eggs and zucchini in tomato sauce

Eggs and zucchini in tomato sauce

15 September 2016

Daily dinner in my house probably isn’t what you imagine. With four kids in three schools, and an activity or two per kid, every day is a lot of screeching around corners in my loaded minivan hauling people hither and yon. I might use a brief stop at home to rummage around and prep, but when it comes to eating time, we’re throwing food together on the fly. It’s not pretty, but it’s nutritious food at home, and we’re almost always together.

So one of my well-practiced specialties is spontaneous meal production. And one of my favorite last-minute dishes is this pan of eggs, gently poached in a garlic-scented tomato sauce, topped with cheese. It’s gorgeous served in the pan, everyone dishing up an egg or two and, as they eat, enjoying the golden yolk spill into an overload of deep tomato richness.

Variations on this dish exist in a number of cuisines – as sweet-pepper-and-cumin spiced shakshuka in the Middle East, or garlicky, spicy uovo in purgatorio in Italy. But it’s just one of those very flexible basics that can take any variation you want to throw in.

You can use jarred tomato sauce. Or with a bit of olive oil, garlic, and 10 extra minutes, a can of tomatoes will make an excellent sauce.

I like adding vegetables to mine, because I’m like that. Right now I’m using zucchini, hanging out in my fridge lately, and feta, which I am never without. But if you don’t have fresh vegetables to add, the dish is also great with olives and/or capers, or perfectly plain with great tomato sauce and Parmesan.

Pretty much anything will taste good in tomato sauce, so don’t be scared to use what’s in your fridge. Here I added zucchini and a little onion. But I spaced out and just photographed the onions.

saute onions

I like to brown my veg a bit, for sweeter flavor. Add in the tomato sauce when you ready. Or add a can of tomatoes with some garlic, salt and pepper. Oregano is good too.

sauteed zucchini and tomato sauce

Crack in eggs, and you’re five minutes away from eating. Cover up so the eggs cook on top as well.

poaching eggs

I like the whites set and the yolks runny. Salt and pepper when ready.

poached eggs

Top with feta and fresh herbs if you have them. I had cilantro here.

feta and cilantro

Works for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Why choose?

eggs and zucchini in tomato sauce

Congratulations to my six 6th blogiversary winners: Anne, Lila, Hannah, Christina, Rae and Angela! I sent off a couple cast iron skillets, three Whirley-Pop popcorn poppers and my favorite metal spatula. Thanks to all of you who shared a comment and helped me celebrate my blogiversary. I love hearing from you!

Eggs and Zucchini in Tomato Sauce
Lovers of shakshuka or uovo in purgatorio know that eggs poached in tomato sauce is one of the best easy meals around. I like to add in vegetables for extra substance, nutrition and flavor – zucchini or spinach are favorites. The rare dish that is as just as satisfying morning, midday or evening.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • 2 cups diced zucchini (1 medium zucchini, about 1/2 lb)
  • 1 14-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes (or 1 1/2 cups prepared tomato sauce)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Sprinkle of crushed red pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Parsley (or cilantro, or basil), for garnish


  1. Heat a small skillet (8″) or saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and onion. Add zucchini in batches, enough at once for a single layer in the pan. The zucchini will shrink as it cooks. As space opens up, continue to add zucchini until all of it is cooked soft with edges browning.
  2. Add canned tomatoes or tomato sauce, garlic and oregano to skillet. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste. If using canned tomatoes, cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes or so until tomatoes are soft.
  3. Carefully crack eggs into sauce placing them evenly apart. Cover pan and simmer on low for about 5 minutes, until whites are set and yolk is still soft. Check and cook for an additional minute if needed.
  4. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper. Add feta and herbs to finish. Serve hot, with crusty bread.

Serves two.


  • Feel free to substitute other vegetables for the zucchini (spinach, sweet peppers, mushrooms, etc).
  • Also great with olives and/or capers if your don’t have fresh veg around. Or a simple tomato sauce is perfect too.
  • Substitute parmesan or pecorino for feta.
  • It’s easy to double or triple the recipe for more people; just use a bigger covered skillet.

Here’s the link to a printable version.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Wolfsbane 15 September 2016 at 8:27 pm

Looks good. I’m going to have try it using paprika sauce instead of tomato as the base. One of unfortunate results of being forbidden tomatoes by my doctor and my kidneys. Tomato-less chili, tomato-less pizza. Tomato-less pasta.


cg 19 October 2016 at 1:19 pm

wolfsbane – oh, no tomatoes…red pepper sauce sounds like a good substitute. i think it would work well! good luck…and sorry i got so behind on my comments!


Sandra 5 December 2016 at 9:33 pm

An over easy egg is delicious on the top of a bowl of spaghetti mixed with marinara sauce 🙂


cg 17 December 2016 at 4:38 pm

hi sandra – ooh great idea!


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