Americans eat nearly 300 eggs per person per year, but we rarely have them for lunch and dinner. That’s a shame because not only are eggs healthful sources of protein, vitamins and minerals, they also can add pizzazz and richness to dinner entrées.

Eggs might be just the touch you need—and to get you started, here are some surprising ways to add them to four great entrées. Each recipe demonstrates a different method of cooking eggs that works with a variety of dishes.

Hearty Butternut Squash Soup with Poached Egg

This is a comforting, thick, quick soup to make. Adding a poached egg makes the soup more satisfying. Using precut fresh or frozen butternut squash cubes makes the preparation a breeze—you don’t need to cut up a whole butternut squash.

 

1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup sliced onion
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 pound butternut squash cubes (about 3 cups)
2 cups unsalted chicken broth
1 cup russet or Idaho potato cubes
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and sauté for two minutes. Add the garlic, and sauté for one minute. Add the squash cubes, and sauté for one minute. Add the chicken broth and potato cubes. Add the allspice and ginger. Stir to combine the ingredients. Bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes, uncovered, or until the potatoes are soft. Remove the soup to a blender, and process until smooth. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

While the soup cooks, poach the eggs. To poach eggs, fill a saucepan that’s at least four inches tall with at least two to three inches of water. Add the distilled vinegar, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Break an egg into a small bowl, then tip it gently into the pan. Repeat with the second egg. Gently poach in simmering water for two to three minutes for a runny yolk. If you prefer a firmer yolk, cook for four minutes. Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon. Use immediately, or store in cold water. To reheat, immerse the poached eggs in very hot water for 30 seconds. Excess white can be trimmed off if you want a more regular shape.

To finish, place one egg each in the bottom of two soup bowls. Pour the soup over the eggs and serve. Makes two servings.

Middle Eastern Shakshuka

Savory, sometimes spicy tomatoes cooked into a thick sauce with Middle Eastern spices, bell peppers and ­onions—and eggs—make a dish that’s becoming popular in the US. The tomato sauce base can be made in advance. The eggs are cooked right on top of the sauce just before serving. If you prepare the sauce ahead, to finish the dish, warm the sauce and add the eggs.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup seeded and diced red bell pepper
1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
2 cups canned, reduced-sodium, diced tomatoes with juice
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ Tablespoon honey
4 large eggs
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley

Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion, and sauté for five minutes, stirring to keep the onion from burning. Add the garlic, and sauté another minute. Add the diced red bell pepper, and sauté for five minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes, diced canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir to blend the ingredients. Add the cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and honey. Stir again. Gently cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about five minutes.

To finish, use the back of a spoon to make four wells in the sauce. Break one egg into a small bowl, and slide the egg into a well. Continue with the ­remaining three eggs, filling all the wells.
Cover the skillet, and simmer for 10 minutes for a runny yolk or 15 minutes for a firmer yolk. Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top, and serve with bread to dip into the sauce. Makes two servings.

Ricotta Soufflé

Eating soufflé isn’t like eating an egg, of course—but when was the last time you made a soufflé for dinner? I thought so! In this recipe, sautéed vegetables mixed with ricotta cheese and topped with bread crumbs make this an unusual, ­savory soufflé. The zucchini and carrots are diced, and the mushrooms and onions are sliced, providing a variety of textures.
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 cup diced zucchini
1 cup diced carrots
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
½ cup sliced red onion
½ cup chopped fresh basil
¾ cup plain whole-wheat bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 eggs
¼ cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, carrots, mushrooms and onion. Stir to coat. Cover with a lid, and cook for five minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the basil with the bread crumbs, and add the salt and pepper. Set aside. Remove the vegetables from the heat, spoon them into a bowl, and spread them out to cool. Mix the ricotta cheese and eggs together. Combine the ricotta/egg mixture with the vegetables. Evenly spread the mixture into an ovenproof dish about 10 inches by six inches. Spoon the bread crumb mixture on top, and sprinkle with the Cheddar cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, then cover with foil to prevent the bread crumbs from burning. Continue to bake 10 minutes more.

Makes two servings or double the recipe and use an 11-by-seven-inch ­ovenproof dish for four servings.

Easy Fiesta Bowl

This is a dinner in a bowl that’s easy, healthy and quick to make. It features heart-healthy avocado, hard-boiled eggs, corn, tomato and brown rice and can be served warm, room temperature or cool, depending on your mood.

 

2 eggs
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, cut into two-inch pieces (about 2½ cups)
4 cups lettuce (any variety you prefer)
1 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted
1 cup whole cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup cooked brown rice (use microwavable brown rice if you want very quick prep)
1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
½ cup oil-and-vinegar dressing
2 Tablespoons sliced almonds
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

To boil eggs, place them in a saucepan and cover them with cold water by one inch. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and remove from the heat. Let the eggs sit for 10 minutes. Drain and fill the saucepan with cold water, then let the eggs sit for 15 minutes more. Peel the eggs and slice.

Place the lemon juice in a bowl, and add the avocado pieces. Turn them over to coat all sides with the lemon juice.

Divide the lettuce between two large bowls. Spoon corn on one side of the lettuce, the sliced eggs on another side. Continue with the tomatoes and rice, placing them along the sides of the bowl. Place the avocado pieces in the center. Mix the jalapeño pepper and dressing together in a small bowl, and drizzle it over the ingredients. Sprinkle the almonds and cilantro on top. Makes two servings.