Sort-of Spanish Tortilla

June 21, 2023
Two slices of Spanish tortilla on a white plate with a red placemat in the background

One of the unexpected delights of our recent Mediterranean cruise was how much I loved the food in Spain.  The Twin Cities have a diverse culinary scene but only a couple of Spanish restaurants, so all of the Spanish food I've eaten has been while traveling, on this recent trip and weirdly, at a tapas bar in Dublin last year.  Although Spanish food tends to be fairly meaty (it's a country that really loves its pork products) the national dish is vegetarian: the tortilla, which is similar to an egg and potato omelette.

Sometimes called a "Spanish tortilla" or "Spanish omelette" outside of its country of origin to avoid confusion with the Mexican and Central American flatbread of the same name, a tortilla is made by sauteing potatoes (and optionally onions) in oil, mixing the cooked vegetables with eggs, and then returning the mixture to the pan to cook on both sides.  There's an exciting moment when you invert the pan to turn the tortilla onto a plate and then slide it back into the pan.  There are many traditional versions, with different thicknesses and egg textures that range from runny to solid.

Spanish tortilla on a pizza sheet

This is not a traditional tortilla recipe.  As much as I love eating them on vacation as part of a tapas platter with a glass of wine, in my daily life I am a cook who defaults to fairly straightforward one-dish meals.  I'm not a fan of the diet-y, calorie-focused head notes on this Eating Well recipe but I do like the results, since the inclusion of spinach and cheese makes their sort-of Spanish tortilla a dish you can easily serve as a weeknight dinner.  Another time-saving step I appreciate is pre-cooking the potatoes in the microwave, which shaves off some preparation time.

I found a block of reasonably-priced Manchego cheese at Aldi, but you could substitute Monterey Jack cheese for a similar flavor, or cheddar if you want something bolder. 

Adapted from Eating Well

Serves 2-3 as a main course


Top down view of baking sheet with tortilla ingredients arranged on it
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 cup diced potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Manchego cheese (about 1 ounce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add 2 teaspoons of oil and tilt to coat evenly.  Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, microwave the potatoes, covered, for 3 minutes, or until starting to soften.

Add the potatoes, thyme, and paprika to the skillet and cook until potatoes are completely tender, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl with a spout.  Add the potato mixture, spinach, cheese, salt, and pepper, and mix gently. 

Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.  Heat the skillet over medium heat, add the remaining teaspoon of oil, and tilt to evenly coat.  Add the egg mixture and cook, covered, until the edges are set and the bottom is browned, about 5 minutes.

Skillet with tortilla before flipping

To flip the tortilla, loosen the edges with a spatula.  Cover the skillet with a large plate or tray, and invert the skillet.  Carefully transfer the tortilla back to the skillet and cook until the bottom is browned, about 4-5 minutes.

Remove from skillet, cut into wedges, and serve. 

Sort-of Spanish tortilla on a pizza sheet

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Picture of sliced omelette wedges with text reading "Sort-of Spanish Tortilla"