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Traditional Shakshuka Recipe

pan of shaakshuuka with 2 eggs and feta cheese on a wooden table

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.

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.

Slow-Cooked Shakshuka

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.

Okay, let’s make shakshuka!

Gather and Prepare All Ingredients

overhead shot of ingredients for shakshuka, including: tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, eggs, bell pepper, cumin, olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, sugar, and paprika

Sauté Onion and Peppers Until Slightly Charred

2x2 image of onions, bell pepper, and jalapeno sauted in a stainless steel pan

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

sauteed onions and peppers with garlic, paprika, and cumin on top in a pan

Stir together for about a minute, this will allow the spices to toast and the garlic to soften.

Mix in Tomato Paste

image of sauteed onions and peppers with spices and paprika for shakshuka

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

cooked shakshuka in a pan

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.

Freezing Shakshuka for Meal Prep

I recommend using 1-cup of shakshuka sauce for 2 eggs, which is typically enough for 1 person. Because this recipe makes 4 cups of shakshuka, you will have leftover sauce. You can either ladle it into a container to store in the fridge or freeze for later.

 2 1-cup souper cubes trays filled with shakshuka sauce

To Reheat Frozen Shakshuka:

  • Pop out frozen cube of shakshuka and place in an appropriately sized pan. For 1-cup of shakshuka, I recommend a small egg pan.
  • Cook over a low-heat flame until the frozen shakshuka has started to thaw and melt. Then raise heat to a medium flame.
  • Once the sauce begins to simmer, create a cater into the shakshuka with a spoon for each egg you will cook.
  • Cover with lid and cook for 6-8 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Crack Eggs into Sauces

If making an individual portion, ladle 1-cup of shakshuka sauce into a small egg pan. Then create 2 craters with a spoon and add 2 eggs (1 in each crater). If you have a lid, cover the pan or pot for at 6-7 minutes, or until the whites are set and yolks are cooked to your preference.

Serve and Enjoy

image of cooked shakshuka in a cast iron pan with 2 eggs, feta cheese, and parsley 

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.

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