Skip to Content

What is green eggs and ham made of?

Green eggs and ham is a famous dish made popular by Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book of the same name. But what exactly are green eggs and ham made of? Let’s take a closer look at the intriguing ingredients behind this whimsical meal.

The Origins of Green Eggs and Ham

While green eggs and ham seem like the product of Dr. Seuss’ wild imagination, some food historians believe the dish may have its roots in a few different cultural traditions:

  • A sauce called “green eggs” was a popular condiment in the Persian Gulf region and spread to the Middle East in the 13th century via trade routes. It was often served with chicken or fish.
  • Some believe green eggs and ham could be inspired by the Indonesian dish “nasi goreng”, which translates to “fried rice” and is sometimes served with a fried egg.
  • The combination of pork and green vegetables such as parsley or kale was common in Medieval European cooking. Serving eggs with ham is still popular in many cuisines.

While we may never know the exact origins, Dr. Seuss brought his own imagination to this culturally diverse dish!

The Green Eggs

So what makes green eggs green? There are a few possible ways to naturally color eggs green:

  • Spinach: Eggs can be cooked in a spinach puree or boiled and soaked in a broth made from spinach leaves.
  • Kale: Like spinach, kale can be blended and used to cook or stain the eggs.
  • Parsley: Chopped parsley mixed into the eggs or used as a soaking liquid infuses them with green.
  • Matcha powder: This finely ground green tea can be whisked into eggs before cooking.
  • Food coloring: While not natural, a few drops of green food dye in the eggs gets the job done.

The richness of the egg yolks balances out the vegetal flavors from greens. Herbs and spices like parsley, dill, tarragon, garlic and onion are also commonly added to green egg recipes.

The Ham

Green eggs’ popular partner ham refers to the cured and salted meat from the hind legs of pigs. Ham can be prepared many ways:

Type Process Flavor
Smoked ham Cold smoked over wood Smoky, salty
Dry-cured ham Rubbed with salt, air dried Salty, intense
Wet-cured ham Brined in a salt/water solution Salty, milder

A cooked wet-cured ham is probably closest to the tender, kid-friendly ham in Dr. Seuss’ book. City ham sold pre-cooked is a convenient choice for green eggs and ham.

Serving Suggestions

Part of the charm of green eggs and ham is how it encourages playful and creative serving ideas. Here are some ways to have fun plating your dish:

  • Shape cooked scrambled eggs into rounds and top with ham slices.
  • Bake ham and egg cups in a muffin tin for hand-held meals.
  • Roll up an omelet with ham and cheese and cut into spirals.
  • For breakfast, serve sunny side up eggs on ham steaks.
  • Top individual ham crustless quiches with sliced green olives.
  • Skewer cubed ham and hard boiled eggs for a portable option.
  • Cook eggs in rings for a bullseye effect with ham in the middle.

Adding other fun garnishes like parsley, hot sauce, hollandaise sauce or fresh chives jazzes up the dish even more. Serve on colorful plates or in whimsical shapes for a Dr. Seuss inspired meal.

Classic Green Eggs and Ham Recipe

This simple recipe combines farm fresh eggs with spinach for green eggs and uses baked ham for an easy preparation. Makes 4 servings.


  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream
  • 1 cup packed fresh spinach
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 slices baked ham


  1. In a blender or food processor, blend spinach, garlic, dill and milk or cream until smooth.
  2. In a bowl, whisk eggs until blended, then whisk in spinach puree.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Pour in egg mixture, stirring occasionally until eggs are set but still moist.
  5. In another skillet, cook ham slices in remaining butter just until warmed through, about 1 minute per side.
  6. To serve, divide eggs onto 4 plates and top with 2 slices of ham each. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information

Green eggs and ham is a protein packed way to start your day. Here is the nutrition information for one serving (2 eggs and 2 slices of ham):

Nutrient Amount
Calories 333
Protein 29g
Fat 24g
Carbohydrates 2g
Fiber 0g

As you can see, eggs and ham form a high protein, high fat, low carb meal. The spinach adds additional vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium as well.

Adding Variety to Green Eggs and Ham

While the original green eggs and ham is hard to beat, you can mix up this dish in lots of creative ways. Some variations to try include:

  • Swap spinach for kale for a slightly different green flavor.
  • Use sliced prosciutto or bacon instead of ham.
  • Mix in cheeses like cheddar, goat cheese or parmesan.
  • Add vegetables like diced tomatoes, roasted red peppers or avocado.
  • Top with fresh herbs such as dill, basil, cilantro or chives.
  • Drizzle with sauces like hollandaise, salsa verde or harissa.
  • Serve with greens like a spinach salad or roasted asparagus.

You can also turn green eggs and ham into:

  • A breakfast sandwich on English muffins or biscuits.
  • A burrito wrap with rice and beans.
  • A loaded omelet or frittata.
  • A topping for avocado toast.

However you choose to customize it, green eggs and ham is endlessly adaptable to your tastes.

Green Eggs and Ham Around the World

Cultures around the world have their own twists on eggs and pork that resemble green eggs and ham:

Country Dish Description
Mexico Huevos con Jamon Eggs fried with ham and beans
Japan Tamago Kake Gohan Rice topped with egg and nori
Germany Grüne Eier mit Schinken Green eggs and ham, German style!
Thailand Kai Jeow Moo Sab Omelet with ground pork and cilantro

No matter where you are in the world, eggs and pork make a delicious combination!

The History and Legacy of Green Eggs and Ham

Green eggs and ham first captured the world’s imagination through Dr. Seuss’ iconic 1960 book. While simple at first glance, the book uses clever rhymes and imaginative illustrations to tell a profound story about trying new things. Key points in the book’s history and legacy include:

  • Inspiration: Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel was challenged by his publisher to write a book using only 50 words. This inspired the limited vocabulary of Green Eggs and Ham.
  • Instant hit: Green Eggs and Ham was an instant bestseller upon its release in August 1960.
  • Cultural impact: Phrases like “I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam I am” became engrained in pop culture.
  • Deeper message: At its heart, the book encourages trying new things without fear of the unknown.
  • Adaptations: The book was adapted into an animated TV special in 1973. A live action film is in development.

Over 60 years later, Green Eggs and Ham remains one of the most memorable and iconic Dr. Seuss books. Its popularity endures thanks to its humor, wordplay and subtle life lessons.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it easy to make green eggs?

Yes, green eggs are very easy to make! Simply add spinach or another green ingredient to the raw eggs before cooking. No special tools or ingredients required.

Do green eggs taste different than regular eggs?

The green coloring does not significantly change the flavor. They may take on subtle hints of the greens used, but mostly just taste like standard cooked eggs.

Is green food coloring safe to use?

While synthetic food dyes are approved for use in food, some people prefer to avoid them. Safer options include using natural coloring from spinach, kale, herbs or matcha powder.

What is the best way to cook green eggs and ham?

For green eggs,scrambled, fried sunny-side up, or poached work well. Bake or pan-fry ham slices to warm them through. Bring it all together on a plate for a whimsical dish!

Is there a vegan version of green eggs and ham?

Yes, for a vegan option, use sliced smoked tofu in place of ham. Prepare green eggs from a plant-based egg substitute like those made from mung beans or tofu. Season to taste.


Green eggs and ham has become a beloved breakfast dish thanks to Dr. Seuss’ classic book. At its core, this simple meal uses greens like spinach to color eggs, paired with salty sliced ham. Part of the fun is serving up the dish in creative ways. This globally inspired meal can also be customized endlessly to your tastes. So whether you prefer your green eggs with kale, prosciutto and feta or scrambled with beans and salsa, embrace your inner Sam-I-Am and give green eggs and ham a try for your next breakfast!