Shakshuka

When I say the word shakshuka, people often give me a strange look… like I’ve sneezed, or something. I get excited when I see that look– it means they don’t know what the heck shakshuka is, which means they have no idea what they’re missing out on. If you aren’t familiar with shakshuka, I’m thrilled to introduce the concept to you! It’s one of my favorite dishes—a simple, go-to meal that works as a breakfast, lunch, or dinner (“brinner” might be the more appropriate word, since eggs are the star of the dish). I always have the ingredients for shakshuka on hand, and it never fails to make people say “yum!”

In Israel shakshuka is often eaten for breakfast, but I usually find myself serving it with a side salad as a light evening meal. It’s super easy and versatile. When my hubby was in the Israeli army, he and the other soldiers would sneak into the barracks kitchen late at night and cook shakshuka using whatever they could find in the pantries. It’s a vegetarian one-skillet meal that is easy to make, very healthy, and totally addicting.

I’ve enjoyed shakshuka several times in Israel, most recently at a famous restaurant called Dr. Shakshuka.

The charm of Dr. Shakshuka is evident from the moment you enter. The restaurant is housed in an aging building in the old port city of Jaffa. It’s buzzing all day long with local patrons as well as tourists, everybody eager to taste the “Tripolitanian”-style cooking. The owner Bino Gabso was born to a Libyan family that immigrated to Israel in 1949. He’s been serving shakshuka and other north-African favorites to enthusiastic restaurant patrons in Jaffa for the past 18 years.

Old kerosene stoves hang from the rafters of the place, just like the moms and bubbes cooked with when Israel first became a country.

Dr. Shakshuka is known for its Libyan-style home cooking. It’s a kosher meat restaurant with many yummy traditional dishes including couscous, hraime fish, and kosher merguez sausage. They are best known for– what else?– shakshuka. I couldn’t very well visit Dr. Shakshuka without ordering their signature dish. For a twist, I ordered it with mushrooms. I’d never tried it with mushrooms before, and I must say the idea is inspired!

The waitress served my shakshuka in a small, sizzling skillet, as is the custom with most of the local Israeli restaurants. I was surprised to find the eggs quite runny, just barely cooked. I prefer my eggs well-done, particularly when it comes to shakshuka. They were happy to accommodate my preference by cooking it a bit longer. This was some very tasty shakshuka (please excuse the cruddy photo, the lighting inside the restaurant was not great). I cleaned my skillet. After you’ve eaten the eggs, it’s customary to scoop up the remaining sauce with a piece of fluffy white bread. The bread at Dr. Shakshuka has a light, spongy consistency making it ideal for this purpose. Of course, if you’re watching your waistline, gluten intolerant, or serving for Passover, you can leave out the bread; the dish is also wonderful on its own.

I can’t very well write a blog about shakshuka without sharing my own recipe! This is a basic, simple shakshuka spiced just the way I like it. For variety, different ingredients can be added to the tomato base—jalapenos, green chilies, parsley, red pepper flakes, or anything else that sounds tasty to you. I’ve even made shakshuka with a spinach/tomato base that turned out great.  Use your imagination!  It’s a healthy, delicious dish that is easy to make and easy on the wallet. It’s also dairy free (pareve) and kosher for Passover, which means you can enjoy it all year long!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium brown or white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cups ripe diced tomatoes, or 2 cans (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp chili powder (mild)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to taste-- spicy!)
  • Pinch of sugar (optional, to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-6 eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (optional, for garnish)
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 30 - 40 Minutes
Servings: 5-6
Kosher Key: Pareve, Kosher for Passover
  • Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium. Slowly warm olive oil in the pan. Add chopped onion, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add garlic and continue to sauté till mixture is fragrant.
  • Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium until softened.
  • Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir till blended. Add spices and sugar, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till it starts to reduce. At this point, you can taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences. Add salt and pepper to taste, more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka (be careful with the cayenne... it is extremely spicy!).
  • Crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. I usually place 4-5 eggs around the outer edge and 1 in the center. The eggs will cook "over easy" style on top of the tomato sauce.
  • Cover the pan. Allow mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced. Keep an eye on the skillet to make sure that the sauce doesn't reduce too much, which can lead to burning.
  • Some people prefer their shakshuka eggs more runny. If this is your preference, let the sauce reduce for a few minutes before cracking the eggs on top-- then, cover the pan and cook the eggs to taste.
  • Garnish with the chopped parsley, if desired. Shakshuka can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. For breakfast, serve with warm crusty bread or pita that can be dipped into the sauce (if you’re gluten-intolerant or celebrating Passover, skip the bread). For dinner, serve with a green side salad for a light, easy meal.

Comments (190)Post a Comment

  1. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I live your blog, I recently eat at Dr. Shakshuka for my introduction to this amazing dish. I can’t wait to try your receipe!!

  2. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    i love this recipe…. it looks so good! i am a vegetarian, so i look for recipes from all over the world. i had a stroke in january of this year…. they were so useless at rehab when it came to vegan dishes, to really irritate the cooks, i told them i was kosher vegetarian, and i had to follow kosher dietary laws. i got better food after that, i finally got fresh veggies and fruits, not canned. it was wonderful!!!!!

    1. I love that!! I’ll have to remember that the next time I’m hospitalized! Good thinking!!

    2. as a health care professional, i think that’s just dreadful of you. calling them “useless” because they didn’t have your personal specific dietary “requirements” is just deplorable and disrespectful to the hard working women and men who helped you recover.

    3. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
      awesome. For some reason most health care professionals seem to be completely aloof when it comes to true nutrition. Good for you. Canned fruit is hardly the best nutrition someone recovering should have. You’re completely entitled to your preferences and it stinks when you have to be at the mercy of rehab or hospital food- I’ve seen that food and been completely abhorred by it. yuck!
      BTW I cant wait to try this recipe. Looks amazing.

    4. Cheryl…you are so right! As a health conscious RN for over 40 years I have been shocked that hospital food most places is so unhealthy. We add chopped spinach to our Shakshuka, and sometimes sautéed mushrooms. Of course, fresh tomatoes are the best! Good health to you (“labriut” in Jerusalem) !

  3. I’ve never added chili powder, sounds like a good addition. Will try it your way next time. I love Dr. Shakshouka.

  4. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hello!
    I’m glad you had a great time in Israel, indeed shakshuka rocks many’s socks off, including mine. :)
    I’d like to suggest that you use red or any other color peppers other than green, simply because green peppers are not very good for the body – especially digestion-wise.
    Use ripe peppers. Red, Orange, Yellow, even the new purple kind! as long as they’re ripe. Green peppers are picked unripe and contain certain alkaloids that may build up in body tissue.
    I like my shakshuka with a couple more veggies grated in – carrot, zucchini, whatever works! :)
    Waiting for more wonderful stories from your visit. :)

    1. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
      Dina, green peppers are not poisonous, as implied by stating that they contain alkaloids. The problem is that some people (myself included) do not tolerate those alkaloids and get indigestion. It’s not anything serious, and the offending alkaloids are destroyed by the heat of cooking- in other words, you should do OK once the green peppers are cooked down. The purple peppers of which you speak are particularly tasty in my opinion, but I have to let them ripen to a deep magenta before picking or they will bother me also.

  5. So glad you all enjoyed this recipe! It’s definitely one of my favorites. :)

    Dina, that’s very interesting. I don’t often use green peppers (they’re a little too bitter for me), but I do use them occasionally in this dish. You can certainly use any color pepper you like. As I’m sure you know, shakshuka is very versatile– it’s fun to get creative with new ingredients!

  6. I enjoyed reading the account of your visit to Dr. Shakshuka (which I’ll be sure to visit next time I’m in Israel) and seeing your recipe. Since my dad was born and raised in Jerusalem and my mom, though born in New York, grew up in Jerusalem, I’ve been eating shakshuka since I was a kid, although I didn’t learn its real name until much later.

    My father used to tell us stories about making it for his buddies in the (U.S.) army during WW II and so when he made it for us, my sisters and I always called it “Army Special.” As you can imagine, with that background I was quite struck by your account of how your husband made it during his army service!

    Our family’s version always has lots of parsley in the sauce, but a bigger difference is that my dad used fewer eggs than your recipe and beat them so they could be scrambled into the sauce. The result is a pretty salmon-colored egg-tomato mixture that’s incredibly appetizing on any kind of hearty bread. I like to sprinkle some freshly-ground pepper on top of each slice just before I eat it. I don’t know if the scrambled version was his own idea or a regional variation, but I share your fondness for the dish however it’s prepared.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Moshe! The Dr. Shakshuka version is similar to yours– the whites are semi-scrambled into the sauce, but the yolks are left whole (and as I said in the blog, a bit runny). Both ways are yummy!

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Great blog! Have you done a blog about Iraqi kubba stew? Please do!
    Also, which All-Clad pan did you use for this dish? It looks like a saucier maybe?
    (Any tips on finding All-clad on sale?!)

  8. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    This dish is very much like an Italian recipe and served over pasta and some ricotta cheece if you so wish topped with grated parmigiano cheece! YUMMMMMMMMY!!!

    1. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
      I thought the very same thing as soon as I read the recipe. We also make it by mixing all the ingredients togeter.Shiksa’s recipe sounds like another great way. Thank you, all for sharing. Also, thank you to Shiksa for sharing your lovely story of your trip to Jaffa, in Israeli. And to Dr. Shaksuka restaurant.

  9. Thanks for a walk down memory lane. In 78 I lived on a kibbutz in the Golan, in the kitchen- this was one of the first dishes I learned to make! Love it.

    1. You’re welcome Ilana! My fiance learned how to make it in the Israeli army, and he taught me. Every time I make it, he smiles with memories from his time in Israel. Glad it sparked some sweet memories for you, too!

  10. So like i commented before your blog brings memories back…I made the shaksuka for dinner just last night. I introduced it to my husband and daughter, and they loved it! And so did i taste just like it did when i was a kid!! Thanks so much!

    1. Fabulous Amit! I’m so happy that the blog is bringing back good memories for you, and that you enjoyed the shakshuka with your family! :)

  11. This is very similar to a kind of huevos rancheros I’ve been making for years. If you added black beans to this it would be almost identical. Try it!

  12. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I went to Israel on birthright in March, and we also went and ate at Dr. Shakshuka, and it. was. amazing. It seriously was one of the best things I ate while in Israel. Thank you for bringing up some wonderful memories of that great time, it was a treat! I havn’t tried to make it at home yet, although I promised my boyfriend that I would. Now i’m definately inspired to do so though, probably dinner tomorrow!

  13. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I just used this recipe last night and it was absolutely amazing. The spices were perfect: I was surprised that I made it! It tasted like it was from a restaurant!

    1. I make this dish a lot, but I also make another version of it, instead of tomato paste I put spinach and once I put the eggs in, I put the dish in the oven. It comes delish.

  14. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    We make an Italian version . Use Italian seasoning like making a pasta sauce , pop as many eggs as you like and serve over egg noodles .. Great for meatless Friday during Lent..

  15. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Only change I would make is to add the spices to the oil before the onion or separately and then added, chaunk style. Thank you so much for this recipe.

  16. I love this dish, had once and first time in Boston. Tha same name belongs to a completely different dish in Turkey. So i was very surprised to see thisdish when my friends told me that they were taking me to eat shakshuka! But it hit the spot that day! Will try to make itat home this weekend.

  17. Just made a slightly adapted version of this (and have made it before but this is really really good) and am full and happy girl! So many easy to make variations would make this dish a go to any day of the week! Thank you for reminding me!

    1. Yay! It is very adaptable, that’s one of the reasons it’s so popular in Israel– you can clean out your pantry. I’ve been known to add olives, spinach, and different spices to the mix. It’s very forgiving.

  18. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Wow! Just made this today and it rocks!!! :) I didn’t have a few of the ingredients on hand (fresh tomatoes, garlic, peppers) – so I subbed canned diced tomatoes, garlic powder and canned tomatillos. Still AMAZING! Can’t wait to make the “fresh” version. Thanks for the recipe share.

  19. I absolutely adore shakshuka! To be honest I never heard of it until about a year ago I got all these farm fresh eggs and was looking up ways to use them and a recipe popped up. Such a perfect dish with a little crusty bread and some red wine! Thats what make me a happy momma! LOL!

  20. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I am not jewish, but I have to admit I have tried several of these recipes and found them delicious. I can’t wait to try this one. Thank you Shiksa.

  21. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This dish looks amazing. I’m going to try it this week for sure. Tori – I love your blog and love your recipes. Especially when I can try new foods like this dish! Thanks!

  22. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Just finished eating this – husband and I loved it! great way to use extra tomatoes and great way to have a dinner without meat.Thx for recipe.

  23. hi tori

    i forgot about this dish,i used to go to a restaurant in tel aviv that served this back in the 1980s,im going to try to make this this week.thank you for the recipe

  24. I love Shakshuka! we actually have it every Saturday morning :)
    I’ve found a nice trick based on the idea of Shakshuka too!
    Whenever I have mashed potato leftovers I simply heat it up on 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan for about 5 minutes. Then, I create round holes with a wooden spoon in it and add an egg to each hole, lower the heat and cover the pan. After about 10-15 minutes you get what we call “Mashuka” :) the kids LOVE it and it always seems that there isn’t enough of it :)

  25. Brings back beautiful memories of Israel…….and of Dr.Shakshuka……Ww often went there.Moshe and Fiona took us there for breakfast…….loved it ……hihgly recomended…….spike and riva

  26. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Son has been to Israel, will serve for Sunday breakfast.
    Looks tasty and will surprise him 0:)
    Thank you!

  27. I agree about peppers…it doesn’t matter what color they are but I can’t digest ANY BELL pepper! So that’s the first thing that would have to be omitted. Funny that I can handle other types but don’t eat anything too spicy hot. Like Dina suggested, I will add other vegetables when I make this. And when I get to Israel, this restaurant will definately be on my list to visit!
    Love your blog Tori!

  28. My Israeli husband taught me how to make shakshuka when we first met. We break a couple of the eggs, though, and stir them in. We don’t include tomato paste or chili powder, but we do sprinkle on ground coriander with the cumin and garnish with cilantro.

  29. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Made this for shabbat, it was so delicious! I added chickpeas and a touch of cinnamon instead of the cayenne. Absolutely love this dish (as I have loved everything I’ve made from your site), thank you!

    1. Really happy you liked it Gabi, and thank you for the kind comment! I really work hard to make sure my recipes are great before posting them, thank you for noticing and reporting back. :)

  30. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    hi Tori! This recipe looks great and I like that it doesn’t use much paste but more fresh tomatoes. Growing up my mom made us what she referred to as the Israeli army version…essentially the same but all veggies are cute larger (peppers/onions in large circles ..) an not as saucy. Im going to make it sat. brunch as we have guests and I plan to add some lamb sausage to the mix.
    Thanks for the photos and background, it made me nostalgic for Israel and it’s amazing food!

  31. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I love shakshuka! I dated a guy in Israel for a while, and our first date was at Dr. Shakshuka. DEE-LICIOUS. I ended up making vegan ‘Bolognaise’ (lentils instead of meat) and used it to make shakshuka. Turned out great. Happy cooking!

  32. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Had this at home last month and I know how tasty it is.
    With all those pots and pans hanging there and the people sitting down, arn’t they worried that one may get dislodged?

  33. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I just made this eggy-deliciousness!! I followed this recipe exactly as listed and it came out amazing.
    I’d love to see more sephardic recipes in your website :) Next on my list are the charoset truffles.. Love your cooking,
    Thank you!

  34. My Israeli husband makes this for me on special occasions, or when I ask. It’s my favorite!
    I found your website from the ILC-Care Facebook post, so glad I found you! Thanks!

  35. Thank you so much for this recipe – it totally reminds me of being in Israel! I’ve made it twice and posted the photo on Facebook – I had friends asking for the recipe (of course, I directed them to your blog)!

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