Ancient Rome-Inspired Deviled Eggs Recipe

Deviled eggs are a popular American appetizer, but this dish is far from modern. The word "deviled" in a culinary context was first seen in English texts in the late 1700s, and it originally referred to spiced dishes only. The ancient roots of deviled eggs go back even further than that, although the dish evolved over the centuries to what we would recognize today. A typical ancient Roman cena (the main meal of the day), started with an appetizer course called the gustum, which often included eggs. One such preparation was apicius, which describes a medium-boiled egg recipe garnished with a pine nut sauce. Eggs were such an important part of the appetizer course that they're mentioned in the Latin saying "ab ovo usque ad mala," meaning "from eggs to apples," referencing the foods that appeared at the beginning and the end of the meal.

Recipe developer Michelle Bottalico has created a recipe for deviled eggs inspired by the flavors of ancient Roman egg dishes. Some of the most popular ingredients found in ancient Roman sauces, not just for eggs but for many foods, included black pepper, saffron, mustard, cumin, juniper berries, mint, coriander, wine, fermented fish sauce, olive oil, vinegar, pine nuts, hazelnuts, dates, and prunes. In this recipe, hard-boiled eggs are flavored with honey, lemon juice, cumin, salt, black pepper, dates, pine nuts, and mint for a modern, Mediterranean spin on an ancient favorite.

Gather your Ancient Rome-inspired deviled eggs ingredients

For this recipe, you will need hard-boiled eggs. The yolks of the eggs will be mixed other ingredients to flavor it. For the filling you'll need honey, lemon juice, cumin, salt, black pepper, dates, pine nuts, and mint. Greek yogurt (2 % milkfat) is used to add creaminess, but you can sub whole milk yogurt or fat-free yogurt if that is your preference, or even mayonnaise. If you like, reserve a little extra pine nuts and mint to garnish.

Step 1: Peel and slice the eggs

Peel the hard-boiled eggs and cut them in half lengthwise.

Step 2: Separate the yolks and whites

Carefully remove the yolks and place them in a mixing bowl, setting the egg white halves aside on a serving dish.

Step 3: Add flavoring ingredients to yolks

Add the yogurt, honey, lemon juice, cumin, salt, and black pepper to the yolks and mash well with a fork until evenly mixed.

Step 4: Incorporate the mix-ins

Add the dates, pine nuts, and mint and stir.

Step 5: Fill the egg white halves

Evenly distribute the yolk mixture in the depressions of the egg white halves.

Step 6: Garnish the eggs

Garnish with additional pine nuts and chopped mint, if using. 

Step 7: Serve the Ancient Rome-inspired deviled eggs

Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Can you really make deviled eggs with Greek yogurt?

Yes, mayonnaise may be the classic, but it's not the only way to make a creamy deviled egg filling. Using yogurt is one of many deviled egg hacks, and it's a good alternative if you want to keep it light. This recipe uses 2% plain Greek yogurt to keep the fat content down while still providing a good amount of creaminess, but you can sub whole milk yogurt if you'd like it to be creamier and have a stronger flavor. Likewise, choose nonfat yogurt if you're watching your fat intake. Make sure you use plain yogurt, because flavors probably won't be appropriate here. We recommend Greek yogurt over regular yogurt because it's thicker.

These deviled eggs can certainly be made with mayonnaise if you want the creamiest version. If you prefer mayonnaise over yogurt but still want to cut the fat a little, a good option is to use half mayonnaise and half yogurt or sour cream. All of these options will make creamy, delicious deviled eggs.

What's the best way to cook and peel hard-boiled eggs?

There are many ways to cook hard-boiled eggs, and having a few tricks up your sleeve can prevent the frustration of impossible-to-peel shells or partially cooked yolks. The standard method Bottalico recommends is to place the eggs in a saucepan that's wide enough to accommodate all the eggs in a single layer. Fill the pan with water until it just covers the eggs, and then bring the water to a boil. Let it boil for 30 seconds, then take the pan off the heat. Cover and let it sit for 10 minutes for small eggs, 15 for large, and up to 25 minutes for jumbo eggs. The heat of the just-boiled water will be sufficient to cook the eggs as they sit. Then place the eggs in an ice bath for 5 to 10 minutes to stop the cooking and cool them down before peeling.

To make them easier to peel, don't use the freshest eggs. It's helpful to buy them a few days in advance. Let the eggs cool completely before peeling, and carefully remove the membrane between the shell and the egg white as you peel, because that makes it easier to lift the shell. Some people find that adding oil to boiling water makes hard-boiled eggs easy to peel. You can also gently crack the eggs when they're in the ice bath to allow cold water to seep in and cool them down faster.

Ancient Rome-Inspired Deviled Eggs Recipe
4.8 from 12 ratings
These deviled eggs are inspired by their ancient roots, drawing on Mediterranean flavors like mint and pine nuts to add a twist to a classic party food.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
0
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
deviled eggs served on table
Total time: 20 minutes
Ingredients
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 tablespoons plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped dates, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon chopped mint
Optional Ingredients
  • Additional pine nuts, for garnish
  • Additional chopped mint, for garnish
Directions
  1. Peel the hard-boiled eggs and cut them in half lengthwise.
  2. Carefully remove the yolks and place them in a mixing bowl, setting the egg white halves aside on a serving dish.
  3. Add the yogurt, honey, lemon juice, cumin, salt, and black pepper to the yolks and mash well with a fork until evenly mixed.
  4. Add the dates, pine nuts, and mint and stir.
  5. Evenly distribute the yolk mixture in the depressions of the egg white halves.
  6. Garnish with additional pine nuts and chopped mint, if using
  7. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 129
Total Fat 7.1 g
Saturated Fat 2.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 224.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 7.8 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Total Sugars 7.1 g
Sodium 185.8 mg
Protein 8.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe