A flavorful, very filling dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce, shakshuka is surprisingly easy to make.
And while it practically begs for some crusty bread for dipping, you could easily enjoy it with thick slices of homemade almond flour bread.
I find that a lighter, egg-based dinner, is wonderful. Especially in summer. One such dinner that I make quite often is this tasty dish of a baked avocado egg. This recipe is another one that I like to make and that my family greatly enjoys.
Shakshuka (pronounced shahk-shoo-kah, emphasis on the middle syllable) is a middle-eastern dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. Its name comes from the Arabic word for "mixture." It's very flavorful and wonderfully filling.
The list of ingredients needed to make this tasty breakfast recipe is very simple. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Olive oil: I love cooking with this delicious oil. But if you'd rather use an oil with a higher smoke point, you can use avocado oil instead.
Aromatics: Chopped onion and minced garlic.
Tomatoes: The stars of the show! You could use fresh tomatoes, but I usually use either canned petite diced tomatoes or Pomi chopped tomatoes.
Salt and pepper: I use kosher salt in most of my recipes. If using fine salt, you might want to use less salt.
Spices: I use paprika, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Make sure the spices you use are fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
Eggs: I use large eggs in most of my recipes. It's simply what I have on hand. But in this particular recipe, medium or even small eggs will work well - it will be easier for the sauce to contain a smaller amount of egg whites.
For garnish: Either chopped cilantro or chopped parsley.
Making shakshuka is easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
- Cook the sauce. Cook the onion in olive oil with some salt. Then add the garlic, paprika, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Next, add the tomatoes. Cook the sauce for about 10 minutes.
- Cook the eggs. Now add the eggs and cook them for 5-10 minutes, until set.
- Finish the dish. Sprinkle the dish with salt, pepper, and parsley, then serve.
At the very last step, after you add the eggs to have them poached in the tomato sauce, it's tempting to cover the skillet so that the egg whites can cook faster.
However, covering the skillet will result in a milky film forming on the egg yolks. Still tasty, but not as pretty.
So I think it's best to patiently cook the eggs uncovered. If it seems like the tomato sauce is drying out while the eggs cook, lower the heat to medium-low or even to low.
You can also drizzle a bit of water on the tomato sauce if it's drying out and the egg whites are still not fully cooked.
Frequently asked questions
Outside of Israel, this dish is usually considered breakfast food. But in Israel, it is often served for dinner. Israelis tend to eat their main meal for lunch, then have a lighter meatless dinner.
Pretty much, yes. It's the same basic idea - poaching eggs in a well-seasoned tomato sauce. The main difference is in the seasonings used - basil and oregano for the Italian version, parsley and cumin for the Middle Eastern version.
I use either canned petite diced tomatoes or Pomi chopped tomatoes. Pomi is a wonderful Italian brand. Their tomatoes are sweeter and less acidic than American ones, and they are chopped very finely, which is perfect. You can find this brand on Amazon, at Whole Foods, and in a growing number of grocery stores.
- The best way to vary this recipe is by using different spices. You can try using smoked paprika for an interesting smoky flavor. Or use cayenne pepper instead of red pepper flakes (use about ¼ teaspoon). Dried thyme and oregano are very tasty too, if nontraditional.
- You can also use different cooking fats instead of olive oil. Butter or ghee are good options.
- Many shakshuka recipes add bell peppers in addition to tomatoes. I usually don't. But if you'd like, you can add 1-2 finely chopped bell peppers and cook them with the onions.
While the spicy tomato sauce and runny egg yolks practically beg for crusty bread, bread is not mandatory!
A fork and a knife (plus a spoon) are just as efficient. Sometimes, however, we enjoy this dish with thick slices of almond flour bread or with tasty cheese biscuits. You can even use pork rinds for scooping out the tomato sauce.
You can keep the tomato sauce, but not the eggs. So you can make as much of the sauce as you wish then keep it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
But only poach as many eggs as you're going to eat right away. Then, when you serve the leftovers, you can simply fry or poach the eggs separately.
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Easy Shakshuka Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped (6 oz)
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt divided, plus a pinch for the eggs
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin ground
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (half if you don’t like spicy food)
- 2 (14 oz) cans petite-diced tomatoes undrained (I often use 26 oz Pomi chopped tomatoes)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper plus a pinch for the eggs
- 6 medium eggs
- 2 tablespoons cilantro or parsley, for garnish, chopped
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. I like to use a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet.
- Add the onions and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic, paprika, cumin and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
- Add the tomatoes (undrained), the remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and black pepper. Cook for 10 more minutes, uncovered, stirring frequently, to allow the sauce to thicken and the flavors to meld.
- Crack the eggs into small bowls. With the back of a spoon, make a well in the sauce and carefully pour an egg into it. Gently push the tomato sauce over the edges of the egg white to contain it from spreading too much. Repeat with three more eggs, spacing them apart so that the eggs are more or less evenly distributed.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and keep cooking the shakshuka, uncovered and undisturbed, until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still soft, 5-10 more minutes. It’s best not to cover the skillet at this point, as this creates a milky white film on the pretty egg yolks.
- Divide the shakshuka among 4 plates. Sprinkle the eggs with a little salt and pepper, garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley, and serve