salad nicoise

Salad Nicoise may just be the most perfect salad ever invented! It’s protein rich, flavorful and packed with vegetables. A healthy lunch or dinner any time of year!

salad nicoise
salad nicoise
canned tuna
potatoes and green beans
garlic
salad nicoise

Late summer has a certain quality to it I cannot pinpoint. The vibrancy of spring and early summer, a distant memory, insects at their loudest. Bird song is largely subdued now as there are fewer of them around. Trees have taken on a deep green color with some pops of yellow and brown throughout. There is a certain relief from the flurry and buzz of months past. It’s always a little bitter sweet, this cycling through seasons. But what good fortune to be able to live in a place with seasons.

So what to eat in late summer? My cooking is a little confused, admittedly. I oscillate between fall and summer food. On one hand, I crave diving right into comfort food (see previous recipe), but on the other, I want to hold on to summer’s sweetness. So I decided I would go with a Salad Nicoise recipe that can transition easily from summer to fall. And I would be using one of my all time favorite ingredients as the star of this salad. Tuna! But not just any tuna - St. Jude Tuna!

When it comes to making Salad Nicoise, the quality of each ingredient is essential. And this is particularly why I wanted to use none other than my favorite olive oil packed tuna from St. Jude Tuna. In my opinion, it is the best tuna as the quality is simply unmatched.

So what is Salad Nicoise?

Salad Nicoise is a traditional French salad originated in Niece. It gets its name from Nicoise olives, which are only grown in that particular region. Early purists had a very specific way of making Salad Nicoise, which included artichokes, anchovies, red peppers, tomatoes and olive oil. But purity isn’t in my vocabulary and I enjoy breaking cooking rules as often as possible. So I have my own version of it. That’s the beauty of playing with food after all.

One of the best Salad Nicoise I ever had was at a tiny cafe in Montauk many, may years ago and I’ve never forgotten how well the ingredients worked together. So I set out to re-create my own version with some of my personal favorites.

Sourcing the best tuna for Salad Nicoise

There are times when I’m forgiving with ingredients in a recipe. I’ll happily use vegetables that have sat in the crisper for some time to whip up a quick soup. I’ll use herbs that have surpassed their peak, etc. But when it comes to Salad Nicoise, the quality of the tuna makes all the difference. First it does have to be wild caught, good tuna, it also has to be packed in olive oil. Anything else will simply just taste mediocre. This is why I love using the St Jude Tuma, Mediterranean Solid Albacore for this Salad Nicoise. It adds the perfect texture and flavor and balances out all other ingredients.

Can you vary the vegetables in the Salad Niciose?

You certainly can. I like sticking with a newer version of Salad Nicoise which includes potatoes and green beans. But you can change the vegetables out as you see fit. If you’re a tomato lover, go for tomatoes, if you prefer green olives to black olives, do that. If you’re not a fan of artichokes or red pepper, you can leave them out or switch them out.

I encourage you to try sourcing organic if possible and the freshest ingredients you can. While all ingredients are served together, each stands on its own marinating in the tangy dressing. So having the freshest possible ingredients will take a Salad Nicoise from ordinary to extraordinary.

What to use in this version of Salad Nicoise

Naturally, my first favorite, tuna, soft boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, blanched green beans, marinated artichokes, roasted red peppers, olives and to spruce up the classic olive oil (which I love by the way), I’ve decided to go with a garlic infused dijon dressing, which in my opinion works beautifully with every single ingredient. Dijon to me is French essence.

Can you make this Salad Nicoise low carb/paleo?

Absolutely! If you’re strictly paleo, you can skip the step of boiling potatoes and just go for the green beans. You could certainly use sweet potatoes if you really wanted but I don’t think you’d end up with the same overall taste and feel. If you’re paleo, you may just want to leave the potatoes out.

If you don’t like Dijon mustard

If you happen to not like Dijon (I promise I won’t judge you), feel free to use a high quality olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. I wouldn’t add a vinegar to this, as the marinated veggies add enough depth. A vinegar may be a bit too intense and will mask all the layers of flavors that are quintessential in Salad Nicoise.

If you want more

If you’re looking to serve a bigger crowd just double up on the quantities. You can use a larger pot for boiling the eggs, potatoes and green beans.

I hope you will love this Salad Nicoise as much as I do!

salad nicoise
salad nicoise
salad nicoise-13.jpg

salad nicoise

  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • cooking time: 20 minutes

  • makes: 2 servings

Equipment:

  • medium pan

  • small mixing bowl

  • large mixing bowl

  • large serving plate

Ingredients:

For the salad

For dressing:


Directions:

  1. In medium pot, bring 4 cups of water to boil. Slowly add eggs and cook for 7 minutes (set a timer). Carefully remove eggs and drop in large bowl of ice water for 1 minutes. Remove and set aside.

  2. Add potatoes and beans to boiling water. Set timer for 4 minutes. Remove beans and add to ice water. Set timer for another 7 minutes for the potatoes. Remove potatoes and add to ice water as well.

  3. Meanwhile whisk all ingredients under dressing.

  4. To plate. Peel eggs and cut in half, remove tuna from can and break up with your hand arranging it on plate. Arrange all other ingredients on plate and drizzle with dressing.

  5. Sprinkle with extra salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.



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Salad Nicoise may just be the most perfect salad invented. Tasty St Jude Tuna works beautifully with, crunch green beans, creamy potatoes, soft boiled eggs, briny vegetables and tangy dressing. It’s one recipe that’s on repeat in my house. #saladnicoise #nicoisesalad #tunanicoisesalad #tunanicoise #calmeats #salad #pleosalad #whole30salad #whole30 #paleo #glutenfree #dairyfree #realfood #stjudetuna
Salad Nicoise may just be the most perfect salad invented. Tasty St Jude Tuna works beautifully with, crunch green beans, creamy potatoes, soft boiled eggs, briny vegetables and tangy dressing. It’s one recipe that’s on repeat in my house. #saladnicoise #nicoisesalad #tunanicoisesalad #tunanicoise #calmeats #salad #pleosalad #whole30salad #whole30 #paleo #glutenfree #dairyfree #realfood #stjudetuna
Salad Nicoise may just be the most perfect salad invented. Tasty St Jude Tuna works beautifully with, crunch green beans, creamy potatoes, soft boiled eggs, briny vegetables and tangy dressing. It’s one recipe that’s on repeat in my house. #saladnicoise #nicoisesalad #tunanicoisesalad #tunanicoise #calmeats #salad #pleosalad #whole30salad #whole30 #paleo #glutenfree #dairyfree #realfood #stjudetuna

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deviled eggs with avocado

Easy deviled eggs that are perfect for any gathering or just because. Good mayo and Dijon, along with a hint of curry take them to a new level. And topped with a bit of avocado makes them near perfect.

deviled eggs on tray with greens and avocado
deviled eggs with avocado and greens
deviled eggs with avocado and greens
egg shells

It was an ordinary early Sunday evening on a mid-summer day, sunny and mild; my family busy taking in the season’s richness in the back yard. I sliced a few radishes and sprinkled them with coarse salt, enjoying a moment of solitude while watching the crystals bounce off the luminescent slices. I decided to sit on the counter with my little plate of salted radishes, sipping a glass of Semillion. Something I don’t ordinarily do, because I’m a creature of habit and my habit is mostly rushing. But not on that particular day. That day lent itself to slowness, to pleasure; a time to enjoy life’s simplicity. As I sat there feeling quite French, yet looking ordinarily beach bumm-y in my grey T-shirt and cut off jean shorts, legs dangling off the counter, I thought about how much I appreciate and admire simple ingredients.

I often think about the one ingredient I simply couldn’t live without. One that permeates into my every day; that is fundamental and indispensable. And after pondering that for a bit, I decided it would undeniably be eggs. Give me eggs and a few other basics and I would be set. I find the humble little egg to be versatile, nutritious and in my book, a perfect food.

It’s no exaggeration, my refrigerator is equipped with at least 1-2 dozen eggs on most days because anything less, would send me into minor despair. I also believe I’m secretly looking for excuses to use them, be in it pancakes, fried with sliced avocado or topped on any dish for dinner, in omelettes, baked in pretty much anything, soft boiled for lunch with salad or in deviled eggs - which just so happens to be one of my favorite appetizers.

I make them for nearly every gathering because they’re easy to eat, nutrient dense and just plain delicious.

Deviled eggs are all about the condiments

You may think that mayo is mayo but the truth is it’s not. Using the best possible mayo will create the best possible deviled eggs. I often feel the need to reiterate what a difference quality ingredients make, particularly when only using a few to create a dish.

Now, I get it, you may not be in the mood to make your own, but I assure you, it’s absurdly easy to and only requires a handful of ingredients. You can check out my speedy recipe here. But if that doesn’t convince you, buying a good quality mayo will work too.

And as far as mustard, don’t worry, I don’t make my own and do leave that one to the experts, but I do wholeheartedly believe that a good Dijon mustard can make just as much of a difference in your deviled eggs as mayo. Find a good brand that’s not overly salty and has balanced flavors.

Easy to peel eggs every time

It’s been my experience that making simple dishes requires a good, consistent method that works every single time. And when it comes to hard boiled eggs, my magic number is 13. Thirteen minutes of boiling will ensure the eggs are perfectly cooked and easy to peel. But the most important part is boiling the water prior to adding the eggs. And you’re guaranteed to find satisfaction in peeling.

The timing of deviled eggs

Another important piece when it comes to deviled eggs is making sure you work quickly once the eggs are peeled to ensure the yolks are still warm and easily blend into the mayo mixture. This way you will avoid clumping and the deviled eggs will have an overall smooth texture without using a food processor or blender.

If you’re not serving them right away, no problem, you can refrigerate the egg white halves and deviled eggs mixture overnight in a piping bag or plastic bag and just let it come to room temperature the next day, cut off a tiny corner and you’ve got a piping bag.

When you’re ready to assemble the deviled eggs, squeeze in as much mixture as you’d like and top with chopped avocado and a little freshly chopped dill. Enjoy!

deviled eggs with avocado and greens
deviled eggs with avocado and greens
deviled eggs with avocado and greens
deviled eggs with avocado and greens

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paleo deviled eggs 

  • Prep time: 5-10 minutes

  • Cooking time 13 minutes

  • Serves 12 deviled eggs

Ingredients

  • 6 pastured eggs

  • 1/4 cup mayo - you can make your own or try use this brand

  • 1 tsp good Dijon or yellow mustard, depending on how tangy you like it

  • 1/2 tsp Apple cider vinegar - I use Bragg

  • 1 tsp fresh dill chopped plus more for garnish

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped dill pickle

  • 1/8 tsp curry powder

  • pinch of pepper

  • pinch of smoked or regular paprika

  • 1/2 avocado diced into small pieces

  • optional - pinch of salt

Equipment

  • medium sauce pan

  • spatula

  • mixing bowl

  • zip lock bag (if you have a piping bag, use that instead)

  • scissors

Directions: 

  1. Add 4 cups water to medium sauce pan. Bring it to a boil and reduce heat. Carefully using either a spoon or small strainer, place the eggs in one at a time and turn heat back up. Boil eggs for 13 minutes.

  2. Remove eggs from heat and immediately run under cold water for 1 minute. If you have ice available, add some as well. Discard water and peel eggs. This process should ensure your eggs are easy to peel.

  3. *Note - very fresh farm eggs will be more difficult to peel.

  4. Meanwhile add rest of ingredients to a bowl besides avocado and egg yolks and combine. Peel eggs and cut each lengthwise in half. Scoop out the egg yolks and add them to bowl with the rest of ingredients and mix well breaking up any lumps. If you want a smoother texture, you can use a food processor.

  5. Next add mixture to either piping bag or use a plastic bag and cut a small bit off the corner, depending on how thick you want your swirl. Add as much as you’d like to each egg white and top with chopped avocado and fresh dill for garnish. 

  6. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.


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Deviled eggs are a staple appetizer for any gathering at my house. They’re easy to make, are nutritious and a crowdpleaser. They’re paleo, whole 30 and vegetarian too. #deviledeggs, #appetizers #whole30appetizers #paleoappetizers #calmeats #vegetarian #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleolifestyle #paleofood #eggs #eggrecipes
Deviled eggs are a staple appetizer for any gathering at my house. They’re easy to make, are nutritious and a crowdpleaser. They’re paleo, whole 30 and vegetarian too. #deviledeggs, #appetizers #whole30appetizers #paleoappetizers #calmeats #vegetarian #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleolifestyle #paleofood #eggs #eggrecipes
Deviled eggs are a staple appetizer for any gathering at my house. They’re easy to make, are nutritious and a crowdpleaser. They’re paleo, whole 30 and vegetarian too. #deviledeggs, #appetizers #whole30appetizers #paleoappetizers #calmeats #vegetarian #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleolifestyle #paleofood #eggs #eggrecipes

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grilled radicchio salad with fennel and soft boiled egg

radicchio salad-14.jpg
radicchio and fennel
endive
radicchio and red onion
grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad

All recipes start with an idea, an ingredient, a spark of inspiration. For this recipe it was radicchio.

I was’t sure it would work and was going to shoot straight for the tried and true romaine as the base, but instead spotted the beautiful small, leafy, red radicchio and decided it would be my ingredient du jour. My thinking was, I’d toss it in the oven along with red onion (because let’s face it, red onion makes everything better) and sliced fennel. To add some crunch and fresh texture, a few endive leaves and toasted walnuts. And for a little creaminess, soft boiled eggs. I was going to even toss in some roasted potatoes in the mix and top the whole thing with a tangy mustardy vinaigrette.

I was all set, ready to get on with the new recipe. So I opened the oven, reached in and pulled out my trusty oversized tray, which lives there. As I grabbed the tray, I suddenly recalled turning off the oven but never pulling out the almonds I’d roasted several minutes prior.

Everything happened quickly. I burned my hand, knocked the entire tray of almonds all over the oven, floor, etc. No problem - cleaned the mess up and was really ready to start.

Oven on for preheat, I was blissfully chopping away at vegetables, eager to see how everything would turn out. That was until I smelled burning. And I mean burning burning, not like I’m burning food. A quick peak in the oven made me realize the almonds I’d previously spilled made their way to the pilot light and now my oven was on fire. Panicked and not wanting to make a heinous mess, I resorted to water and baking soda to put out the flames.

Frustrated beyond belief, my kitchen a disaster, I decided the roasting was off until I could take apart the oven and remove the culprit. But I wasn’t giving up. After all that mess, it was on to plan B - the grill.

So radicchio, fennel and red onion were now getting the grilling treatment. Sure part of me wanted to give up and just repeat the whole thing the next day but I’m stubborn and wasn’t going to let a little fire get in the way of my radicchio salad dreams.

Grilled vs. roasted radicchio

Since the incident, I tried both. Honestly it comes down to personal preference. I really like the way food tastes on the open flame but roasting it also allows it to cook in its own juices so it’s kind of a win win no matter which way you go with the process.

Red onion and fennel also hold up surprisingly well on the grill, so you’re good there too if you decide to grill.

Potatoes or no potatoes?

That is entirely up to you. If you want it paleo skip the potatoes, if you’re whole 30 or vegetarian and want to make it a heartier meal, get those potatoes in there and this salad will become more like a filling dinner than simply a salad. I kept it low carb but it tastes spectacular with potatoes too! And sweet potatoes are a great alternative too!

The perfect egg

Okay the word “perfect” is awfully subjective but in my “egg” book, the sweet spot is between 6-7 minutes depending on the kind of texture I’m after. For this salad, I wanted a little more bite but still a little jammy-ness so 7 minutes exactly it was. The key is to shock the eggs in ice water as soon as they’ve finished cooking.

grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad
grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad
grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad
grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad
grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad

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  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 10-20 minutes

  • makes: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 head radicchio, sliced into 8 pieces

  • 1 medium fennel bulb, sliced

  • 1 endive, leaves peeled

  • 1/2 large red onion, cut into thick pieces

  • 2-4 eggs

  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided

  • 3/4 tsp salt divided

  • 1/2 tsp pepper divided

  • 1/4 tsp lemon

  • 1/2 tsp honey

  • 2 tsp ricewine vinegar

  • 1 tsp quality dijon mustard

  • 2 tbsp toasted walnuts

  • optional: roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes


Equipment:

  • grill if not using oven

  • medium pot

  • small mixing bowl

  • large roasting sheel

  • small roasting sheet

  • parchment paper

Directions:

If using potatoes, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and chop potatoes. On parchment paper lined sheet, potatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and toss together. Roast potatoes for 25-30 minutes stirring once, and set aside.

Combine radicchio, red onion, and fennel with 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and toss to combine. Either roast for 20 minutes (turning vegetables after 10 minutes) or grill on medium heat for 5-10 minutes per side until radicchio, fennel and red onion have softened.

Add walnuts to small tray and toast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring pot with 4 cups of water to boil. Add eggs and boil with lid on for 7 minutes. Immediately remove pot from heat and run eggs under cold water for a minute. Peel and cut in half.

In small bowl, combine remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, rice wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and mix well.

In large bowl or plate, peel endive leaves and layer on the bottom. Once radicchio, onion and fennel have finished roasting, add them to bowl with potatoes (if using), pour dressing over and top with eggs and walnuts. Serve right away.


If you’re looking for a delicious salad without the lettuce, check out this grilled radicchio and fennel salad with endives, soft boiled eggs, toasted walnuts and a tangy vinaigrette. It’s simple yet delicious! #paleo #whole30 #vegetarian #calmeats #salad #radicchio #fennel #softboiledeggs #endive #whole30salad #paleosalad #saladrecipe #summerrecipe



how to cook a perfect soft boiled egg

soft boiled eggs with radish and avocado
soft boiled eggs with watermelon radish, avocado and greens
soft boiled egg and watermelon radish

The window was slightly ajar letting out some of the steam that had built up in the small kitchen. My grandmother feverishly stirring what looked like an absurdly large pot while chattering about the neighbors. I sat at the kitchen table staring out the 7th story window, daydreaming and patiently waiting with my piece of fresh, crusty bread. Six minutes is a long time for a kid.

I turned back to the scene behind me. My grandfather’s towel wrapped hand, swiftly maneuvering past my grandma with the boiling pot; some sort of bickering exchanged. Cold water running, I waited; stomach growling. I knew the routine. It was predictable, timed and always perfect.

As he cracked the top open, I could see the orange glow against the white. It was a magical sight. A pinch of salt, a dash of pepper. A beautifully cooked soft boiled egg. It was the perfect egg for dipping my bread in it first, then scooping out the white with the spoon. A few pieces of hard, aged salami, tea and breakfast was complete.

Something as simple as eating an egg, when done slowly, with intention, can become nearly ceremonious. There was an utter delight in having this carefully cooked egg before me that took just minutes to make. I’m not certain I appreciated it as a 7 year old, but the memory is deeply ingrained and I look back on it with fondness.

I hesitated writing this blog post because it seemed a little silly at first…everyone knows how to cook a soft boiled egg, right? But after posting an image on my Instagram feed about cooking the perfect soft boiled egg and receiving questions about the technique, I thought maybe not. So a single egg is getting its own blog post. After all, the egg is a coveted food around these parts. So let’s jump right in to the method of cooking the perfect soft boiled egg.

soft boiled egg and watermelon radish
soft boiled egg and watermelon radish

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how to cook the perfectly soft boiled egg

  • prep time: 1 minute

  • cooking time: 6 minutes

  • makes: 2 soft boiled eggs

Ingredients:

  • 2 organic eggs

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 4 cups of water

Equipment:

  • small sauce pan

  • timer

Directions:

Add 4 cups water to small pot. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and gently place eggs in water without bouncing them. Return heat to boil, cover with lid and set your timer for 6 minutes.

After 6 minutes, dump out water and run eggs under cold water for 1 minute.

You can crack the top or peel the whole egg and serve right away with salt and pepper

*Bonus: To cook a perfect hard boiled egg, follow the same steps for boiling water, reducing heat but just add eggs and boil with lid on for 13 minutes. Rinse under cold water for 1 minute and peel.


If you’re looking to make the perfect soft boiled egg, you’ve come to the right place. In this post you’ll find out exactly how to cook the perfect, gooey, delicious soft boiled egg that will be perfect every single time. #softboiledegg #egg #howtocookeggs #boiledegg #paleo #whole30 #glutenfree #recipe #calmeats #grainfree #dairyfree #realfoodrecipes

3 ingredient avocado and greens omelette

egg breakfast (2 of 15).jpg
egg breakfast (12 of 15).jpg

I wake up early. Sometimes I wish I would allow myself an extra hour of sleep, especially on days that I work from home. But the need for alone time in the morning is much stronger than the need for extra sleep, which most sleep experts would probably frown upon, including the logical part of me (Since I wrote a post about it). But, until my children learn to sleep in later, I will suffer the consequences of not enough sleep, which I will likely regret around the age of 50. 

egg breakfast (8 of 15).jpg

Mornings have always held a special place. Rolling out of bed and getting on with the day, doesn't quite work for me. I want 2 cups of coffee, food and time to just be. The silence of the morning feels purifying in a way. An invitation for the day to be whatever it may. In those moments, there's blind possibility. 

January is quiet. I listen closely for a chirp, a sign of life outside my house, but aside from the occasional car and the hum of the refrigerator, there's silence. I have permission to collect my thoughts and because quiet moments are a rare commodity, I appreciate them even more. 

It's New Year's Day. While I rebel against the notion of resolutions, I do enjoy the feeling of a fresh start. Life is a series of reinventions, whether it's in the middle of the year or on January 1st but I do understand the need to hit the re-set button after a potentially gluttonous month. 

Most people opt for a diet change around this time of year and while I think that's a good thing for many reasons, I often think it ought to be more of a permanent shift. One in the direction of eating whole, real food that's minimally processed. People often assume this means eating bland food or needing to spend countless hours creating a dish. It means, using real ingredients and making delicious food that's simple and satisfying. It doesn't have to be complicated to be good. 

Take this 3 ingredient breakfast for example. In the time it takes to wait for 2 pop tarts to pop out of the toaster, you can cook this very basic omelette. All you need are eggs, salt and pepper, some fresh greens and avocado. You'll feel full, your blood sugar will be stable and you won't need to have a snack an hour later when you would have otherwise crashed. 

As you can see I have a bit of an obsession with avocado and eggs - rightfully so they're pretty spectacular when combined. So check out this speedy breakfast (or lunch or dinner) you can whip up in 4 minutes. It's also fantastic with a little sriracha drizzled on top!

egg breakfast (10 of 15).jpg

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3 ingredient avocado and greens omelette

  • prep time: 3 minutes

  • cooking time: 4 minutes

  • makes: 1 servings

Ingredients:  

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 avocado sliced

  • sprouts of your choice (optional)

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • pinch salt

  • pinch freshly ground pepper (it's a small touch but freshly ground is so much better)

  • optional: sriracha sauce for drizzling on top

Equipment

  • medium frying pan (I own these)

  • medium bowl

Directions

Preheat frying over medium heat. In bowl, whisk together eggs, slat and pepper. 

Add olive oil to the pan and pour in egg mixture. Evenly distribute it throughout the pan. Let cook for 2 minutes until set then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes until that side is set.

To assemble, place omelette on plate, add sprouts and avocado slices and fold over in half. 

Optional, drizzle sriracha over top.

Delicious doesn’t have to be complicated. Check out this quick 3 ingredient omelette you can whip up and have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. #omelette #eggs #avocado #breakfast #brunch #whole30food #whole30 #quickwhole30recipes #calmeats #paleo #paleofood #vegetarian #grainfree #glutenfree #dairyfree