Easy Spinach Nests ♥

Easy Spinach Nests, an egg cooked in a 'nest' of fresh spinach, onion and a touch of cream.
graphic button small size size 10 Today's easy egg supper or breakfast recipe: An egg cooked in a 'nest' of fresh spinach, onion and a touch of cream. Weight Watchers Friendly, WW 5 PointsPlus. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Paleo. Vegetarian. graphic button small size size 10

~first published 2008~
~recipe & photo updated & republished 2014~
~more recently updated recipes~

(2008) Dads and breakfasts: in my family, the combination is a "recipe" for great memories. When my sister started kindergarten, our mother went back to work and our dad went back to the kitchen. Dad cooked breakfast every single day – and without resorting to boxes of cornflakes or quick slices of toast. Instead, he had a Breakfast Plan, a two-week menu written on yellow lined paper taped to the inside of a cupboard. Oatmeal. Fried eggs. Every other Friday, hamburger patties with tomato soup. (Yes ...) My favorite day was the first Thursday when Dad made "Kellogg Eggs", a slice of bread with a circle cut from the center, then fried with an egg. Other people call these "gashouse eggs" and "egg in a hole" and "toad in a hole" and "hobo eggs" and more. (And that Kitchen Parade column for Kellogg Eggs lists dozens of those names ...)

I couldn't help but reminisce about Dad's breakfast specialties while waiting for the eggs to cook in these nests of fresh spinach. Hmm, perhaps this is a recipe for a low-carb toad-in-the-hole?

(2014) Turns out, spinach and eggs are one magical combination, the mix of "bitter" leafy greens and creamy soft yolks really works for me. So since fresh spinach is a staple in the fridge, these eggs make a regular appearance.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Serves 1

Olive oil
Thin-sliced onion
Thin-sliced garlic
Handful of fresh spinach, stems removed if tough, cut into ribbons
Salt & pepper to taste
1 egg
Cream or half & half, just enough to bind the spinach
Salt & pepper

Heat a non-stick skillet on MEDIUM HIGH. Heat the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the onion and garlic and cook til just softened. Add the spinach, stir to coat with fat, begin to season. Let cook, stirring often, until the spinach softens, tasting every so often for texture and seasoning. When the spinach is cooked, use the tip of a spatula to arrange the spinach in a donut shape, leaving the center open clear to the bottom of the skillet.

Reduce heat to MEDIUM or MEDIUM LOW. Gently slip an egg into the center. While the egg cooks, drizzle a little cream over the spinach and use the tip of the spatula to press it inward to compact a bit. Cover the skillet so the egg will cook evenly from both sides. When the egg is nearly cooked, sprinkle it with a seasoning salt or more salt and pepper. Gently slip the egg onto a plate for serving.

(2008) There was a time when I bought a bag of fresh baby spinach every week. I used it for everything, salads mostly, but also for cooking. But in recent months, I've realized that tender leaves of baby spinach are best left raw or in recipes where the leaves cook for just a minute. For longer cooking, heavier spinach leaves are better. They do need to be washed well (I'm training myself to do this as soon as they enter the kitchen), stems removed and chopped. Some time I intend to do a flavor comparison too, I suspect that once it's cooked, the baby spinach has less flavor.
(2014) Do season the spinach as it cooks, it makes all the difference. It needs to taste good, salt is important!
(2014) Half & half works just as well as cream, there's no telling the difference, really.
(2008) My skillet holds two nests quite easily but that's the limit.
(2009) When I made these for my dad one morning, I used less oil in the skillet and so the spinach actually formed a slight crust on the bottom: he loved this.

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Still Hungry?

~ Baked Eggs in Cream with Spinach ~
~ Creamed Eggs with Spinach ~
~ Toad in a Pattypan Hole ~
~ How to Cook Eggs in a Coffee Cup in the Microwave ~
~ more recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Gashouse Eggs ~
~ Mexican Gas House Eggs ~
~ Bacon & Egg Breakfast Bake ~
~ Shakshuka (Eggs Nested in Summer Vegetables) ~
~ How to Poach a Perfect Egg ~
~ more recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

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© Copyright 2008 & 2014
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. My dad made his version of gashouse eggs every Sunday -- he called it "spit in the ocean," but it tasted just great! I love the idea of these spinach nests, as I am on a spinach kick these days and eating spinach salads every night.

  2. AnonymousMay 14, 2008

    I LOVE this idea! How clever! Since I'm allergic to gluten, I'm always looking for new breakfast ideas. And this would be perfect for house guests. Thanks so much. I'll try this soon (maybe even tonight).

  3. Sounds delicious. My family called those toasts with a fried egg cooked in the hole "Popeye Eggs." I'm sure it was a pun, but I didn't realize it until years later, just thought of Popeye from cartoons.

  4. Great recipe! There was a time (you may remember) when I would have never tried a recipe that cooked spinach but now I go through at least a bag of spinach a week myself. I still use the baby kind and mostly eat it cooked very simply. This recipe sounds fun though. I think I'll give it a try!

  5. I would love these too!! When are these on the menu again? ;))
    I love spinach and am always looking for ways with it, this is brilliant! Thank you again Alanna.

  6. I have never eaten (or made) "toad in the hole", so I have nothing to compare it to. But your's sounds absolutely wonderful! What a great idea - thanks Alanna!

  7. AnonymousMay 18, 2008

    These were great! I made one for my bento on Friday. I'll toss a picture of it up on the blog soon. Quite quite tasty and a great way to transport the protein!

  8. So yummy and easy!!! Thank-you!!

  9. AnonymousMay 20, 2008

    I tried this this morning after reading your blog and it started out great - then my spinach wound up burning because the egg took so long to cook. Any suggestions? Am I just cooking it too long before I add the egg?

  10. Hi Dawn ~ This came 'close' to happening when I made the spinach nests for my dad, too, when I tried using virtually no oil, so the pan was drier. It did work out, however, when I covered the pan to help the egg cook from both sides and thus a little faster. Hope these help!

  11. This sounds really good ... it is just the egg that binds the nest together? And if you prefer your egg cooked hard, will the rest of the dish get overcooked?
    Re: Gashouse eggs = we always called that dish "Egg with Hat on Top", as the little round disc of bread cutout was always fried in butter till crispy golden on both sides, and then placed atop the yolk.

  12. Hi Muzicgirl ~ It's the combination of egg and cream that binds the spinach. I don't think there's overcooking this. Plus the ingredients aren't outrageous so it's worth the try, to see if the egg can reach the consistency you like. Let us know!

  13. Okay, this is now on my list of things to try. I love the ingredients in it so I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

    And boy, do I miss toad in the hole! I also miss yorkshire pudding.

  14. I love this - have made it for dinner two nights in a row. I added roasted bell peppers and cherry tomatoes. I didn't have cream so tried cream cheese one night and sour cream the next. Neither really bound the spinach, but it was still wonderful. Also topped the egg and spinach with a bit of parm! So good! This will be a frequent supper around here.

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  17. We had this for supper tonight ... with my own touches for sure. The spinach was a bag of frozen chopped so it did not need wilting. Fresh basil leaves were chopped and added.along with sliced fresh mushrooms, added to onions, I made it in one large pan with space cleared in center and 4 eggs slid in all at once. WOW! SOOOO good and the best part for us was that my room mate who is having dental problems had no trouble eating it all! THANK YOU for a great supper! Myrna


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna