Raise your hand if you have heard of “shakshuka” before. I am not seeing many hands out there so let me explain to you what this strange sounding but delicious tasting dish is: basically it consists of eggs cooked on a tomato sauce. It is Middle Eastern in origin and I know it because it is very popular in Israel. It is usually eaten for breakfast or lunch, and because I am getting very bored of my regular breakfast I decided to make it the other day. I am now totally obsessed and I have made it pretty much every single day for a week. The good news is it is extremely healthy and I find it to be a perfect way to start my day off with a high protein and vegetable meal that is fairly low in calories.
Start by dicing one onion and two peppers and saute them with some olive oil in a pan over medium to medium-high heat. I found if I added a bit of salt at the beginning, the vegetables sweat out their juices and then when the juices have cooked off the vegetables soft and slightly golden, which is exactly what you are looking for. You can also add diced eggplant to this dish which I have been doing to up the veggie quotient.
Here are the veggies all nice and soft and golden. Now I throw in a few cloves of chopped garlic and let that cook for a minute or two.
Once the garlic is fragrant I add a large Tablespoon of tomato paste, 2 tsp of cumin, 2 Tablespoons of harissa, and a 28 oz can of peeled tomatoes. The image above doesn’t show the canned tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are in the pan I use my spatula to break them up into medium sized pieces, but you can always just use a pureed tomato if you don’t like chunks. Some people add a little sugar but I prefer my shakshuka spicy, so I add a pinch of red pepper flakes.
One the tomato sauce has cooked down, around 10 minutes, and seems fairly dry, it is time to add the eggs. I cracked each egg into a separate bowl and then slid them into the sauce, but if you are brave you can crack them directly into the tomato sauce.
Cook the eggs until the white part is fully cooked and the yolk is still runny. After having made this quite a few times I find it takes an unusually long time for the eggs to cook- sometimes as long as 10 minutes. To speed things along I now make it in a small pot and the high sides help the eggs cook quicker than the low sides of a pan.
I like my shakshuka with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, and if I am feeling really decadent I will add a bit of plain Greek yogurt or some sour cream. On the flip side, if I feel like I need more veggies I serve this over some steamed spinach.
To make things easier on my busy mornings, I make a large batch of the tomato sauce on Sunday and then store it in the fridge. Each day I pour a little out into a small pot and then heat it up. This takes about 3 minutes. I then cook the eggs for around 5-10 minutes and presto! A healthy and savory breakfast that keeps me full all morning long.
2 tsp olive oil
2 diced peppers
1 diced onion
2-3 diced, pressed, or slivered cloves of garlic
1-2 Tbsp of tomato paste
2 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp harissa (you can find this in the “international” isle of most grocery stores. It is a mild chili paste- not spicy)
1 28 oz can of peeled tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce.
1-2 tsp of sugar if you prefer your tomato sauce sweet or a pinch or two of red pepper flakes if you prefer it spicy.
Salt to taste
Saute the onion and peppers in the olive oil in a large pan. Once they are nice and soft and golden add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the tomato paste, cumin, harissa, and sugar or pepper flakes and cook for a minute or two. Then add the canned tomatoes, breaking them up as they cook. Let the tomato sauce thicken (simmering for around 10 minutes or longer) and then add the eggs. Cook until the whites are bright and the yolk is still runny. Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro.