1 protein – 2 vegetables – 1 starch
Eggs Benedict has always been a favorite breakfast of mine. In fact, any kind of brunch food is usually high on my list of favorites. I stopped making Eggs Benedict on a regular basis a few years ago because hollandaise sauce is neither the healthiest thing in the world nor the easiest to prepare. It just so happens to be quite delicious, which is why people still eat it.
I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and I decided to give it a try. A traditional Eggs Benedict involves Canadian bacon or a ham product of some kind, but that was easy for me to eliminate. When I was on a business trip in the Palm Springs area many years ago, I had a spa-style Eggs Benedict breakfast dish that replaced the Canadian bacon with a mixture of spinach and tomato. It was delicious, so I took this dish in that direction. Next, I had to figure out how to get volume in my hollandaise without all the butter, so I beat my egg whites into a meringue and added them to the yolks instead of butter. Then lo and behold, I found a new product in my bakery aisle: light English muffins with only 100 calories per muffin. The dish was complete.
If you struggle with poaching the eggs, feel free to fry them over-easy in a nonstick pan coated with zero-calorie cooking spray. The dish is just as good with them cooked this way. Even for a seasoned cook like myself, a perfectly poached egg can be a challenge.
Save this breakfast for a lazy Sunday morning when you have the time to clean up all the pots and pans and bowls. Eggs Benedict has always made a mess, but the indulgent taste makes it all worthwhile!
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp. Morton® Lite Salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp. light margarine, melted, or 2 tsp. olive oil
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 4 C. water
- 4 C. of baby spinach leaves, rinsed and spun dry
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 whole wheat English muffin (100 calories or less)
Crack two of the eggs into separate cups or ramekins and set aside. These will be the two eggs that are poached. Separate the other two eggs, with the yolks in one ramekin and the whites in another. To the yolks, add 1/4 teaspoon of Morton® Lite Salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the lemon juice and cayenne to taste.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat on high speed until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
In a double-boiler (or stainless bowl set over barely simmering water but not touching it), whisk the egg yolk mixture constantly until it starts to thicken. Turn off the heat under the pan, and continue to whisk while adding the melted margarine or olive oil. Remove mixture from heat and whisk yolk mixture into beaten whites until well combined and pale yellow. Set aside, placing a plate over the bowl to keep the mixture warm.
Heat a non-stick skillet over high heat. Spray with zero-calorie cooking spray and add spinach. Season with garlic powder and remaining half of salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until about half of spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and cover.
In a large saucepan, bring four cups of water to a boil. Using a spoon, stir the water in a wide circular motion. Carefully but quickly plop each of the reserved eggs into the swirling water, placing them close to the water surface. Allow them to swirl separately with the water for about three minutes or until whites have set but yolk is still soft.
While the eggs are cooking, split English muffin and toast until golden brown and crispy.
Divide spinach mixture between two plates. Place muffin half next to spinach. When the eggs are done, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and rest on top of the muffin. To warm sauce, place bowl over the pot of water used to cook the eggs and whisk just until warm. Divide sauce between plates, spooning over eggs and spinach. Garnish with minced chives, if desired.
Makes 2 servings