What is Shakshouka?
Shakshouka is eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions, commonly spiced with cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg. A common dish in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures, shakshouka has recently become one of the most popular dishes here in the United States as a brunch staple, quick dinner, easy lunch, or meal for a party. Many people are scared to try it, thinking it’s spicy– but nothing could be farther from the truth! Shakshouka was created as a simple and satisfying meal that didn’t need long hours to prepare. Plus, you can make this dish any way you choose with any combination of ingredients. It’s incredibly simple!
It All Starts With Tomatoes
The base of shakshouka is tomatoes. They form a creamy base to hold the flavors of whatever spices or seasonings you add. You can add sweet or savory spices to change the profile of the dish. It’s not tomato sauce that you would serve over pasta—this is a complex mixture of flavors and textures that are warm, inviting, and versatile. And there are so many ways to make this dish and each region has its own special twist on how they do it.
This Shakshouka recipe combines the unique flavors of shakshouka with the right amount of seasonings to keep it delicious without being overly spicy or tangy. The eggs add protein and the combination of egg, tomato and bread (or some sort of starch) make this a satisfying meal. Plus, it’s all done in one pan and it’s ready in under an hour!
A Healthy Showstopper
The ingredients in shakshouka are so versatile that this recipe can be doubled or tripled depending on the number of people you’re serving. And it looks beautiful when serving the whole skillet in the center of the table for your family or guests to help themselves. Or, spoon it into smaller ramekins or serving dishes garnished with herbs or warm, crusty bread. The best part? It’s healthy!
This Shakshouka recipe has:
- Dark green vegetable for texture, taste and nutrients like vitamins A and C, and potassium
- Peas for protein, iron, vitamin B6 and magnesium
- Tomatoes for vitamin C and natural sweetness.
Shakshouka is fat free, gluten free and can be made vegan if the eggs are removed. Try different flavor combinations of your own– you can’t go wrong! It’s the perfect way to use up leftovers including diced or cut up meats, extra vegetables, or even some fruits or nuts. The possibilities are endless! Try this dish at your next brunch, dinner, lunch, or as a meal to bring to a party. You won’t be disappointed.
Modern Skillet Shakshouka
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small white onion, diced
- ½ cup chick peas or garbanzo beans (about ½ can)
- 1 can diced tomatoes, drained or 8 Roma tomatoes, diced (If using canned, I find Cento tomatoes work best)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 2 cups Red or Swiss chard, chopped
- 6 eggs
- Fresh basil or parsley for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- In an oven proof medium skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add chick peas and sauté another 3-4 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon and paprika. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes.
- Add chard and cook 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Make (6) small wells with the back of a spoon in the tomato and chard mixture. Add an egg carefully into each well.
- Move skillet to the preheated oven and bake 15-20 minutes until egg whites are set.
- Remove from oven and cool slightly. Garnish with basil, parsley or both. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with toasted multi grain bread, semolina bread, toasted pita bread or triangles, or fluffy naan bread.
Featured photo by Sara Dubler