Shakshuka is an easy, healthy breakfast (or any time of day) recipe in Israel and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa. It’s a simple combination of simmering tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices and gently poached eggs. It’s nourishing, filling and one recipe I guarantee you’ll make time and again.
The first time I had shakshuka was years ago on a trip to Egypt with my mom. I remember instantly loving the meal and the simple yet bold flavors and spices. So when I recently visited Israel, where shakshuka is almost a national dish, it was the meal I was most eager to dive into, once again.
I spent two weeks traveling throughout Israel (on the most glorious trip) and was able to enjoy shakshuka many times over. To be honest, I considered it “research” so that I could bring you an authentic, Tel Aviv-inspired rendition.
Is Tel Aviv the Shakshuka Capital?
Tel Aviv, which I’ll talk about more in a future post, is a bustling, vibrant, hip, outdoor cafe-vibe kind of city. I didn’t know what to expect with Tel Aviv, but I can tell you this, it blew me away. There’s a youthful energy to the city and I encountered some of the friendliest, most hospitable people.
There’s gorgeous Mediterranean weather year round in Tel Aviv, but let me tell you, the food scene is definitely something to write home about. I ate. And ate. And ate. Everything is fresh, veggie-heavy, loaded with herbs and layered with flavor. It’s a dream city for vegetarians and those who just like phenomenal food.
The photo below is one shakshuka I enjoyed in Tel Aviv. How adorable is that single-serving portion served up in a mini sauté pan? Shakshuka with fresh squeezed juice and a side of fruit, yes please! But as this may be a new recipe for many of you, let’s answer some basic questions about shakshuka.
What is Shakshuka?
Shakshuka is a classic North African and Middle Eastern dish and one that’s eaten for breakfast or any meal of the day. It’s made from simple, healthy ingredients and is vegetarian. Shakshuka literally means “a mixture” and the traditional version uses tomatoes, onions and spices as the base with eggs poached on top.
Today, you can find many variations of shakshuka, like my Green Shakshuka with Brussels Sprouts and Spinach. You can also add feta or goat cheese and adapt it to your taste. The options are endless – which is what makes this dish such a national favorite (of so many countries!).
Is Shakshuka Spicy?
Shakshuka spices may vary, but you’ll commonly find paprika, cumin and chili powder, along with fresh garlic. I’d consider it flavorful spicy, not hot spicy. Though you can always add cayenne pepper if you’d like to heat it up.
How Do You Make Shakshuka
It’s really easy to make shakshuka, especially if you use canned tomatoes (though you can always use fresh tomatoes as well). Dice an onion and red bell pepper and add that to a sauté pan with a little olive oil on medium heat. Stir the veggies for about 5 minutes or until the onions become translucent.
Then add the garlic and spices and stir for another minute until they’re nice and fragrant. Pour in a 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes and use your spatula to break up the tomatoes into smaller pieces. Once this entire mixture is lightly simmering, you can crack your eggs on top.
Use your spatula to make little holes for the eggs, then crack an egg into each hole. I used 6 eggs, though depending on the size of your pan you may use more or less. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for another 5-8 minutes or until the eggs are done to your liking.
Before serving, season the eggs with salt and a generous amount of freshly chopped parsley and cilantro. Enjoy!
For More Healthy Breakfast Recipes
- Healthy Breakfast Casserole
- Smoked Salmon Frittata
- Zucchini and Prosciutto Egg Muffins
- Baked Eggs in Avocado
Watch How Easy it is to Make Shakshuka
If shakshuka is new to you, make sure to watch my tutorial video. I’ll walk you through the process step-by-step (it’s super easy). You’ll have it mastered in no time!
Shakshuka Recipe (Easy & Traditional)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 6 large eggs
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
- Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped bell pepper and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent.
- Add garlic and spices and cook an additional minute.
- Pour the can of tomatoes and juice into the pan and break down the tomatoes using a large spoon. Season with salt and pepper and bring the sauce to a simmer.
- Use your large spoon to make small wells in the sauce and crack the eggs into each well. Cover the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the eggs are done to your liking.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and parsley.
- If you're not dairy-free, crumbled feta or goat cheese on top is delicious addition. Traditionally it's also served with pita, but I love to serve it with slices of avocado.
- Many photos online show shakshuka cooked in a cast iron pan. Tomatoes are acidic and may erode the seasoning on your cast iron pan as well as dull the finish. You may also get a slight metallic flavor to the dish. So I recommend not taking any chances and cooking it in a stainless steel pan, like this beauty from All Clad.
Disclaimer: I visited Israel in partnership with Vibe Israel, a non-profit group bringing awareness to all that Israel has to offer. I had an amazing time on their wellness tour and I’m happy to share my experiences. All opinions are my own.