A Very Veggie Shakshuka
Traditional Shakshuka hails from regions of North Africa and the Middle East and is made of poached eggs in a rich tomato sauce spiced with cumin, chili peppers, and onions. In Arabic slang, shakshuka means mixture, aptly named for the flavors and textures found within the dish. Traditional shakshuka is served with pita bread or challah, a salty cheese, and a sprinkle of cilantro or parsley and is the ideal breakfast or brunch food.
This is not traditional shakshuka. For one, it’s vegukated with extra veggies, spices, and as many organic ingredients that I could fit in one pan. But like all vegukate recipes, this dish is packing in the goodness and is one of my favorite meals to have for dinner (all hail breakfast for dinner!) or as an easy-to-make brunch with friends and family. The absolute best part is that this shakshuka is a one-dish meal, so clean up and prep is extra simple!
A little note on eggs. Due to the recently updated dietary guidelines set forth by the government, you’ll be seeing eggs having a bit of a moment again. In the recently proposed 571-page (!!!) report, egg yolks and their cholesterol are no longer bearing the brunt of public disapproval. Instead, eggs may actually keep our cholesterol levels in check. A study from the University of Connecticut found that consuming the dietary cholesterol in egg yolks could boost an individual’s ‘good’ HDL cholesterol instead of hiking up ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Eggs are also a rich source of protein, vitamins B2, B6, B12, D, A, E, & K, selenium, iron, and zinc, and a wonderful food to incorporate into your whole foods diet.
Which Eggs to Purchase.
Here’s where egg consumption gets tricky – what kind do you buy? The amount of labels found on egg cartons is slightly ridiculous; so if you feel confused at which ones to buy…you’re not alone. The absolute best eggs you can purchase are the ones found at your local farmer’s market, or even from that friendly neighbor with the chicken coop down the street. These eggs are about as nutritious and tasty as they get, and once you start buying them, you’ll never go back to store-bought. If local eggs are not available to you, look for egg cartons marked ‘organic.’ Organic eggs carry the most clout, as they have to adhere to USDA Organic regulations. Other private parties can also regulate eggs; those labeled ‘Animal Welfare Approved’ usually provide the highest animal welfare standards for their hens. Be wary of packages marked natural, farm-fresh, cage-free, free-range, etc. – these are very loosely regulated wordage just meant to grab consumer’s attention. They usually also mean that the quality of the hen’s egg laying lives may not be so grand. For more information on eggs and egg carton labels I suggest reading this or this . In short, for the best eggs, get them from a local source.
Whether your looking for the perfect brunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch, or you just want something spicy, warm, and comforting – this veggie shakshuka is it. I hope you love it!
A Very Veggie Shakshuka
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium sized onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ yellow bell pepper, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
A handful of button mushrooms, (about 4-5) thinly sliced
2 (14.5 oz) cans of organic diced tomatoes
½ teaspoons sweet paprika
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne (or less for less spice)
A dash of red pepper flakes
Sea salt and pepper
Big handful of baby spinach
4 organic eggs
A few leaves of fresh basil, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a 10-inch skillet. Add in onion, garlic, mushrooms, and bell peppers and lightly sauté for 8-10 minutes until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant.
Pour both cans of diced tomatoes into skillet and add in spices and salt and pepper. Let tomatoes simmer away for about 5 minutes, stirring every now and then. Add in a handful of spinach and stir to incorporate. Allow spinach to cook and wilt in tomato mixture, about 3-5 minutes.
Using a spoon, make four little holes in your sauce mixture. Gently crack an egg into each hole and season with salt and pepper. Carefully move skillet into preheated oven and bake for 7-10 minutes, or until eggs are set and cooked to your liking. 7 minutes should generate runny yolks, while 10 minutes should create firmer yolks.
Carefully remove skillet from oven and sprinkle with freshly chopped basil. Spoon into dishes and serve with hearty bread or pita. (Sourdough and whole wheat are best!) Enjoy!