How do you like your eggs in the morning? High protein, low calorie, and high flavor, your favorite new way to enjoy this protein will be with my simple shakshuka recipe. My take on this classic is inspired by the flavors of the traditional North African shakshuka.
I’m so tired of making my eggs the same way. Scrambled, poached, fried – where’s the excitement? Luckily, I’ve got an excellent shakshuka recipe that’s easy to make. Plus, it’s packed with flavor and sure to be a star of your breakfast or brunch recipe rotation.
You might know it as shakshuka, shaksuka, shashuka or even shakahuka. In any case, these eggs are a blend of North African flavors, a popular Middle Eastern breakfast, and just a pinch of the Mediterranean.
With this easy shakshuka recipe, it’s time to give this simple egg and tomato breakfast a makeover.
What Is Shakshuka?
Shakshuka is a popular breakfast dish that consists of eggs, poached in a flavorsome spicy tomato sauce with onions, peppers, and garlic. And it packs plenty of North African spices, including cumin, cayenne, and paprika. It takes its name from Arabic and means “mixed up”. The traditional shakshuka recipe has steadily gained global interest outside of North Africa and the Middle East thanks to its inclusion in many modern cookbooks.
It’s believed that Shakshuka originated in Tunisia, in North Africa. Though some dispute this (particularly those writing the shakshuka Wikipedia entries, who argue the dish came from Libya instead). Some even say the dish originated in the Middle East. Though it’s more likely each region had its own unique shakshuka recipe.
There remains significant controversy over the origin of the dish, with several regions of both Africa and the Middle East claiming ownership of the best shakshuka recipe. Despite this, the same origin story of how the shakshuka breakfast was created remains the same. Gaining prominence after tomatoes were introduced to the North Africa region during the 1700s, locals used the new crop to create this famous egg tomato dish.
Why Shakshuka Is a Healthy Breakfast
Packed with fresh vegetables and protein-high eggs, many shakshuka recipes are surprisingly healthy for breakfast. They are a great vegetarian alternative to the often meat-heavy options for Western breakfasts. Plus, shakshuka eggs are heart healthy thanks to their naturally low cholesterol, low in fat and carbs, and high in Vitamin B and D.
The rich tomato sauce that makes the base of the egg shakshuka is also excellent for your health, thanks to its high antioxidant count – which only increases when the tomatoes are cooked. These antioxidants can then help fight free radicals, which cause damage and disease to our bodies.
There is only one answer to the question “is shakshuka healthy?”, and it’s a resounding yes. Hearty and warming, this shakshouka will keep you full until lunchtime. It will also provide you with some essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins to keep you going.
Ingredients in Shakshuka
- Peppers: Red or orange bell peppers are best to blend with the sauce. But feel free to use whichever color you prefer.
- Tomatoes: You can use fresh cherry tomatoes or fresh Roma tomatoes (when in season). You’ll also need a can of diced tomatoes and a basic tomato puree.
- Onion: I prefer white, but red or shallots work too.
- Eggs: Chicken or even duck eggs work great.
- Olive oil: Or your favorite cooking oil.
- Smoked paprika & chilis: These make up the base spices, but feel free to add other shakshuka spices like cumin or cayenne pepper. You can also add red pepper flakes.
- Salt & black pepper: To taste.
- Parsley: To garnish. Or use cilantro if preferred.
How to Make the Best Shakshuka
This dish really is as simple as lightly frying some vegetables in a thick, rich tomato sauce and cracking eggs into it. However, here is my favorite easy way how to make shakshuka.
Step 1: Prep the Veg
Start by prepping the vegetables. Chop the onion and peppers. If using large tomatoes, cut them in quarters.
Steps 2: Cook the Shakshuka Base
Warm a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and pepper to the pan. Sauté them over high-medium heat for a couple of minutes until the peppers have softened.
Next, add the chilis, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir to incorporate them into the onion-pepper mixture.
Throw in the cherry tomatoes and leave to simmer for a couple of minutes. I add them in whole. However, you can also add them diced.
Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste and stir well, to thoroughly combine.
Steps 3: Add the Eggs
Carefully crack the eggs into the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the desired doneness of the eggs. I prefer to cook until my egg whites are cooked, but the yolks are still a little runny.
You can cook this uncovered, but then it will take longer to cook the eggs through. If covering the pan, then it’s best to place a kitchen towel between the lid and pot. This will capture the condensation from the steaming pan. It will allow your eggs to steam without the cover dropping liquid back onto your shakshouka and making it “watery”.
Before serving, I like to top my easy shakshuka with parsley and another sprinkle of pepper.
How to Eat Shakshuka
Traditionally, this egg tomato breakfast should be eaten straight from the pan. In this way, you can make the most of that delicious shakshuka sauce.
I love it on toast – for a few carbs with my eggs. And a sturdy slice of sourdough or other crusty bread will stay crisp throughout. Plus, it’s an excellent vessel for wiping your plate clean.
What to Serve with Shakshuka
Slices of sourdough toast or pita bread are an excellent way to toast shakshouka’s place among other Mediterranean breakfast recipes. You can also try it sprinkled with feta cheese or served with roasted halloumi. Alternatively, throw together an easy green salad (spinach, arugula, and kale very much included). This extra boost of vitamins will bring out the natural flavor of the best shakshuka recipe.
If you have any leftovers, keep the in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Reheat in a pan with a bit of oil.
Fun fact: If you are thinking that you’ve had a similar dish in other parts of the world, you are right. There are other similar breakfast recipes like Turkish “Menemen“, Mexican “Huevos rancheros“, or even Italian “eggs in purgatory“.
Other Breakfast Ideas
If you try this shakshuka recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
The Best Authentic Shakshuka Recipe
- 2 bell peppers
- 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 onion
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3-4 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2-3 chillis to taste, or omit
- parsley to garnish
- Finely chop the onion and peppers.
- Warm a skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and pepper to the pan.Sauté the onion and pepper over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes until the peppers have softened.
- Add the chillis, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir to incorporate them into the onion-pepper mixture. You could also wait and season with salt and pepper just before adding the eggs, to get it exactly right, to your taste.
- Throw in the cherry tomatoes and leave to simmer for a couple of minutes. I throw them in whole. However, you can also add them diced.
- Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste and stir well, to thoroughly combine.
- Carefully crack the eggs into the pan. Cook for a few minutes until desired. I prefer to cook until my egg whites are cooked, but the yolks are still a little runny.
- Optionally, top with parsley and serve immediately.
- Choose your canned tomatoes wisely. Tomatoes are the key ingredient here so you don’t want to use just any old can. My favorite options are either crushed fire-roasted tomatoes or DOP “San Marzano” tinned tomatoes.
- Some people don’t have much luck when cooking the eggs just in the skillet. If you have issues then transfer the pan, uncovered, to your oven and bake until the egg whites are set.
- If you are cooking the eggs on the stovetop, you can keep the pan uncovered, but then it will take longer to cook the eggs through. If covering the pan, then it’s best to place a kitchen towel between the lid and pot. This will capture the condensation from the steaming pan. It will allow your eggs to steam without the cover dropping liquid back onto your shakshuka and making it “watery”.
- Swap out vegetables – or add more. For example, eggplant, potatoes, squash, carrot, zucchini, spinach, kale, chard, etc.
- For vegan shakshuka – You can omit the eggs and add tofu instead. Also, feel free to crumble over vegan feta or other vegan cheese.
- For more spice – Add extra chilis, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, etc.
- Swap spices – You can easily change the entire flavor of the dish with your choice of spices. Cumin, paprika, curry powder, za’atar, etc. all add their own spin to the dish.
- Add cheese – Crumbled feta is delicious when combined with rich, hearty tomatoes and eggs.
- Swirl in pesto – It adds a lovely, salty, richness to the dish.
- Other toppings – Include homemade creamy labneh, other types of cheese, olives, fresh avocado slices, your herbs of choice, etc. Sometimes, I even like to add a sprinkle of Simple Middle Eastern Pickled Turnips.