I can’t quit you: My summer love affair with shakshuka

Homemade shakshuka: adding spice to my life!

Homemade shakshuka: adding spice to my life!

This summer was the Summer of Shakshuka.

It started on a whim (“hmmm…never made that before…”) and turned into an all-out obsession (“must make more!”). Months later, my infatuation is still going strong and even though I’m no longer using tomatoes from my garden, I have happily discovered it still tastes great using high quality canned tomatoes.

If you’re not familiar, shakshuka is a spicy stewed tomato dish, usually made with onions, chilies and cumin. Most versions boast a simmered-to-perfection egg and the best versions (in my opinion) also include a nice salty cheese. While the egg certainly makes it seem more “breakfast-y,” this one-pot wonder makes a great lunch or dinner as well.

It’s also a fun dish to play around with, adding or subtracting ingredients depending on what’s in season — or by what’s in your fridge. My favorite batches this summer included sautéed zucchini and summer squash and lots of kale. I’ve even thrown cooked farro or quinoa in at the end to bulk it up.

It’s funny to think I have eaten shakshuka for years but somehow never bothered to make it at home. I have no idea why considering how much I’ve always enjoyed it — and how easy it is to throw together.

But no matter, I have the recipe on mental lock-down now and could whip this up in my sleep!

And while it certainly was perfect for summer’s “I forgot to plan dinner” emergencies, I have a feeling it’s not leaving my menu rotation anytime soon. And if you’ve never made it before, now is the perfect time. I think it’s the ultimate warm-you-up dish for chilly autumn mornings or cold and dreary December nights.

Whatever you do, just make sure you make it spicy — the heat is really what makes this stand out.

Spicy shakshouka

Jessamine’s Shakshuka

makes about 4-6 servings

  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 chile (I liked Fresno chiles quite a bit in this) — deseeded and minced
  • 1 yellow onion — small diced
  • 1 yellow or red pepper — small diced
  • 2 medium summer squash/zucchini — small diced (optional)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika — either smoked or sweet
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-28 oz cans of peeled whole tomatoes (squish with your hands to break apart or sub already diced tomatoes)
  • A handful or two of pretty cherry or pear tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 TB tomato paste
  • 1-2 bunches kale — blanched and chopped (or sub fresh spinach or baby kale)
  • 6 oz feta, crumbled
  • 4-6 eggs

In a large skillet or dutch oven, start by heating up some olive oil and sautéing the first three ingredients. After the onions have slightly softened, added the pepper and zucchini (if using). Let cook for 5-8 minutes or until vegetables are starting to get tender. Season well with salt and pepper.

Add spices, cooking until toasted and fragrant.

Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer until liquid is reduced and all vegetables are soft, about 10-12 minutes.

Add greens (if using) and half of cheese and the handful of fresh cherry or pear tomatoes (if using).

Now at this point you can stop and cool down for later use. I usually make the recipe through this point and then I have lunch/dinner for the rest of the week.

Once you’re ready to eat, heat it up and make a well for the egg (or for the 4-6 eggs if you’re making it for a group). Season eggs with salt and pepper and cover, allowing to simmer in the sauce until done (cook to your preference, checking often so you don’t overcook it).

Top with remaining feta. Dig in!

Making Shakshuka: Tomatoes, peppers, onions...all simmered together.

Making Shakshuka: Tomatoes, peppers, onions…all simmered together.

With the greens added in...

Shakshuka, with the greens added in…

Homemade Shakshuka

Shakshuka = happiness!




13 thoughts on “I can’t quit you: My summer love affair with shakshuka

  1. Oh so gorgeous! You’re the third person to mention shakshuka this week to me and it’s making me hungry for it. I really like your addition of kale and squash/zucchini to this dish – it makes this dish a very robust vegetarian meal. Beautiful photos and post.

    • Thanks! I’m a big fan of adding extra vegetables whenever possible. My husband thinks I’m a little crazy (zucchini in taco meat?) but anything to make things just a little healthier. And this weather is perfect shakshuka weather — the chill in the air must have put it on everyone’s minds. =)

  2. WTF is “shakshuka”!? Is that some kind of Caribbean/Afrobeat thing? (I could google it, but I would prefer to have you explain it to me.) A hatch chili would give it a nice heat. I make a Turkish thing kind of like that.

    • Ha! I think it’s more Tunisian from what I’ve read but I’ve eaten it at a lot Spanish tapas places. A hatch chili would also be perfect. Anything with heat! I’m normally a bit of a wuss when it comes to super spicy but I love it in this dish — the cheese and the egg tame it and it just makes me happy.

  3. Beautiful pics—I wish I had had that for dinner! I was on a total shakshuka kick this summer, too. Such a wonderful dish. Especially, as you say, when you have nothing planned. I often use our frozen tomato sauce and just start adding stuff. There’s a great harissa recipe in the Ottolenghi Jerusalem book (I think you can find it online too) which is a wonderful addition you might want to consider in further mixing it up as cold weather approaches.

    • Yum! I love harissa and can imagine it would be awesome in shakshuka. This dish has really become my new favorite thing to eat. Last night my husband cooked me dinner and took some of my last batch, pureed it and topped it with seared lamb. It was amazing. I’m seeing what other fun additions I can find to keep it interesting!

    • Yes, nothing can beat it for breakfast — especially with a perfectly cooked egg! And some quinoa. Seriously. I’m funny in the way that I can sometimes eat something for weeks and never get sick of it. This is definitely one of those things!

  4. Pingback: Fast Post like Eggs for Dinner | Food by the Gearhead's Wife

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