In Israel, Shakshuka means breakfast and is pronounced Shahk-SHOO-kah. Sometimes it is spelled Shakshouka, Shakshuka, the dish, reportedly originated in North Africa but is a popular Middle Eastern breakfast dish.
I’d been looking at Shakshuka recipes for a while when my husband made this dish for a Sunday breakfast. As I often do when cooking something Middle Eastern, I consulted our good friend Justin Soltani for recommendations. Justin and some of his family members make the most amazing Persian food. We have been blessed to partake of their hospitality on numerous occasions. They can dance all night! When asked, my husband and I have both said Justin’s is our favorite place to eat. And no, Justin does not have a restaurant.
Back to shakshuka.
In this dish, the eggs are poached in a sauce of tomatoes, olive oil, bell peppers, onion and garlic, and commonly spiced with cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg. Justin’s recommendations helped form our spice combination in this particular recipe, giving it a Persian flair. Justin makes his own garam masala, but we used some we purchased and had on hand. If I make a blend, I’ll come back and link to that recipe.
Traditionally, pita or challah bread soaks up the delicious veggie sauce in shakshuka. However, we prefer it alone – without the carbohydrates from processed grains. Alone, this recipe uses nutrient-dense, whole foods to nourish the temple of your soul.
Shakshuka is a one-skillet, vegetarian dish. It makes a great alternative to a typical American breakfast that might consist of cereal and toast or a bagel. If you want a great start to getting those 5 to 9 servings of fruit and vegetables into your diet, try shakshuka for breakfast. Don’t limit this dish to breakfast though. Alternatively, shakshuka makes an impressive brunch or even a delicious lunch or dinner.
- Cast Iron Skillet
- 1/4 cup ghee or dairy-free substitute
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon Middle Eastern curry powder
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small yellow onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1/2 green bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 6 large eggs (See Note)
- Feta cheese for garnish (optional)
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. If you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, you’ll need one with a lid so you can cook the eggs on the stove.
- Heat the ghee in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat until hot, but not smoking. Bloom the spices by cooking them in the ghee until they are fragrant, being careful not to scorch the ghee (It can happen quickly). and using enough ghee so it’s not a thick paste.
- Add the onion, garlic, and bell peppers; cook stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- Stir in the tomato paste and the tomatoes with their juices into the skillet. Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the sauce thickens slightly, about 20 minutes.
- Using the back of a spoon, make 4 wells in the vegetable sauce, 1 to 2 inches apart. Crack an egg into each well. If it helps, you can break them into a small bowl or cup first to keep the yolk from breaking.
- Put the skillet to the oven and bake until the egg whites are just set, about 10 minutes. Don’t overcook or they’ll be rubbery. If you need to cook the eggs on the stove-top, reduce the heat to simmer; cover the skillet and cook 6-8 minutes until the whites are set.
- Garnish with parsley and feta (if using). Serve immediately.