for us the past few months, so it's forced me to get creative in the kitchen to save a bit of money.  Meat is usually the most expensive part of the meal, so I've tried to come up with ways of using more inexpensive meat, minimal meat or occasionally, meat-free meals.  Usually the meat-free meals don't go over so well with my husband Steve.  He whines and complains and tells me about the void on his plate and naturally, in his stomach as well.  Remember this?

But this frittata totally pulled the wool over his eyes.  He complimented me repeatedly during the meal and told me how much he loved it.  After he had licked his plate clean I asked if he noticed there wasn't any meat in it and he responded with "What?!  No.....there was....I guess there wasn't.  Good job babe!"

The balsamic caramelized onions take on a sweet, rich flavor and it's the richness of the onions that I think fools you. Combined with the heartiness of the potatoes and a bit of cheese, this frittata is a wonderful Meatless Meal (and super inexpensive too).

Recipe by Meal Planning 101

Serves 2-4

2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced into half moons
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into small hashbrown size squares
seasoning salt
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 eggs
1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan (you can substitute Gruyere if you have it)

2 green onions, chopped or 2 tbsp parsley chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Thinly slice the onions. Put the oil in a large heavy bottomed pan and heat over medium high heat and add the onions. Stir and season with salt. Turn down to medium heat. Let caramelize for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (frequently if you don't have a heavy bottomed pan.) Once the onions are golden and caramel colored (but not burnt), pour in the balsamic, stirring to pick up the sugars on the bottom of the pan. Let cook for about a minute, then remove from the heat.

While the onions are caramelizing, put on a medium pot of salted water to boil. Peel and dice the potatoes and put in the water. Boil for about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.

When the onions are done, in a medium non-stick skillet add a tablespoon of oil and heat to medium high.  Add the diced potatoes, season with seasoning salt and dried basil and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until they get lightly golden. In a medium bowl beat the eggs with a bit of salt and pepper and the Parmesan. Arrange the balsamic caramelized onions over top of the potatoes (don't let them go to the bottom or they will burn) and pour over the egg mixture.  Turn heat to medium and let cook for about 5 minutes.  Once the bottom has set, put in the oven to finish cooking the top (about another 10 minutes).  Remove from oven and sprinkle with green onions or parsley and serve.

Click here for a printable version of Balsamic Caramelized Onion and Potato Frittata


In the past I have tried and tried and tried and FAILED to make caramelized onions. Before they ever made it to the golden brown, falling apart, sticky, sugary onions I'd have burnt black crisps.  When I dreamed up this frittata I was determined to get the onions right (which I obviously did), so I have a few tips for you:

  • A heavy bottomed pan works best (doesn't matter if it's non-stick or not).  If yours is not a heavy bottomed pan, your onions need to be stirred more frequently (like every couple of minutes) because of hot spots in the pan and the sugars in the onions will burn easily.  
  • Use plenty of oil and stir your onions well to coat them in the oil.  DON'T USE BUTTER.  The dairy in the butter will burn.
  • If your onions are turning brown too quickly, turn your heat down to medium low. 
  • If you want to add a bit of sugar to make them sweeter, stir it in at the end or the sugar will burn. 
I'm not an onion lover, and yet I think these sweet balsamic onions are insane.  We like to serve this frittata with a side salad with shaved parmesan and olive oil and balsamic drizzled over the top (and we also kind of like to dip the frittata in the extra balsamic and oil).

Meal Ideas:

  • Balsamic Caramelized Onion and Potato Frittata + Salad with Parmesan, drizzled with Balsamic and Oil + Crusty Bread

For more inexpensive meal ideas, visit $5 Dinner Challenge.

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7 Responses
  1. Renee Says:

    Hi. I found your site through a google search for slow cooker recipes for Tikka Masala, having run out of time on the weekend to try and make it traditionally. It turned out great - thanks for the fabulous directions and detail. I cooked ours bone-in/skin-on and I pureed the sauce; you hadn't mentioned that, but I didn't see chunks of tomatoes in your pictures. I did wonder what you mean by chili powder here - and for Asian recipes generally, I guess -- since I think of chili powder as the South Western mix for TexMex chili... does this mean something different here?

  2. Food Junkie Says:

    Welcome back to blogging Kindra. I enjoy your blog and it is good to you back posting. Thanks for sharing all your good information.

  3. Renee - I'm so glad you liked the Tikka Masala! I should really go back and clarify that chili powder in Indian recipes is a specific Indian chili powder. But to be totally honest, I've only recently purchased the Indian chili powder and started using it in my curries. Before I just subbed in the regular tex-mex chili powder. It's totally not the same thing, but I've always used it and it works out fine! In Asian recipes, I'm guessing that chili powder is the same as the tex-mex one.

    Food Junkie - Thank you so much!

  4. arlene Says:

    I can't wait to try this! I am love meatless meals, and my guys (two teenagers and a hubby who works 70 hrs/week) don't complain at all if it's tasty and filling. They do love their meat too, but frittata is always a hit, especially if there is enough for leftovers. It reheats great.

  5. Amy Says:

    I made the frittata last night, it was excellent. The only change I'll make will be to leave it in the oven for 5 minutes instead if 10 (maybe I shouldn't have used the broiler?). My husband loved it too and he's not a big egg lover.
    I'm using the rest of my onions to make the brie stuffed chicken tomorrow night!


  6. Amy - The first time I made a frittata it was overcooked as well! I would say 10 minutes under the broiler would definitely be too long. If you are broiling decrease the cook time significantly or bake at 425 for 10 minutes.

  7. Katherine Says:

    I just made this frittata and it was wonderful. Will be taking a slice for lunch tomorrow and freezing the rest for a quick and delicious breakfast on the weekend (not sure if it will freeze well but we shall see). Just discovered your blog a few weeks ago and have also made the slow cooker butter chicken with great results. Planning on making the Thai dish..hmm can't remember the name but it includes pork wrapped in lettuce leaves with a fish sauce...and now I am not sure it is even Thai. Anyway, it was a recipe that you said was one of your favourites and it looks so good! Love your blog. Thx for all the recipes.