Dec 21, 2023
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Shakshuka is an easy, healthy meal 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 and Jordan, 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 and Jordan (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 the most authentic rendition.
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 and Orange Shakshuka with Butternut Squash. 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!).
- Vegetables: The base of shakshuka is a mix of sauteed onion, bell pepper, and garlic, along with tomatoes (I use a can of whole peeled tomatoes).
- Spices: The simple combination of paprika, cumin, and chili powder imparts incredible flavor. And the aroma instantly takes me back to meandering the spice souks in Cairo and Amman.
- Eggs: The eggs gently poach in the spiced tomato mixture. You can cook them as long as you’d like for your perfect yolk texture. I personally prefer my yolks a bit runny.
- Fresh Herbs: A sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley and cilantro not only adds a pop of green, but also adds yet another layer of flavor.
How to Make Shakshuka
It’s really easy to make shakshuka, especially if you use canned tomatoes (though you can always use fresh tomatoes as well – see my tip below).
Saute the veggies. Dice an onion and red bell pepper and add that to a sauté pan with a little olive oil over 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 the mixture is nice and fragrant.
Simmer the eggs on top. 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 use six eggs, though depending on the size of your pan you may use more or less. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes or until the eggs are done to your liking.
Garnish with fresh herbs. Before serving, season the eggs with salt and a generous amount of freshly chopped parsley and cilantro. Enjoy!
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.
The eggs should cook fully after simmering for 5 to 8 minutes in the pan. But if you’d like to speed up the process, go ahead and add a lid. They’ll cook in about half the time.
Yes, you sure can. I’m using whole peeled tomatoes which break down easily into a soft texture (as there’s no skin). But you can use diced fresh tomatoes as well. If using fresh, you’ll need about 10 to 12 tomatoes.
Shakshuka is abundant in tel aviv
Tel Aviv 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 freshly squeezed juice and a side of fruit, yes please!
What To Serve With Shakshuka
It’s quite common to serve pita or some type of bread with shakshuka. You can dip it in the sauce to soak it all up! I was fortunate in Tel Aviv to find several restaurants that served gluten-free pita, much to my delight! But here are a few other ideas:
- For breakfast: Make my falafel or falafel flatbread for a delicious bread alternative. I’ve been known to break the falafel in half and then dip them in my serving. Can’t let any of that sauce go to waste! A side a fresh fruit is always a great idea as well.
- For lunch or any time of day: Serve up a tasty mezze platter with sides of hummus, baba ganoush or white bean dip. And for salads, my Mediterranean chickpea salad, lentil salad, or Israeli salad are always winners.
More Healthy Breakfast Recipes
- Healthy Breakfast Casserole – This meal prep friendly breakfast casserole is a go-to!
- Smoked Salmon Frittata – A favorite for brunch and entertaining.
- Zucchini and Prosciutto Egg Muffins – These grab and go egg muffins are healthy and convenient.
- Baked Eggs in Avocado – It’s so simple and so tasty.
I hope you enjoy this authentic shakshuka recipe from my travels to Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. If you make it, let me know how it turned out. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.
Shakshuka Recipe (Easy & Traditional)
- Stainless Steel Pan My go-to pan in the kitchen!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon 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. Cook the eggs for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the eggs are done to your liking. You can also cover the pan with a lid to expedite the eggs cooking.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and parsley before serving.
- 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.
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Recipe originally posted December 2018, but updated to include new photos, video, and information for your benefit!