Shakshuka

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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.

Shakshuka in a saute pan.

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!).

Close up photo of shakshuka in a pan.

Shakshuka Ingredients

  • 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.
Taking a portion of shakshuka out of the pan.

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.

Sauteing onion and bell pepper in a pan.

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.

Eggs poaching in spiced tomato mixture.

Garnish with fresh herbs. Before serving, season the eggs with salt and a generous amount of freshly chopped parsley and cilantro. Enjoy!

Shakshuka in a pan.

Common Questions

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 I prevent runny egg whites?

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.

Can I swap in fresh tomatoes for the canned tomatoes?

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.

A single serving of shakshuka on a plate.

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:

More Healthy Breakfast Recipes

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 in a pan with fresh herbs on top.

Shakshuka Recipe (Easy & Traditional)

4.94 from 435 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

Shakshuka is a North African and Middle Eastern meal of poached eggs in a simmering tomato sauce with spices. It's easy, healthy and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!

Video

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Lisa’s Tips

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 164mg | Sodium: 256mg | Potassium: 409mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1371IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Breakfast, Main Meal
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Keyword: shakshuka, Shakshuka recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted December 2018, but updated to include new photos, video, and information for your benefit!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




790 Comments

  1. This is one of our favorite meatless dinners and on regular rotation! Usually served with a tomato/cuke/red onion salad with Greek vinaigrette and pita. There’s just hubby and me, but leftovers are great for brunch or lunch. The eggs get firmer when reheated, but just as delicious!5 stars

  2. My husband ALWAYS asks me to cook this! I use fresh tomatoes, and make sure to not overcook the egg yolks, turns out perfect each time.5 stars

  3. We are vegan s
    o instead of eggs i substituted garbanzo beans. I cooked it in the morning so spices flavored through out. Will make again. Thank you.4 stars

  4. First time making Shakshuka, this is an easy recipe to make. I did add kalamata olives and some capers, finished with a drizzle of good olive oil. Total thumbs up5 stars

  5. So freaking delicious! I used a beef tomato due to its firmness. I added another softer tomato for the sauce part instead of a can. The cumin is a must – it made the entire dish. I added some feta cheese at the end, which elevate the entire dish.5 stars

    1. Those of us in Morocco (where you can’t beat the wonderful ras el hanout) would still disagree with you. This is a very tasty and quick riff. Only thing I’d change is using cumin seeds (toasted) instead of ground cumin for better flavor.5 stars

  6. Been wanting to try this for a couple of months and finally had time to make some bread at home to eat with this. Added a jalapeño and a little extra garlic, so delicious! Also used one can of stewed tomatoes, and one can of crush tomatoes. Absolutely loved this!5 stars

  7. This was wonderful- delicious snd satisfying without causing that heavy feeling! Love the idea from another commenter about adding fresh spinach and will try that next time!5 stars

  8. This was absolutely delicious!! I added a little harissa and red chili flakes to it and some spinach and feta…we loved this so much! Adding heart healthy foods to our diet and this will definitely be a staple in our home!! Thank you so much!

  9. Lovely recipe. However to say shakshuka is a dish in Israel and other parts of Middle East and Africa is like saying “pizza is a dish in the UK and other parts of USA and Europe”. Just because it’s popular there doesn’t mean its significance justifies naming only that country.5 stars

  10. I really enjoyed this; thank you. I find onions to be optional in this dish. Chorizo too.
    Super easy, tasty and simple-to-follow.5 stars

  11. Just finished cooking and eating this. I added jalapeño slices for extra spice. Very good. Reminds me of being in Israel.5 stars

  12. Fantastic recipe, taste amazing and is super easy to prepare.
    I’ll do it again for sure, thanks for sharing!5 stars

  13. Yummy and easy to follow recipe. I added more chilli powder and around 2 TSP of sugar to make it suits my taste better. Ate with toasted multi grain seeded bread and some samosas. A very satisfying quick lunch.5 stars

  14. This is perfect. I had bought the jar version and loved it so having a recipe that matches that is wonderful. So easy and delicious.5 stars

  15. Made this for dinner tonight and my husband and I ate every last morsel! It was so easy to make! I used diced, instead of whole canned tomatoes, but next time I’ll use crushed and ramp up the spices a bit. Topped it with goat cheese crumbles, shredded parsley and cilantro. Soooo good!5 stars

  16. This was soooo good and so easy to make too! I used fire roasted diced tomatoes from a can. Followed the recipe pretty much exactly otherwise. I left the lid on for the eggs to cook for 8 minutes because we prefer the yolks not runny. We ate it with rice. It was perfect. Thank you! Definitely going to make again. Next time with homemade sourdough!5 stars

    1. Wifey asked for this and I found your recipe. She was so happy afterwards and didn’t realize or know how happy this dish would make her feel. We’ve only had this at brunch spots so to make it at home is amazing!

      It did need a lot more salt, more than just a dash here and there. I also noticed the sourness of the tomatoes from the can and added some marinara sauce to cut the sourness as well as simmering for longer than what the recipe called for. I used Muir glen organic tomatoes so will experiment with other tomatoes for the next time. Thanks for the assist!5 stars

      1. Hi, I’m wanting to make this as will be the correct consistency for me 3 weeks post gastric bypass surgery. Is there any way of freezing it at all as I wouldn’t be able to to eat it all in the refrigerated time and don’t want to waste. Can I put all the items together and freeze minus the eggs then bake from frozen with the egg on the top?

  17. Flavors were not good. Sauce needed another 20 minutes to not taste raw. Eggs overdone when following the recommended time. Will not make again.1 star

  18. Made this last night as an easy Sunday dinner. It was delicous as really quick and easy to prepare for our family. We added chorizo and extra chilli flakes too which gave some extra flavour. I also only had a tin of crushed tomatoes instead of the plum ones worked well for us. just printed it for next time5 stars

  19. Excellent
    Used chilli flakes rather than powder.

    Ideal dish to suit people who can eat anything plus a diabetic that limits carbohydrates.

    Thank you

  20. Ive had this dish multiple times in Africa and the Middle East. This version is very underwhelming. It needs a lot more spices than what this dish calls for. I cooked it for my friends that has had this as well and we all felt the same.2 stars

  21. Why not use a 28oz can of crushed rather than whole tomatoes? Seems like that would save a step and prevent any potential squirting from smashing the whole tomatoes!

    1. Hi David – You can use crushed tomatoes if you’d like, you’ll just miss some of the bigger chunks of tomatoes.

  22. I was eager to try this recipe. I like all of the ingredients. Final dish was ok – I didn’t dislike it, but not sure if I’d make it again. If I do, I will not use the whole peeled tomatoes. They are a real pain, almost impossible, to chop up with a spatula or a spoon, especially in a nonstick pan. I was out of cumin, so google suggested I use curry powder. I will replace the cumin and use it next time if I do. Final dish was too soupy in my estimation. I used sourdough bread to sop it up. That was a good combination. I disliked the prep work (as usual) of chopping up the onion, pepper & garlic. My eggs poached well and I enjoyed the overall flavor with them. It is an interesting dish. I had planned to put goat cheese on it, but forgot it. I think that would lend additional flavor.

  23. Thank you so much Lisa. This helped me out so much on a school project and I got an A+. My teacher tried it and he loved it. He didn’t believe I made it myself.5 stars

  24. Downloaded this recipe last spring and finally made it. Did guessaments on seasonings as I was preparing one serving. Bought fire-roasted dice tomatoes with garlic and of course added more garlic, as I’m a fiend for it. Added goat cheese, which put it over the top. What an amazing meal! Can’t wait to serve at my next breakfast/brunch gathering.5 stars

  25. This recipe was a life saver when I forgot to thaw meat and my protein loving husband needed dinner. It is easy to make in a pinch and is super packed with flavor and nutrition. I make it pretty regularly now and I’m so thankful for google bringing me to this website that night because now I use downshiftology for almost every meal and snack recipe!!! Thank you Lisa for everything you create!!!5 stars

  26. I think it is hilarious that people comment how much they liked the recipe and then proceed to tell you all the substitutions they made. Anyway, the carnivores in this house make something very similar to this, only we add one pound of hot sausage to the mix. I guess we need to come up with something to call our dish since it isn’t authentic Shakshuka, but it sure is delicious!4 stars

  27. Good recipe. Decided to add Italian sausage as it felt it was missing something, and it turned out great.

    Kept the left over sauce and blended it to use as dipping sauce for some breakfast burritos the next day.5 stars

  28. This recipe was amazing!! I still have the taste of the spices on my mind. I definitely want to keep it on my cooking repertoire.

  29. I make double of the sauce recipe & store the extra sauce in a jar in the fridge & just spoon enough out for whomever wants it later in the week. Heat it in a small fry pan & when it’s simmering add the eggs. I have 3 young adult children & this dish is something they can easily make themselves for a delicious & nutritious meal.

  30. Fun fact! This recipe was the very first one I tried of Downshiftology. It is so good, easy and the best breakfast! Highly recommend.5 stars