It’s easy to fall in love with the rich and spicy, one-skillet, North African specialty that is Shakshuka.
What’s shakshuka? Picture a bright, vegetarian dish consisting of sauted onions, spices, and jalapeno, all mixed together into a rich tomato-red pepper base, with eggs then poached right into the sauce. Once the eggs have been cooked through, it’s sometimes topped with feta cheese, then served straight from the skillet with bread, hummus, and herbs as garnish. Is there a more perfect sounding comfort food out there? I challenge you to find one.
What’s the story with shakshuka?
Shakshuka was brought to Israel by North African Jewish immigrants, and it has since become an Israeli national favourite. In Israel, the word shakshuka actually means ‘breakfast’, so it’s most often served up first thing in the morning, with a basket of pita or challah. That said, it’s not uncommon to find it in restaurants, cafes, or homes being enjoyed at any time of the day either. Because it’s dairy-free (no feta in this version) and kosher, it’s also a classic choice during Passover.
How do you make it?
Besides clean up being a breeze (one-skillet dish for the win!), Shakshuka is super easy to throw together, and the recipe allows a lot of leeway in terms of getting creative. Try adding eggplant, kale, mozzarella cheese, or sausage to add diversity or change up the flavours. Or if you’re really feeling adventurous, some recipes take it one step further and switch up the tomato sauce with a spinach cream sauce. But, I would personally recommend you try the original tomato sauce first.
Finally, as if you needed one more reason to try shakshuka, it’s definitely the convenience factor. You’ve probably got almost all of the ingredients to make it (right now), the ingredients are fairly inexpensive, and it really does work as an anytime meal. Enjoy it as is, or pair it with your favourite salad for a quick and balanced meal!
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 large jalapeño chile, cored, seeded, and chopped
7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground caraway
1/2 bunch Swiss chard, stemmed and chopped, or spinach
8 to 12 large eggs
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions for 5-10 minutes, or until translucent. Add bell peppers and jalapeno, then continue cooking until softened (about 3-5 minutes). Stir in garlic and tomato paste, then continue to saute for an additional two minutes.
Add tomatoes to skillet, slowly. Add the bay leaf, sugar, salt, paprika, cumin, pepper, and caraway, stirring to combine all ingredients. Let mixture simmer for 20 minutes, then layer the Swiss chard leaves over top.
Crack eggs into the tomato mixture. Cover and let simmer for approximately 10 minutes, or until you can see the whites of the eggs are no longer translucent.
Serve with fresh bread for dipping, hummus, and fresh parsley or coriander for garnish!