Eggs In Purgatory With Spinach & Peppers

We have been making a concerted effort to eat a little lighter this year which includes incorporating more meatless meals into our weekly menu. This egg dish is one that I used to make for the family on weekends many years ago, but for some reason, I stopped making it.

I was craving eggs a few weeks ago and made this dish for dinner served with a big mixed salad and some crusty Italian bread to sop up the delicious sauce. We enjoyed it so much, that I have in fact been making these eggs once a week ever since. This simple dish involves cooking eggs in a spicy tomato sauce that can be served for breakfast, a light lunch, or even as I do as a vegetarian entree.

This dish lends itself to unlimited variations, and I like to prepare it on a bed of spinach and to bake it rather than cook it on the stovetop, which is the more typical way of preparing it.

Last week, I had one red and one yellow pepper in the refrigerator that needed to be used, so I cut the peppers into thin strips, fried them up, and added them to the tomato sauce. Sometimes I like to add a tablespoon of capers and some chopped black olives in with my tomato sauce also, depending on my mood.

This dish is very typical of cucina povera, using a handful of basic ingredients that almost everyone has on hand in their pantry, to which a few fresh eggs are added to create a simple, delicious dish. This is the type of simple Italian dish that almost every Nonna can pull together in mere minutes, is beloved by many who grew up enjoying it, but unfortunately never gets the recognition it deserves.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Eggs In Purgatory With Spinach & Peppers

Eggs In Purgatory With Spinach & Peppers

Yield: Serves 2


  • 2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Red Pepper, Cored & Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Small Yellow Pepper, Cored & Thinly Sliced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Thinly Sliced
  • 3 Cups Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Chili Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Cups
  • Sautéed Spinach (Or Other Greens)
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 450 Degrees F.
  2. Arrange the spinach in the bottom of an oven-proof casserole dish to cover.
  3. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then cook the pepper strips, stirring often, until the peppers have softened, about 7 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and cook a minute or two until fragrant.
  5. Add the tomatoes, chili flakes, salt and pepper and cook for 8 minutes over medium low heat until bubbly.
  6. Spoon the tomato and pepper mixture over the spinach and make an indentation into the sauce.
  7. Gently spoon in one of the eggs.
  8. Continue to make three more indentations, spaced apart and spoon in the remaining cracked eggs.
  9. Bake 8 minutes, then sprinkle with the cheese.
  10. Continue to cook just until the whites are set, but the yolks are still very soft.
  11. Divide the mixture equally between two bowls, and serve with some crusty Italian bread to sop up the sauce.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. It seems I see Eggs in Purgatory frequently lately…coming from an all italian immigrant family. my maternal and paternal grandparents arriving in the early 1900’s I am quite familiar with this dish…although it was never served with peppers and spinach, a nod to being poor and frugal I am sure. I have a jewish brother in law from Israel who lives in Phoenix Arizona and each time
    I visit I request Shakshuka. This is eggs in purgatory the jewish way…but they put their own twist on it and being near Mexico they add hot spices…served with ice cold beer!!!! As I said I have been around eggs in purgatory a long tome…I am 83 years old…love your site. Anna

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