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Savor this: Lightened Sweet Zucchini and Chorizo Spanish Tortilla

By Melissa d'Arabian, Associated Press
Associated Press
The combination of shredded zucchini and onion makes the body of the tortilla tasty and nutritious.

Growing up in the Southwest, a tortilla was a thin flatbread used to wrap around grilled meat and make tacos. I was in my 30s before I visited Barcelona, Spain, and was served a Spanish tortilla — a completely different dish — and I fell in love instantly.

A Spanish tortilla is something like an incredibly tasty frittata made from sliced potatoes, vegetables and usually a flavorful cured meat, like Spanish chorizo or sausage. It's perfect at room temperature for picnics, warm for a lazy Sunday supper or chilled in the fridge, for an easy-to-graze protein-filled snack.

I was surprised to discover how many calories were packed into one serving of this Spanish favorite. I decided to give it a little makeover by making three changes. First, given the trendiness of trading out potatoes for cauliflower, I couldn't help but wonder if this swap would hold up.

The answer is yes. The trick is to cut the cauliflower head into thin planks. Steam the planks in a covered shallow saute pan with a little bit of water just for a few minutes to tenderize and the cauliflower planks can be layered into the tortilla just as you would use cooked potato slices.

The second change was in the egg batter: I used reduced-fat milk instead of the full-fat version and removed yolks from half the eggs, leaving the tortilla decidedly yellow enough and eggy, not egg whitey.

Lastly, I used reduced-fat soy chorizo, which gives a ton of flavor for a fraction of the fat and calories of the regular version. (It's fresh chorizo, which is Mexican, not Spanish, but it works beautifully.) You can buy this at many regular grocery stores, but if not, substitute reduced-fat Italian sausage for a nice, if different, flavor.

Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."