How to Make Tortilla Espanola

This is a recipe from Team NF Rebel Chef Noel.

Hard-working Rebels have struggled for years to figure out how to make a portable breakfast to take to work. In fact, for those who aren’t intermittent fasting, you may have a goal of eating a healthy breakfast to start your day off right.

The closest many of us have come to solving this riddle is by making a favorite of The Rebellion: Prosciutto Wrapped Egg Muffins. However, I rarely make them because I’m a hot mess in the kitchen and I get egg EVERYWHERE. Plus, I find prosciutto prohibitively expensive and I have ruined many muffin tins and lost much of my breakfast to…well…them sticking to the pan. Solve this problem for me Jedis of the egg muffin order; you’re my only hope.

I may have discovered a solution for us muffin dunces. Recently I went on an Epic Quest of my own and discovered something called Tortilla Espanola.

This Spanish dish just might be something foreign we can add to our healthy breakfast arsenal. It’s healthy, tasty, and traditionally, there are only 4 ingredients. That means it’s super easy to make!

Tortilla Espanola is a Spanish dish that is essentially an egg cake with potato and onion. It’s cut into triangles or squares and served at room temperature as tapas. You might think: cold egg? Gross! But there’s no reason you can’t warm it up in the microwave before you head out. (But, before you do, give it a try traditionally and keep it chilled or at room temperature.)

Tortilla Espanola:

Noel_Tortilla_Espanola_001

Serves: 2-3
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup (78.86ml) diced sweet potato – I used sweets to keep it Paleo; if you eat regular potatoes, feel free to go traditional and sub those!
  • 1/3 cup (78.86ml) diced yellow onion
  • 3 Tbsp (45ml) olive oil

Optional ingredients to spice it up:

(these are what I used in mine)

  • 1/3 cup (78.86ml) red bell pepper
  • 1/2 sausage link – I used Applegate Farms chicken apple sausages. Look for something with minimal processing, chemicals, and no added sugar or wheat. These sausages are also pre-cooked and ready to eat. If your sausages are raw, please COOK THEM FIRST before adding them to your eggs.
  • 4 cherry tomatoes – cut into quarters

I didn’t use these, but they are also good choices. Choose your favorites!

  • Mushrooms
  • Bacon – cook it first then chop it after removing it from the pan. As a bonus, you can use the bacon grease to saute the rest of your veggies!
  • Spinach

 Equipment:

  • Cast iron or other oven-safe saute pan
  • Spatula
  • Bowl
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Potato Peeler

Instructions:

Check out the video version of this recipe here (or below)!

The next 16 steps are really just three: we’ll be cutting and cooking our veggies, mixing them in with our eggs, and cooking the whole thing.

Let’s go!

1. Wash all your veggies.

2. Chop all your veggies. If you need a reminder about how to do this, check out these links:

Tortilla_Espanola_002

Cut the little tomatoes into quarters and the sausage into medallions and then chop those in half or into quarters.

A quick note – We’ll want to dice these things pretty small so they incorporate well into the egg mixture. The bell pepper and mushroom instructions above are for larger chunks. 

When you’re done, everything should look like this:

Tortilla_Espanola_005

3. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in your pan. This will take a minute or so. Once it is hot, it will slide easily around the pan.

Tortilla_Espanola_006

4. Toss in your diced sweet potato. Stir to coat with oil and let them cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want them to cook through, but you don’t want them to burn, so stay attentive! A fork should be able to easily pop in to the chunk when finished.

Tortilla_Espanola_007

5. When they’re done, remove them from your pan. Scoop them into a bowl and let them cool while you cook the onion and other veggies.

Noel_Tortilla_Espanola_008

6. Place another 1 tbsp of olive oil in your pan and let it heat up. It should heat up more quickly this time since your pan is already hot.

7. Toss in your onion, bell peppers, and other veggies like mushrooms or spinach if using. Stir these to coat with oil and let them cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When they are finished cooking, the onions should become translucent.

Tortilla_Espanola_009

When they are done, remove them from the heat. Place them in a bowl and set aside to cool. Be sure to remove your pan from the heat so it doesn’t get too hot.

8. Now break your eggs into a mixing bowl and scramble them. Mix in all your sautéed ingredients plus the ingredients that didn’t need to be cooked (tomatoes and sausage). If you’re using bacon, now’s the time to add it. Stir to incorporate them really well.

Tortilla_Espanola_011

9. Put your pan back on the heat and add another 2 tbsp oil. Let it heat up for a minute or so. Heat and oil are super important at this point. If you don’t let the pan get hot enough or add enough oil to coat the pan before adding the eggs, your egg will stick. Major bummer.

10. Once your pan and the oil are hot, tilt the pan to coat the bottom and sides. Then grab your bowl full of egg and dump it into the hot pan. Now leave it alone!

Noel_Tortilla_Espanola_013

11. While the egg is cooking in the pan, turn on your broiler. If your broiler has the option of “HI” or “LO,” go ahead and set it to low. Make sure everything is out of the oven before turning it on – we don’t want any melting disasters.

12. Once the egg has cooked for about 1-2 minutes on your stove top (or until the egg solidifies), turn off the heat. Take your spatula and run it around the sides of the pan, gently unsticking the egg from the sides. You’ll thank me later.

Tortilla_Espanola_014

13. Now place the pan in the oven under the broiler. We do this so that the top of the egg cooks — you’ll notice at this point, it’s still a little raw and runny. Let it cook for another 5-10 minutes (depending on your broiler). Check it frequently to make sure it’s not burning.

Noel_Tortilla_Espanola_015

14. Once the egg on the top is cooked, pull it out of the oven. Remember to use an oven mitt! (I burn myself way too often grabbing hot pan handles).

Tortilla_Espanola_016

15. Take a rubber spatula and run it around the sides and the bottom of the pan gently. We’re un-sticking any stuck egg from the pan.

Take a plate and place it on top of the pan.

Flip the pan over to flip the egg onto the plate. (This step is clearer in the video.) You can see in the picture that it stuck a little bit to the pan.

That’s not a huge deal. Life goes on…

Noel_Tortilla_Espanola_017

16. Let the egg sit on the plate to cool before you cut into it. Move the egg to a cutting board by simply sliding it from one surface to the next and cut it into triangles or squares. For bonus points, if you have dinosaur shaped cookie cutters, use those to cut your egg. Because that sounds awesome.

Tortilla_Espanola_019

Ole!

If you want, you can serve these on a plate with guacamole or salsa. Personally, I just put it in a paper towel and eat it on the go. It’s a pretty easy quick snack or breakfast for the busy Rebel!

Trying and discovering new foods is one of the best parts of travel, in my opinion. Trying recipes or spice combinations from other lands is just one of the ways we can bring the magic of a trip back home.

Let’s hope this solves the breakfast problem for some of us who are egg-muffin challenged.

Have you tried foods while traveling that you’d like to try to cook at home?

What is your favorite on-the-go breakfast?

Did you find the video helpful?

Let us know in the comments!

-Noel

PS: Have you joined our free 5-Day Flexibility Challenge yet? We’re opening the doors for Nerd Fitness Yoga next Tuesday for 4 days, but you can start testing your flexibility today!

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  • Evil-lyn

    Looks yum. If y’all have the time, a nice printable 1-page PDF would be lovely. If I like a recipe (and the family does, too) I like to print and file so we can plan means for the week …

  • Slates

    I’m horrific with metal pans- for egg muffins have you tried silicone cupcake liners?

  • Wendy Johnston

    I would have the veggies and meat sauteed and refrigerated or frozen for a quicker morning meal. I love frittata of all kinds. The veggie combinations are endless. In my house there would be a clove of garlic and hot Italian sausage. Yum. With a salad this makes a very nice dinner.

  • starmartyr

    Sounds much like a Fritata – same idea. You can turn these into a wrap too with a thin tortilla.

    The oven step isn’t 100% necessary, you can cover it to cook through and/or flip it if you’re skilled – like an omelette.

    Also, I say forget the potatoes! Too starchy and takes too long to cook. Stick with the onions, peppers, tomatoes, thin cut meats – traditional omelette type ingredients.

  • Jenn Miguez Batina

    This is what I was going to say. It definitely sounds like a fritata rather than a tortilla.

  • Matthew Dimalanta

    Thank you so much!

    I really wish Nerd Fitness focused a bit more on the food. We always talk about how 80% of what we need is diet, but we always focus on the exercise and not the food. I hope we see more stuff like this!

  • Catherine Egan

    Well – for years I have brought “egg bake”, that staple of Midwest brunch, to work, and I find it easier than frittata-type meals like the above AND you can make more in one fell swoop. You follow all the above steps except use a dozen eggs and whatever your favorite fillings are. I use a big pile of spinach that I wilt down. Onions, gruyere, mushrooms, whatever you like. After stirring it all together pour into a greased 9×13 pan and bake at 325 for 30+ minutes until the egg is set. When cool cut it up and freeze the pieces individually. Grab one and a banana on your way out the door. Microwave for 1+ minutes, more if frozen solid, less if thawed for a while.

  • Javi

    You’re almost right, but that’s not exactly like that. Here in Spain we call “tortilla” to omelettes (we call them “tortilla francesa”) and this, but we obviously don’t call it española, we call it “tortilla de patata”. I agree that is more like a fritatta, but here no one eats fritatta (almost everyone I know only eats omelet or this, we like potatoes! :D)

    The ‘tortilla’ term that you’re talking about is the one used in Mexican food, (like the wrapper of fajitas). Here that it’s a tortilla too, but normally when we say tortilla, everybody thinks on omelet or tortilla de patata

  • Jenn Miguez Batina

    Ooh! Thanks for the info!

  • Mirichan

    I am Spanish and I am afraid to say that your omelette looks nothing like Spanish omelette! Surely it is delicious though!

  • Gemfae

    I use silicone baking cups top make egg muffins with whatever I have on hand. One of my favorites is buffalo chicken egg muffins using organic buffalo sauce and shredding the chicken. Veggies I use for this one are bell peppers, onion, tomato, spinach and diced jalapeno. So good! And easily portable. To avoid the egg sticking, I use a basting brush and lightly brush each cup with evoo.

  • linda_de

    Great recipe! I will definitely try it with the sweet potatoes! My on the go breakfast takes me as long as my Bialetti takes to make my coffee. I heat coconut oil in my small no-stick pan, throw in a big handful of greens (the bag at Costco that has organic kale, spinach and chard in it) and I break 2 eggs into a little bowl and stir them up while tossing the greens around to wilt them. Then I add the eggs and tilt and swirl the pan so the eggs get evenly cooked. Once the bottom is lightly cooked, I do the fancy flip! and cook the other side of the eggs with the hot pan as I turn off the heat. I put a tortilla over the pan to soften it for about 30 seconds. (My coffee is done now too so I turn off the heat under my Bialetti) I now arrange my tortilla on a paper towel or piece of foil, place my egg omelet on the tortilla, sometimes add avocado slices and roll it up. Breakfast to go!
    I will be doing this new recipe tomorrow morning to go with my coffee! Thank you so much!

  • Dani Shanghai

    I hope this article was a joke,but I guess it is for real.
    I feel very disappointed indeed. I have been following u guys for over 4+ years and this is the first time I am gonna post a comment cause I don’t wanna people to really believe that “that” recipe was a spanish omelet.
    Wrong name (tortilla española? Seriously? ), wrong ingredients ( most of us here follow healthy nutrition ,as for we know spanish omelet is not the healthier dish ever, but do me a favour please,when u give urself the chance of enjoying that amazing dish do it properly and forget about the damn paleo-or-whatever-lifestyle-you-are-into and user normal potatoes,not sweet potatoes, perhaps when u prepare home made sushi rolls do u happen to use brown rice instead the sushi rice that make the flavor just perfect?!?!), wrong procedure and steps ( u don’t cut the potatoes into dices but into slides , so u can fry them at the beginning with the onion all together. U put the fried potatoes and onion with an absorbent paper to get all the oil from it while preparing the eggs and other ingredients. You put them inside the bowl that contains the eggs for few minutes to soak , and u NEVER use an oven to cook the omelet, my god!!!!)
    No wonder why the final result in that video is that poor…
    For anyone interested in learning this great spanish recipe, just go to youtube and type receta tortilla de patata. You don’t need to speak Spanish to understand how to do it.
    P.S. spanish omelet taste delicious, both warm and cold. For all of you that are afraid of trying it when is cold, please give urself the chance of eating a portion of spanish omelet the next morning after being kept in the fridge the whole night. You will probably find it like is a totally different dish, but still damn good.

  • rhiannion

    Thanks, Steve! lol Love your posts. Sounds great. I have a friend who can’t eat pork I’ll need to find the turkey sausage for him – I did find turkey bacon, and I have tried it and it’s got good flavor. I recently found a Pepian Sauce, it’s a Mexican sauce made with pumpkin seeds as it’s base and can be made with tomatoes or green tomatillos.
    Thanks again for the recipe and the entertainment

  • rhiannion

    Catherine: Sounds great also! Will need to give this a try since you say you can freeze it.

  • rhiannion

    Linda: If you’re having a problem with coconut oil since it’s not a high heat oil, you might be interested in avocado oil (found it when I was on the road working) it has a high heat tolerance AND it’s avocado.

  • rhiannion

    Dani: Okay, we all have been corrected, bless your heart. You all take care now, heah? and have a nice day.

  • Noel

    Hey! Thanks for the suggestion. Some of our recipe posts have printable recipes and shopping lists at the bottom, but I keep forgetting to add them! Sorry! I’ll go back and add. 🙂

  • Noel

    So many people are telling me that this is the way to do it. Looks like it’s time to invest in some silicone cupcake liners! Thanks!

  • Noel

    That’s a great idea! Prepping your veggies beforehand would make this much easier, plus if you prep a bunch, you can put them in different meals throughout the week!

  • Noel

    Thanks for being awesome and clarifying this for everyone, Javi! The first time I heard the word “tortilla” in reference to this type of frittata/omelet, I was really confused too. I always think of the mexican tortillas first.

  • Noel

    We’re definitely taking this into consideration 🙂 Thanks for the feedback!

  • Noel

    Sounds awesome!

  • Noel

    Hahaha. I appreciate the feedback. I’m always trying to fit as many veggies as I can into a recipe/meal, so I’ll be the first to admit this recipe little bit of a mutant.

  • Noel

    Wow! That sounds like an awesome idea. I love buffalo chicken. I would have never thought of adding it to egg muffins! I’ll definitely have to try it. (And I’ll have to get some of those silicone baking cups.)

  • Noel

    Awesome Linda! Your breakfast sounds pretty darn good too!

  • Noel

    Hahaha. Thanks for the feedback, Dani. These recipes are intended for beginner cooks who have barely stepped in the kitchen. I appreciate someone who loves good food and knows how to cook, and it sounds like you know your stuff, so these methods and suggestions may be a little too primitive for you.

    I’m always trying to fit as many veggies as I can into a recipe/meal, so I’ll be the first to admit this recipe little bit of a mutant. And yes, we do paleo-fy pretty much every recipe we post here. Because that’s how we eat, and we want the Nerd Fitness Rebels to be able to eat this way too. We believe in this kind of eating because it works for us and keeps us happy, healthy, and strong. Keep doing your thing, and we’ll keep doing ours. 🙂

  • Noel

    Thanks for the kind words! Turkey sausage will work just fine. I’ve never heard of that sauce before. It sounds really interesting. I hope you enjoy the recipe! Tell us how it goes!

  • Katy

    A great idea for a portable, high-protein breakfast! Some ideas:
    – You really must try the silicone cupcake liners or just a whole silicone muffin pan. Nothing will stick to that guy.
    – If cooking the eggs in the pan (and potentially having them stick) scares anyone, you could just put all the veg and eggs in a baking dish and bake at 400 until cooked through, maybe 30-40 minutes.
    – If you decide to use spinach, you want to cook it, let it cool (or thaw frozen spinach) and then SQUEEZE it as hard as you can – I even wrap it in a dish cloth and wring it out – to get as much water as possible out. This keeps your final omelette/tortilla/frittata from being all watery and falling apart (not delicious).
    – If you have structural integrity issues with your frittata (making them not quite hand-held), try wrapping them up in lettuce leaves like a paleo sandwich. =)

  • That looks delicious. So easy to prepare and cook, why would anyone eat junk food? I might even add some mushrooms to this as well.

  • William Bloomberg

    Thanks for sharing it…

    I believe that Nerd Fitness focused a bit more on the food. We always try to diet without food. I think it will make conscious us. I like your writing style like another fitness Blog.

  • ooweijoo

    Great article/recipe! I like the simplicity of it. Will definitely give it a go 😀

  • Xurde Garcia

    Here’s the real deal: (spanish)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_pqlSGapFE

    There are quite a few ways to prepare Tortilla Española and yours is quite “exotic” but still good enough.

    The most difficult thing to achieve is to get that running texture of the eggs, it far more difficult than preparing scrambled eggs. Here in spain some people like it really cooked but the best tortilla is always “creamy”.

    You state that it is served cold but that is just because at tapa bars it is served at room temperature but at home it is served straight from the pan and there is usually always leftovers which as you said can be eaten cold or heated in the microwave or even refried or stewed! with some sauce which is called “tortilla guisada”

    There are a lot of variations like “tortilla paisana” which includes vegetables a lot like your version.

    Some commenters relate this to a fritatta but this is far from reality. This is something else entirely.

  • Xurde Garcia

    Yeah Right Javi!

  • Xurde Garcia

    I have prepared these egg muffins myself lots of times and they are really good and convenient , but believe me, it has nothing to do with “Tortilla Española” which beats all the fritattas and egg cakes in the world! come see me and I will prove it to you! 😉

  • Xurde Garcia

    The original recipe for the “tortilla española” uses olive oil, preferabily “extra virgin olive oil” sunflower seed oil is also used as an alternative here in spain. “Extra virgin olive oil” is by the way one of the best aliments ever, full with omega3 fatty acids and lots of other benefitial substances. Spain is the main producer in the world and we have the best product but we are horrible sellers and italian olive oil is more known in the USA. Ironically most of the oil sold in the USA as italian is actually produced in spain and bottled in italy…

  • Xurde Garcia

    Dani shanghai you’re damm right! anyway lets chill and encourage everyone to prepare this delicious dish. If there is a dish which is really prepared and loved anywhere in spain that is the “Tortilla Española”
    By the way Española uses the Ñ ñ this sounds totally different from an N similar to enye if you read it in english I know english keyboards lack this key but you can use it with alt+164

  • Brooke McDowall

    Jedi from the Egg Muffin order suggests tin foil cup cake liners (you can get them at most anywhere that has a cake decorating section) or just using pieces of tin foil to line the tin. Tin foil usually separates from food well, and if you leave it long at the top it will catch anything that cooks over and keep it from getting baked on the pan.

  • Chris Kelly

    Just made it, came out great! Next time, I think I’ll add more sausage and tomatoes but it was awesome. Thanks! I also really liked having a video to follow along with.

  • Gymlivet

    Do you mind if I use the top picture for my own website?
    http://www.gymlivet.com

  • Gymlivet

    Do you mind if I use the top picture for my own website?
    http://www.gymlivet.com

  • Leigh Turland

    That is a dangerous way to cut onion. Please stop endorsing bad knife skills. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwGBt3V0yvc

  • waywardsister

    I make frittata (which is what this dish is) all the time, and I bake it in the oven in a silicone square pan. Works great!

  • ocballer

    I might try this recipe out I usually like a to-go snack with minimal preparations, but I wouldn’t mind waking up a few minutes earlier and making this.
    http://physicalgain.com/the-best-food-to-eat-for-breakfast

  • pluupy

    Then do please link a picture of a spanish omelette. It’s an flippin omelette. There isn’t much variation you can do differently.

    I am also spanish, as I am Dominican. If you are a native of Spain, you are Spaniard. Distinct difference.

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