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. Hi Tori,

    This recipe looks so good and I look forward to trying it. I’m just concerned about the acid from the tomatoes and the effects that they may have on the cast iron pan. Do you have to season your pan often or do you notice any effect on the quality of the pan after cooking this dish?

    1. Hi Cali, I used to make shakshuka in a cast iron but have since switched over to my regular skillet due to the acid erosion. I would recommend using a regular or nonstick skillet instead. The cast iron makes for a prettier photo, but it’s not the ideal pan for this recipe due to the tomato base. If you do use a cast iron make sure it’s well seasoned, and don’t let the tomato mixture sit in the pan for very long.

  2. I have made it a couple of times… Added a bag of spinach and a random Italian sausage. So, not kosher, LOL. but really good.

  3. I make shakshuka every morning. I have modified the recipe adding the following ingredients: 1/2 jalepeno peppe, 6-10 ounces of broiled eggplant chopped, 1+ tsp sumac, dash of regular paprika and a heavy dash of smoked paparika. Also, I use a half cup of egg beaters. The meal is prepared and served in an 8″ cast iron frying pan. Enjoy!!

  4. As buzzfeed says, this really is the perfect food! We make it every once in a while. I made it for dinner the first night of Hanukkah, and served it with falafel and latkes. I made a little mistake, that actually turned out quite nice: I didn’t have any tomato paste, so I put the lid on, turned it down all the way, and left my kids in charge while I ran to the store. When I got back, they were “busy” watching tv and didn’t even notice the burning smell that resulted from all the moisture escaping! I ran in, dumped in the paste, and scraped the bottom. After cooking a bit more, it was a beautiful dark red, with just a bit of “burnt-ness” too it. It was really good! Or, it could have been all the za’atar I put in it that made it good ;)

    thanks for all the recipes!

  5. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I recently moved from Sydney to New York, and was excited about the city’s Shakshouka potential! Sadly I’ve not yet found anywhere that can match my beloved Cafe Shenkin back home.

    The upshot of this is that I’ve been following your recipe every Sunday. It’s absolutely delicious, thank you. I stick pretty close to your recipe, but I like to add a bit of eggplant and either goat’s cheese or haloumi to the mix and serve with hummus and falafels.

  6. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi Tori,

    We awoke this shabbat morning in Jerusalem to our third day of snow, a blanket of peace over the city…and said, “let’s try to make Shakshuka!” Haven’t tried to make it yet in the 3 months we have been here, but it is bubbling away on the 2 burner hot plate, delicious aroma as I write. So glad we found your recipe and your interesting blog! Dec 14, 2013

    1. Wonderful Cathy! I am so jealous that you are in Jerusalem with the snow. I keep seeing pictures from my Israeli friends and wishing I was there to witness it…

  7. Hi there. If you get an unusual amount of page views on this now that’s because someone suggested I’d make Shakshuka.. So I googled how to make that, and I found this. I then posted a link to the automotive blog/forum I hang out at.. Because this is perhaps the most awesome thing I’ve had so far in 2013. I did swap out that “pinch of cayenne” with a bunch of powdered Chipotle and Habaneros and I added some celery.. The recipe is still yours though.

  8. We lived in Tel Aviv a few years ago and ate at Dr. Shakshuka all of the time. My husband *loves* shakshuka and misses getting to have it whenever he wants now that we are back in the US. I went looking for a shakshuka recipe this morning so I could make it to surprise him on Christmas morning. How glad I was when your site was the first to pop up – with a photo of a beloved Jaffa haunt from our time there!

    Thanks Tori! I can’t wait to make this in a few days time.

  9. In Melbourne recently, I had this for breakfast at a restaurant called Cumulus. I had never heard of the dish before. They serve it with some shanklish cheese added (which I had also never heard of). It was terrific and I’m trying to replicate at home. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. This brought me back a while in time…

    link to wintertijd.org

    Dr Shakshuka, Abu Maher in Na’tzeret, Benedict in Tel Aviv and the non-kosher Sandwich Bar in the Carmel, Haifa, are some of the places that were comforting to me while I was living in Israël. I’ve never liked living in Israël much for various reasons, but eating at these places with my friends made me forget the reasons for a while.

    Anyhow, I tend to prefer Shakshuka with the spicy Merguez sausages, even though from a purist perspective that’s not really a local way of doing it.

    Having said that, if you really want to make it hot as hell, just buy a Madame Jeanette pepper or two and add that to it. I’m more for the slightly runny version, but cooked is also OK.

    For the non-kosher inclined: I’ve also added slices of bacon to the mix, which is most excellent with the chili.

    On the back of that, I’ve also tried combining the notions of Shakshuka and Chili Con Carne. It’s interesting to break five six eggs into a skillet of chili, although I’m not sure what I think of it myself yet. ;)

    1. Hmm, it would definitely lose something. If you want to try it, you might scramble in the whites into the tomato mixture rather than just cooking them on top. It will leave you with a pinkish tomato mixture but it should taste pretty good. Worth a shot!

  11. I stumbled upon your recipe yesterday, and today I made it (added some ham though, I love me my meat).

    It was absolutely lovely, I am so glad you posted this! I think this will become a staple in my diet from now on XD

  12. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Sounds wonderful…can’t wait to try it, and several others I’ve perused. However, having just started dieting, I would love to be able to find a calorie count if one exists. Thanks

  13. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I have to admit, I was sceptical. Because of… Eggs. With Tomato Sauce. And stuff. But OH MY GOSH this is delicious! Made enough for today’s dinner and tomorrow’s lunch… Well, nothing left for tomorow now.

  14. Hi, any idea of macro breakdown for this recipe please, i’m on a macro tracking diet atm for a body building comp and this looks soo good (i.e grams of carbs, protein and fat in the entire recipe?) Thanks

    1. Hi Amy, I don’t currently offer nutritional breakdowns on my recipes, as I am not a nutritionist. However, there are many nutrition calculators online that will help you calculate an estimate yourself.

  15. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I fell in love with shakshuka when I studied in Israel. I had it pretty much wherever it was served. Dr. Shakshuka is awesome and CafeCafe also has a delicious one. NYC has Aroma now and when I go into the City I stop for breakfast there to eat shakshuka. I’ve made it many times myself with a slightly different recipe, but I’m excited to try your version. Sometimes I add eggplant to mine or a little feta when it is finished and I always sprinkle on some za’atar. I’m so excited that I came across this recipe and your site!

  16. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made this for my colleagues and I for night shift and it was an all round hit with the spice, the heat and the delicious flavours!! What variants might you suggest, i.e. additional ingredients, etc

    1. Hi Duncan, you can get creative with shakshuka and add pretty much anything that would taste good with a tomato base. Various peppers, olives, crumbled feta cheese… the possibilities are many. :)

  17. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I embrace other cultures and this recipe sounds truly awesome. I can’t wait to try it.

    1. Rafaela, I don’t currently offer calorie breakdowns on my recipes. The nutrition calculators available online are not always reliable, and nutrition stats of various ingredients can vary from brand to brand (sodium content, calories, etc.). There are calorie calculators online you can use where you can plug in the specific brands you use. Just Google “calorie calculator” and you should get many results.

  18. Just wanted to thank you for this recipe and the easy to follow directions! I made this tonight and it was really, really good. I was a little too heavy-handed with the cayenne pepper but it was bearable, and I needed to drink some more water anyway haha.

    Thanks again! I will definitely be making this regularly now and look forward to experimenting with different veggies!

  19. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    So excited to find another halal(!) recipe that looks SO flavorful and delicious. Reminds me of a mexican dish with a slightly different flavor profile. Having lived in the MENA area and South Texas, I am up for new ways to do things. Thanks for this beautiful recipe. Can’t wait to try it.

  20. Having developed allergies to the following a while back, what could I use in place of the tomatoes (all forms), onions, garlic and black pepper?

    One idea that springs to mind is a non-dairy Pesto-like sauce with Basil, Parsley, Coriander, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a bit of salt along with fennel though am otherwise short of ideas.

    1. Hi Nate, try using a bed of sauteed spinach and perhaps cheese if you’re not allergic. I’ve tried this before with good results.

  21. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Shakshuka for breakfast is an easy and great way to lose weight. With the help of a giant shakshuka breakfast with loads of veggies – zucchini, celery, brussel sprouts, string beans, whatever is in season – and only one egg, I have lost 40 pounds since April 2013.

    Enjoy Shakshuka, the perfect meal.

  22. These are basically Afghan styled eggs, they’re almost exactly the same, except this looks like a lunch/dinenr and the Afghan version is eaten during breakfast?

    1. Hi Bib, they should cook quite well if you give them time. Covering the pan will cook them in about 10-15 minutes. If they are not done to your liking, you could always stick them under the broiler for a minute or two, but you don’t really need to.

    1. Lily, I don’t currently offer calorie breakdowns on my recipes. The nutrition calculators available online are not always reliable, and nutrition stats of various ingredients can vary from brand to brand (sodium content, calories, etc.). There are calorie calculators online you can use where you can plug in the specific brands you use. Just Google “calorie calculator” and you should get many results.

  23. Thank you for this wonderful recipe, and also for the absolutely beautiful photographs, such a nostalgic reminder of holidays in Israel.

  24. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    made this for lunch today and it was a big hit with my whole family. i added in mushrooms and spinach and a little curry and left out the sugar. I think it was plenty sweet without it.

    1. Hi Scott– the sugar is not for sweetness (there really isn’t enough there to sweeten), its purpose is to cut the acid in the tomatoes. Glad you enjoyed it!

  25. Good - 3 starsGood - 3 starsGood - 3 starsGood - 3 starsGood - 3 stars
    Sauce was good. The recipe didn’t say when to add paprika, chili powder and cumin.

    Also, my eggs were super-duper over done even though I cooked them for 10 minutes. Seems like they probably only needed 5-7.

    Sauce was really good though. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Hi Adam, the recipe states: “Add spices and sugar, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till it starts to reduce.” Spices would include the paprika, chili powder and cumin. As I state in the recipe, eggs can be done to taste– everybody prefers their eggs cooked differently. On our stove in my skillet, 10 minutes produces eggs that are just cooked through. Some prefer them less cooked and more runny, so cook them according to your personal preference.

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