LOVE TOMATOES? TRY SHAKSHUKA!

Making shakshuka is easier than it’s pronounced. Get the 5 easy steps to make this tomato-based dish that you’ll want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


BY: CARA HARBSTREET, MS, RD, LD

Have you ever seen a recipe that looks so dang delicious you think, “Yes, this, I must have it.” But at the same time, you feel like a total noob in the kitchen and don’t have a clue where to start? That was me with shakshuka. I had seen it on restaurant menus and heard a few friends mention it, but I was always intimidated into thinking it was a super complicated recipe.

Not so much.

While the flavors might be inspired by Middle Eastern or North African cuisines, you likely have all the necessary ingredients in your fridge and pantry right now. It’s deceptively easy to create shakshuka (or shakshouka) at home and it may become your new favorite way to enjoy eggs!

In the interest of helping you avoid feeling that way, let’s walk through step by step and tell you everything you need to know to mix up a batch of your own. Let’s get started!

STEP 1: GET YOUR SAUCE

It all starts with the tomato base. If you have time, make a homemade marinara or tomato sauce by roasting up some tomatoes.  Using a great-tasting, high-quality, pre-made jar of marinara sauce is also a great option for those busy nights. While there are no shortage of canned or jarred sauces on the shelf, be sure to look for sauces that have lower sodium contents and simple, straight forward ingredients.

STEP 2: COOK YOUR VEGGIES

Veggie prep can be one of the most time consuming steps of cooking – make it easier on yourself by trying some of these strategies. For this recipe, use one whole yellow onion and one red bell pepper. The tomatoes and spinach get added later, so you can take time to wash and prep those while the onions and peppers are cooking.

If you’re new to cast iron cooking, just know that once it gets hot it’s gonna stay hot. It does take a few minutes to heat though, so add the oil before turning on your stovetop so you don’t end up with unheated oil going straight into a sizzling hot pan.

From here, it’s up to you how long you want to cook your veggies. Although there are discrepancies about how long it actually takes to caramelize onions, you should at least start to see some nice golden-brown colors. You can also see the volume in the skillet start to drop as the veggies lose some moisture and structure.

Stir every once in awhile, but don’t overdo it. Just give it a flip every few minutes to avoid sticking but let that cast iron work its magic.

**If you don’t have cast iron, no biggie. You can try with a dutch oven, or cook veggies in a non stick or any other skillet. Then transfer to oven-safe bakeware before adding the eggs.

STEP 3: MIX IT UP AND ADD THE EGGS

Next, add in your spices, halved cherry tomatoes and sauce, and finally the fresh spinach. Because this will bake and additional cooking will take place, you don’t want to completely obliterate your veggies. After all, spinach does that disappearing act all on it’s own, so just a few minutes to combine and heat through is enough.

Crack the eggs into the spots where you want them to go. To make this easier, you can use a small ramekin, but a coffee mug or other small dish can also do the trick. Create a “nest” with a spoon in the tomato sauce mixture and slide the cracked egg into it. Be careful not to break the yolk or dump the whites all over the top of the sauce.

Repeat three more times (or more, if you’re adding extra eggs) and then DO NOT TOUCH IT AGAIN!

STEP 4: BAKE

Preheating the oven is an important step here – don’t forget it! The skillet will be hot and it will retain some heat. But preheating the oven ensures the hot skillet stays hot. Use the middle rack as it’s easier to see how the eggs are cooking, but setting it on a higher or lower rack is also fine (adjust baking time as needed).

Start with 8 minutes, but leave them in a little longer if you want to adjust the runniness of the eggs. The eggs should have a little wiggle left, but not be so undercooked that the whites are still runny. Once you remove the skillet from the oven, you’ll have some residual heat that may cook the eggs even further. Top with feta or goat cheese, fresh parsley or other herbs, and that’s it!

STEP 5: EAT!

This one needs no explanation…that’s why we’re here right?! Serve hot with whatever starch or carb you want to use to soak up that savory goodness. Highly technical terms here, but there’s a lot of options. Here are few of ideas:

A grain such as rice, sorghum, cous cous, barley, etc.

  • Roasted or hash browned potatoes (sweet potatoes are also tasty!)
  • Pita bread or naan, lightly toasted or warmed

So there you have it – you’re basically a shakshuka pro at this point. All you need to do is go out and do it!

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup feta or goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley, for garnish
  • 2 to 4 pieces of naan or pita bread
  • Salt and pepper to taste
For the full recipe and instructions, click here.
HEADER IMAGE: SUVAN CHOWDHUR // IMAGE: CARA HARBSTREET

Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD is a Kansas City-based Registered Dietitian helping individuals jumpstart their journey to wellness. By breaking the cycle of dieting, Cara focuses on creating sustainable lifestyle changes for people who are motivated to reclaim their health. Connect with Cara over at Street Smart Nutrition.

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