The pepper and egg sandwich is an Italian staple. And it’s not just for breakfast. Or so we were informed by several of our recipe testers who hoovered this exact same sandwich back in the day whenever mom set it before them as a midweek staple. So when we made the mistake of referring to the recipe as a “Breakfast Hero,” they let us know that no, in fact, it was not just for mornings. It was for morning, noon, night, and any moment in between—especially those times when the household was short on time or groceries or both. Incidentally, they also informed us that this pepper and egg sandwich tasted exactly like what mom used to make.

*What peppers should I use for a pepper and egg sandwich?

Depending on where you grew up, your mom may have used Cubanelle peppers (aka Italian frying pepper) in place of bell peppers. There’s a subtle difference in flavor but we suspect no one will complain if you use bell peppers instead.

A pepper and egg sandwich on a crusty baguette bun, cut into three pieces.

Pepper and Egg Sandwich

4.80 / 15 votes
This pepper and egg sandwich is simply (and satisfyingly) scrambled eggs along with sweet bell peppers and onions and stuffed into bread. An Italian American staple perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in between. Here’s how to make it.
David Leite
CourseMains
CuisineAmerican
Servings2 to 3 servings
Calories1314 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 bell peppers*, (preferably 1 green and 1 red)
  • 1/2 large (about 4 oz) onion
  • 7 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) salted butter, optional
  • Grated cheese, to taste (optional)
  • 1 loaf Italian bread, from your favorite Italian bakery
  • Hot sauce, such as store-bought or homemade Sriracha

Instructions 

  • Cut the bell peppers in half, remove the seeds and stems, and then slice the peppers into 1/2-inch-wide strips and then cut the strips in half so they’re about 1 1/2 inches long. Cut the onion into chunks or strips the same size as the peppers.
  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk and season with half the salt and half the black pepper.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it starts to dance. Add the peppers and onion along with the remaining salt and black pepper. If you don’t care for your vegetables to be blackened at the edges, turn the heat down to medium or medium-low. Cook until the veggies are your desired tenderness, 5 to 10 minutes. Your entire house will smell like peppers and onions—and that’s a good thing.
  • Turn the heat down to medium if you haven’t already. If you want a richer pepper and egg sandwich, add 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet and let it melt.
  • Add the beaten eggs to the skillet and cook, stirring almost continuously with a fork or spatula, until they’re sorta fluffy and scrambled but still a little soft, 2 to 4 minutes. (Because the eggs are scrambled with vegetables, they’re not going to be as fluffy as they may be if you made them in a skillet by themselves. That’s okay. It’s not about looks. Just wait’ll you taste it.)
  • Remove from the heat and, if desired, sprinkle with cheese.
  • Cut the loaf of bread in half lengthwise and open it. Cut the loaf crosswise into three 5- to 6-inch portions. Using your fingertips, scoop out some of the bread from the crust to make space for the peppers and eggs and reserve the bread for bread crumbs another day. If desired, slather the cut sides of the bread with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
  • Pile the eggs and peppers on the bread. Serve the sandwiches immediately and feel free to plonk a bottle of hot sauce on the table alongside.
Staten Italy Cookbook

Adapted From

Staten Italy

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 1314 kcalCarbohydrates: 68 gProtein: 33 gFat: 102 gSaturated Fat: 45 gMonounsaturated Fat: 37 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 715 mgSodium: 2027 mgFiber: 7 gSugar: 41 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Francis Garcia | Sal Basille. Photo © 2015 Quentin Bacon. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This easy pepper and egg sandwich is a very inexpensive, hearty, any-time-of-the-day meal. In fact, my taster and I enjoyed it for dinner. The 7 eggs make it substantial enough that you’ll forget that you’re eating a meatless hero. Since the eggs are simply flavored with salt and black pepper, the wonderful aroma and flavor of the sautéed peppers and onions (an irresistible duo, yes?) really stand out.

We didn’t add anything to the sandwich, but thought hot sauce may be a good thing to have available on the table for those who like a little heat. Be a little patient when cooking the veggies; mine (I sliced my peppers 1/2 inch wide to match the onions) took just over 10 minutes to become tender enough to “flex” a bit with the eggs. The bread I used came from a local supermarket (the long oval loaf that most grocery stores generally call “Italian bread”), and was 12 inches long and 5 inches wide. Not all the scrambled eggs fit in the bread, leaving a little left over to go with toast the next day. This sandwich can serve 4 hungry people or 2 very hungry stomachs.

Psst. Let me tell you a secret. In an Italian-American home, pepper and egg sandwiches aren’t just for breakfast. All of the good salumerias around Brooklyn, NY, have this delicious sandwich on the menu for lunch. The recipe is simple and yields an authentic Italian-American hero.

There’s a very distinct and alluring fragrance that permeates the house when mom is making this classic. I started with a seeded semolina loaf of Italian bread cut into 5-inch portions, making 3 sandwiches. I cut the pepper and onions into a very large chop, somewhere around 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces. I got them going in a pan with a bit less than 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. The vegetables took about 10 minutes to soften and brown. I turned the heat down and added a bit of butter to the pan with the eggs. When you cook eggs with vegetables in this way, you never get the same clean, creamy curds you do when the eggs are cooked alone. Rather, the eggs become random-size curds that cling and surround the vegetables. There is also a bit of water in the vegetables, so don’t expect fluffy eggs, as they aren’t supposed to be fluffy. Peppers and eggs look like an egg hash when they’re done, if you can imagine that.

Truth be told, I like to save some calories for a generous pour of wine at night, so I didn’t butter my Italian bread before piling the eggs onto the scooped-out hero. Feel free to do so, or follow my lead and add a little mellow hot sauce. Serves 3 very generously.

Growing up in an Italian family, I know this pepper and egg sandwich as a staple meal in our house. This recipe was like a trip back in time for me. It was often served for lunch or dinner.

As written, the recipe is on the money, and I followed it to a T. All the cooking times were accurate, and it was all done in just 30 minutes. It’s perfect.

I had this for dinner and served it on a freshly baked baguette. It made 3 sandwiches, each about 6 inches or so. I topped it off with some Sriracha and I was in heaven.

This recipe is a little taste of Italy and one that I will be sure to make again.

Quick and easy to put together. I made this pepper and egg sandwich for dinner after having just made fresh homemade pita bread. (Sorry, I cheated and didn’t use a loaf of bread.) The house smelled great!

The eggs, when added, were soft and fluffy in 4 minutes. We filled the still-warm pita with the egg mixture, and I served it with salsa and grated cheese for my tasters to add as they pleased. This recipe served 3 people. We all added salsa and one of us also added grated cheese. We all agreed that we loved it in the pita bread.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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Recipe Rating




38 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    If you’re in the Chicago area, Melrose peppers are the ones of choice among Italian Americans here, although it’s virtually impossible to find them off season unless you have some from last summer’s garden in your freezer. The best substitute are cubanella or a mixture of cubanella, banana, and Hungarian Wax for a little kick.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve seen a few recipes for Peppers and Eggs in the past. Some of them have different variations of ingredients, such as one said to add whole milk, granulated onions, and another mentioned your choice of cheese. This recipe here seems to be the most basic but it’s the BEST! I didn’t even have a red bell pepper available today, although, I know it would add to the flavor. I used red onion instead of yellow or white. A few flakes of crushed red pepper were ideal for me. I didn’t want to use the remaining large Italian roll I had in my freezer, so I used a cheap Walmart Kaiser Roll, which I slightly toasted in the oven. The meal turned out FANTASTIC! It’s hard to go wrong with Peppers and Eggs.