“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.”
“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.