The first time I heard of shakshuka was on an episode of Chopped. (We get to watch the old episodes on YouTube.) They didn’t really explain what it was but I remembered the word.
Strangely, several episodes later, it was mentioned again. I like the word…. But not enough that I would remember the next day to research it.
When I was offered this Skillet Shakshuka recipe I thought – great, now I can learn how to make it…. whatever it is.
As it turns out, I already know… sort of.
Combining eggs and a spicy tomato sauce is common in many cultures. Mexican Huevos Rancheros and French Eggs Pipérade are two examples although neither involve poaching the egg in the sauce.
I like that idea. I love the combination of runny eggs and tomatoes.
I like this recipe. Read on:
Skillet Shakshuka Recipe
Whether you’re looking for an exciting dish to serve up for brunch or fancy a light, easy dinner filled with tasty flavors and cooked in a single pot, this shakshuka recipe has your back!
This meat-free dish is served with perfectly cooked eggs, rich tomato-y flavors, bell peppers, onions, and plenty of garlic for a satisfying meal (any meal) that’s surprisingly healthy and utterly delicious.
To serve, simply sprinkle over some chopped fresh cilantro and crumbled feta… Even if you’re not usually a huge feta fan, this cheese really does take the dish to a whole new level and shouldn’t be missed out!
What is shakshuka?
First things first, shakshuka is a Maghrebi dish traditionally featuring poached eggs, tomatoes, peppers, onion, and garlic. The spices used in shakshuka can vary, but the dish most often contains cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg for a satisfyingly flavourful meal with a hint of spice.
The origins of shakshuka are disputed, but most believe the dish originated in the Maghreb, Ottoman Empire, or Yemen. It’s possible the vegetarian egg shakshuka we know and love today evolved from a meat stew popular in Ottoman – called shakshouka.
Shakshuka can also be spelt shakshouka or chakchouka. It’s relatively similar to the Italian “eggs in purgatory” dish or Turkish menemen.
Is shakshuka vegetarian?
Because shakshuka involves no meat or fish, this dish is suitable for vegetarians and is packed full of protein from the eggs.
Although traditionally the eggs are poached in this dish, if you prefer your eggs scrambled or fried, simply cook them separately and add them to the dish at the last minute.
Can I cook shakshuka in a cast-iron skillet?
Although there’s some dispute about cooking this dish in a cast-iron skillet due to the tomatoes’ acidity, as long as your pan is well seasoned, this shouldn’t be an issue!
I cook almost everything in my cast-iron cookware and haven’t noticed any problems with the pan or final dish.
If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, you could also cook this dish in any oven-safe cookpot or pan.
Easy Skillet Shakshuka Recipe
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large bell pepper (I prefer red bell peppers, but you can pick your favorite), chopped
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp smoked or sweet paprika
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 large can of crushed tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus extra to garnish.
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 5-6 large eggs
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- Crusty bread or pita, to serve
- Preheat oven to 375’F.
- Warm 2 tbsp of oil in a cast-iron skillet.
- Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the onion, bell pepper, and salt.
- Cook for 4-6 minutes, frequently stirring, until the onions are tender.
- Add the garlic, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes, regularly stirring, until fragrant.
- Pour in the canned tomatoes (juices and all), then toss in the fresh chopped cilantro.
- Stir to combine everything, then allow the dish to come to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat as required and simmer for around 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Use the back of a spoon to form a well near the dish’s perimeter and crack an egg directly into it. Gently push a little of the tomato mixture over the egg to help contain and cook the egg.
- Repeat with the remaining eggs until you run out of space.
- Top the eggs with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
- Be careful not to burn yourself (and remember it’s heavy) and transfer the skillet into the preheated oven.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, checking the dish frequently after the 8-minute mark.
- When the egg whites turn opaque white and the yolks are slightly risen but still soft (in other words, a little before the eggs are thoroughly cooked), take the pan out of the oven. The eggs will continue to cook when you take the oven out, so you don’t want them to be completely done.
- Transfer the pan to a heat-safe surface and top with crumbled feta, fresh cilantro, and a sprinkling of extra red pepper flakes.
- Serve in bowls with crusty bread or warm pita to the side.
Because this dish contains perfectly poached eggs, it’s not ideal for leftovers as the eggs will become overcooked when reheated. Therefore, you’ll want to reduce the recipe if cooking for fewer people.
This dish makes a delicious and nutritious lunch, brunch, or breakfast, but it can also make a really tasty vegetarian dinner that the whole family will love.