Lisa Bryan's Shakshuka

Recipe Corner: Lisa Bryan’s Shakshuka


“Shakshuka is an easy, healthy breakfast recipe (or any time of day recipe) popular 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. Essentially, eggs in tomato sauce. It’s nourishing, filling, and one recipe I guarantee you’ll make time and again – whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner,” says Lisa Bryan, the talented recipe developer and food blogger at Downshiftology.

Shakshouka, also spelled shakshuka or chakchouka) is a Maghrebi dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, olive oil, peppers, onion and garlic, commonly spiced with cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper. According to Joan Nathan, American cookbook author and newspaper journalist, shakshouka originated in Ottoman North Africa in the mid-16th century after tomatoes were introduced to the region by Hernán Cortés as part of the Columbian exchange. Many variations of the basic sauce are possible, varying in spice and sweetness. Some cooks add preserved lemon, salty sheep milk cheeses, olives, harissa or a spicy sausage such as chorizo or merguez.

“Because eggs are the main ingredient, it is often on breakfast menus in English-speaking countries, but in the Arab world as well as Israel, it is also a popular evening meal, and like hummus and falafel, is a Levantine regional favorite. On the side, pickled vegetables and North African sausage called merguez might be served, or simply bread, with mint tea.”

“The first time I had shakshuka was years ago on a trip to Egypt with my mother. I remember instantly loving the meal and the simple yet bold flavors and spices. So when I recently visited Israel, 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 (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 an authentic, Tel Aviv-inspired rendition.”

Lisa Bryan

“Spices may vary in this dish, but you’ll commonly find paprika, cumin and chili powder, along with fresh garlic. Though you can always add cayenne pepper if you’d like to heat it up,” says Lisa. “The photo below is one shakshuka I enjoyed in Tel Aviv. How attractive is that single-serving portion served up in a mini sauté pan? Shakshuka with fresh squeezed juice and a side of fruit is a perfect meal.”

Lisa loves healthy foods, and foods from around the world made with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients. She is the author of the best-selling cookbook, Downshiftology: Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook, 100+Make-Ahead Recipes and Quick-Assembly Meals published in 2022. Her cookbook is inspirational yet approachable, with easy prepping methods that will give you the feel-good meals you (and your family) have been looking for this season.

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2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 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. Cover the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the eggs are done to your liking.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and parsley.


PREP TIME: 10 mins

COOK TIME: 20 mins

TOTAL TIME: 30 mins

SERVINGS: 6 servings

Lisa’s Tips:

“If you’re not dairy-free, crumbled feta or goat cheese on top is a 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.”



  1. Nathan, Joan (2017). A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World: A Cookbook. Knopf Doubleday Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 9780385351157. Shakshuka was born in Ottoman North Africa in the mid-sixteenth century.”


  1. Clifford-smith, Stephanie (2011-06-07). <–s
    > “Three of a kind … shakshouka”. <> Sydney Morning Herald. <–shakshouka-20110603-1flpc> Archived from the original on 2017-08-08. Retrieved 2017-08-07.

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By prepping a handful of healthy ingredients at the start of the week, Lisa learned that she could enjoy a variety of meals and snacks without getting bored. And she found she could control what she ate with more clarity: It became easy to eat more vegetables and simple proteins, eliminate processed foods and gluten (to manage her celiac disease), and reduce refined sugar. Her debut cookbook is packed with 100+ simple and ingenious big-batch recipes that can either be frozen or repurposed into totally different, delicious meals.

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