From the Persians to the Greeks and Romans, people throughout the ages have celebrated spring's arrival with eggs -- a tradition that continues today throughout the world during Easter and Passover feasts.

But eggs lost some of their luster in the 1970s when doctors began warning against them because of their high cholesterol content. Now nutritionists are giving this versatile food a second chance. A recent Harvard University study found that healthy people can eat an egg a day without increasing their risk of heart disease or stroke. "The amount of eggs you can consume depends on your baseline health," says Josephine Connolly-Schoonen, M.S., R.D., an assistant clinical professor in family medicine at State University of New York at Stony Brook and author of Lose Weight Permanently With the Bulls-Eye Food Guide (Bull Publishing, 2004). "If you have high LDL cholesterol, then eat eggs moderately -- up to two or three whole eggs per week. If you don't [have high LDL], there is no reason to restrict eggs."

Connolly-Schoonen has moved eggs to a less-restricted category in her clinically based food guide. The reason: they're high in protein and rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin (both found in the yolk), which protect the eye against age-related degeneration. But best of all, a medium egg has only 70 calories and 6 grams of protein. So put aside your egg phobia and enjoy this perfectly packaged, nutrient-dense food!

Crustless Mushroom and Asparagus Quiche

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 16-18 minutes

Nutrition note: Although this dish gets 55 percent of its calories from fat, it is low in total fat as well as saturated fat. Traditional quiches average 30-40 grams of fat per serving, most of it saturated; our version has only 15 grams of fat, less than half of those saturated.

Cooking spray

1 small onion, finely chopped

4 spears asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 cup coarsely chopped white mushrooms

6 large eggs

1/2 cup lowfat milk

1/2 cup lowfat sour cream

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

3 slices lowfat Swiss cheese, coarsely cut

Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and add onions and asparagus. Saute on medium heat 2-3 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Add mushrooms and cook 1-2 minutes more.

Meanwhile, beat together eggs, milk and sour cream in a medium bowl. Add paprika, nutmeg, salt and pepper and set aside. Coat a glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray and add cooked vegetables, spreading them evenly. Pour egg mixture on top, then sprinkle with cheese. Cover dish with a lid or with a paper towel and microwave on high for 8 minutes. Remove and allow to stand, covered, for 5 minutes more.

Nutrition score per serving (1/4 of quiche): 249 calories, 55% fat (15 g; 7 g saturated), 13% carbs (8 g), 32% protein (20 g), 356 mg calcium, 1.5 mg iron, 1 g fiber, 167 mg sodium.

Spicy Egg Salad Wrap

Serves 2

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 12 minutes

4 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled

1 tablespoon light mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

Salt to taste

1 cup fresh baby arugula, washed and patted dry

2 whole-wheat tortilla wraps

1/2 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips

Chop the eggs in a bowl and add mayonnaise and mustard. Mix well with a fork until all ingredients are evenly incorporated. Add chili powder and salt and mix again.

To assemble each wrap, place half the arugula on a tortilla. Top with half of egg mixture and spread evenly over arugula with the back of a spoon. Place half of the bell pepper strips atop egg salad. Fold tortilla sides toward center, then roll bottom half of tortilla away from you. To serve, cut each wrap in half on the diagonal.

Nutrition score per serving (1 wrap): 243 calories, 50% fat (13 g; 4 g saturated), 25% carbs (15 g), 25% protein (15 g), 88 mg calcium, 1.7 mg iron, 10 g fiber, 337 mg sodium.

Italian-Style Egg Drop Soup

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

This light, satisfying, broth-based soup, known in Italy as stracciatella, pairs eggs with another springtime favorite, fresh shelled peas.

4 cups nonfat, low-sodium chicken broth

2 large eggs at room temperature

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of nutmeg

1/2 cup shelled fresh peas

4 whole-grain rolls

Pour chicken broth into a saucepan and bring to a simmer on medium-low heat. Meanwhile, beat the eggs, Parmesan cheese and parsley together in a medium mixing bowl. Using a whisk, vigorously stir broth clockwise and slowly pour in the egg mixture. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add fresh peas and ladle immediately into soup bowls. Serve with a whole-grain roll.

Nutrition score per serving (1 cup of soup, 1 whole-grain roll): 221 calories, 39% fat (10 g; 1 g saturated), 33% carbs (19 g), 28% protein (16 g), 49 mg calcium, 1 mg iron, 3 g fiber, 394 mg sodium.