Growing up, my mom always made shakshuka. It's a dish that's commonly served for breakfast in North Africa and the Middle East. The dish involves poaching eggs in a stewed tomato sauce. You can top it with feta cheese and parsley or cilantro.
Typically, this was a dish Jake and I only ate on the weekends because the prep involved in making it was just long enough that we didn’t have time to make it before work. We decided to double the recipe one morning and freeze the extra tomato sauce in our 1-cup Souper Cubes. We can now have shakshuka any day of the week because it’s so quick to make when the sauce is prepared ahead of time.
Best Tomatoes for Shakshuka
My mom always uses tomatoes from her garden for shakshuka. Sadly, I don’t have a big tomato garden so depend on canned tomatoes most of the year to make this. The only exception is during the summer months when tomatoes are fresh and in season. When I use fresh tomatoes, my go to tomatoes are Roma tomatoes. Though I’ve also made shakshuka with cherry or grape tomatoes I needed to use up. If you're using fresh tomatoes, you'll want 2.5 to 3lbs of tomatoes for one batch.
For canned tomatoes, you can use diced or crushed tomatoes. It really depends on the consistency you’re going for. Occasionally, I’ll make this shakshuka with half diced and half crushed tomatoes. You can also use whole peeled tomatoes and use kitchen shears or a knife to dice it up. The benefit of using canned tomatoes is that they are canned at peak season and have a consistently good flavor. San Marzano tomatoes tend to get the most attention for their flavor, but they’re a bit more expensive and I haven’t experienced a noticeable taste difference. Our go-to canned tomatoes are the Sprouts or Whole Foods 365 Brand of no salt added tomatoes.
If you have a couple of hours, I recommend slow cooking the shakshuka in a 325F oven (with the lid on) for 90+ minutes. This will develop a much more complex flavor with a lot of depth. I learned this technique when making our slow-cooked spaghetti sauce.
Doubling or Tripling Shakshuka Recipe
You can definitely double or triple this recipe. We often do. If so, I recommend cooking the onions and peppers separately, so you do not overcrowd the pot and let the vegetables char. Otherwise, the rest of the recipe’s directions remain the same.
The pictures show a double batch of the recipe in the card below.
How to Freeze Shakshuka
Have leftover shakshuka? You'll want to freeze just the pepper-onion-tomato base without any eggs. Unfortunately the cooked eggs will not survive the freezer and reheat well. Our go to is to freeze in 1-cup Souper Cubes trays. 1-cup of shakshuka base is enough for 2 eggs and can be reheated in an egg pan, perfect for a single person.
Make sure to label your Souper Cubes lid with either a piece of masking tape or water-based paint marker so you don't think your shakshuka is spaghetti sauce or tomato soup. Tomato-based dishes all look very similar once frozen.
A note about freezing dishes with tomatoes and red pepper - they can stain silicone. Best way to clean your Souper Cubes after freezing shakshuka is to place in the dishwasher on a heavy or pots/pans cycle.
How to Reheat Frozen Shakshuka
There's two ways to reheat your frozen shakshuka.
- Option 1: Faster but more dishes. Place the 1-cup frozen shakshuka cube in a bowl or mug and microwave for 3 minutes. Then take the thawed shakshuka and place in an egg pan over medium heat. Once the shakshuka is simmering, make two small craters with a spoon and place the eggs in the sauce. Cover and cook until desired doneness.
- Option 2: Slower but less dishes. Place the 1-cup frozen shakshuka cube in an egg pan with a small splash of water over medium-low heat. Cover with lid. Once full thawed and simmering, make two small craters with a spoon and place the eggs in the sauce. Cover and cook until desired doneness.
How To Make Traditional Shakshuka
Gather and Prepare All Ingredients
Sauté Onion and Peppers Until Slightly Charred
Our go-to peppers are one red bell pepper and one jalapeño for each batch we make. Though you can use any color for the bell pepper.
In order to get a good char on the veggies, you will want to limit how often you stir the onion and peppers.
Mix in Garlic and Spices
Stir together for about a minute, this will allow the spices to toast and the garlic to soften.
Mix in Tomato Paste
Cook this for about a minute until the tomato paste begins to brown the bottom of the pan. Once you add the fresh or canned tomatoes, all the browned pieces on the bottom will get scrapped up and add flavor.
Add Tomatoes and Sugar
If Using Stove Top:
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a light simmer over a low heat. Cook for 20+ minutes.
If Using Oven:
Once all the ingredients are mixed together, cover with lid and cook in a 325F oven for 90+ minuets.
Serve and Enjoy
We love topping our shakshuka with feta cheese, parsley, and olive oil. We eat ours with toasted bread – our favorite is sourdough or pita bread.
Shakshuka is best served fresh. You can make the sauce ahead of time, but I recommend cooking the eggs right before you are ready to serve.