Background: Heme proteins and heme-derived molecules play an important role in several cellular processes. Therefore, their production and functional analysis is of great research interest. For the analysis of these molecules, high production yields are required. We recently reported the use of the probiotic E. coli strain Nissle 1917 (EcN) to sufficiently produce heme proteins. This strain is capable of taking up heme from the growth medium due to the outer membrane heme receptor ChuA which is absent in regular E. coli expression strains. Unfortunately, the strain lacks the gene for T7 RNA polymerase which is necessary for the expression of genes under the control of the T7-promotor, widely used in expression vectors like the pET or Duet series. Results: A new T7-promoter compatible EcN strain was constructed. Therefore, the gene for T7-RNA polymerase under the control of a lac UV5 promoter was integrated into the malEFG operon of EcN. Test expressions of genes via T7 promoter-based vectors in the new EcN(T7) strain were successful. Expression in EcN(T7) efficiently resulted in the production of recombinant heme proteins in which the heme cofactor was incorporated during protein production. In addition, the new EcN(T7) strain can be used to co-express genes for the production of heme-derived molecules like biliverdin or other open-chain tetrapyrroles. We demonstrate successful recombinant production of the phytochromes BphP from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Cph1 from Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 loaded with their cofactor biliverdin and phycocyanobilin, respectively. Conclusion: We present a new E. coli strain for sufficient production of heme proteins and heme-derived molecules using T7-promoter based expression vectors. The new EcN(T7) strain enables the use of a broader spectrum of expression vectors as well as the co-expression of genes using the Duet expression vectors. Furthermore, the capability of feeding EcN and EcN(T7) with heme overcomes the rate limiting step in the recombinant heme protein production, i.e. heme biosynthesis of E. coli . Therefore, a higher heme saturation of heme proteins and also higher yields of heme-derived molecules is obtained using the constructed strain.