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  • Writer's pictureCathy Dyer

Shakshuka שקשוקה - Vegetables and Eggs For Breakfast

Shakshuka sauce can be made ahead, making this a quick and nutritious breakfast.

Shakshuka (שקשוקה) is a dish of poached or scrambled eggs in tomato sauce. The name is from Maghreb (NW Africa). The origins of the dish are disputed. It goes all the way back at least as far as the Ottoman empire and is a staple throughout the Middle East.

Say "breakfast" in America, and what comes to mind? Often it is sweet cereals, donuts, danishes, toast and jam, toaster pastries, etc. Some may think of yogurt, oatmeal, grits, eggs, and sausage and bacon.

Hardly any Americans think about eating vegetables in the morning.

Visiting, and later living in Israel, I got turned on to a completely different way of thinking about breakfast. This is a typical Israeli breakfast or ארוחת בוקר:

There's tuna salad, Israeli salad (tomatoes and cucumbers), guacamole, a spicy tomato spread, olives, feta cheese, labneh, fresh bread, and a small bit of apricot preserves. The focus is most definitely NOT on sweets.

Israelis also love shakshuka, which can be eaten for breakfast or any meal. There is even a restaurant named Dr. Shakshuka in Yaffo. You can watch Dr. Shakshuka make his shakshuka with sausage in this video.

I fell in love with shakshuka, too. And I've tweaked my own recipe.


1 eggplant ½ tsp cumin seeds ½ tsp coriander seeds ¾ C olive oil 2 large red onions, sliced 4 bell peppers, yellow, orange, or red, sliced in ¾” strips 1 Serrano pepper, seeds removed, diced 4 garlic cloves, slightly crushed, chopped in big pieces 4 tsp sugar 2 bay leaves 6 sprigs fresh thyme, picked and chopped (or equivalent dried thyme) 2 T finely chopped and tightly packed parsley 2 T finely chopped and tightly packed cilantro 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with basil 2 T tomato paste 1 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp saffron threads 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper Salt and pepper

Feta cheese (optional and recommended)



Roast the eggplant, whole, under a broiler. Cut slits in it so it can leak and not explode in your oven (I’ve done that). Let it get good and charred on the outside, turning it several times. When done, put it in a colander to drain. Peel the charred skin off, scoop out the innards, seeds and all. Set aside.

In a large pan, dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds about 2 minutes. Add the oil and onions and fry over high heat about 5 minutes. Add the peppers, garlic, sugar, and herbs. Fry for another 5 – 10 minutes until there is some nice browning.

Add the can of tomatoes, tomato paste, ground cumin, saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper, and the eggplant. Turn the heat to low and cook at least 15 minutes. You might need to add some water to thin it up a bit. Use your best judgement with the water.

At this point you could make a big shakshuka by breaking 8 or so eggs into the sauce, sprinkle some pepper and fresh cilantro on top, cover, and cook until the eggs are done to your liking. Some like them runny, others want the eggs cooked through. You can add feta cheese in before adding the eggs - and it will be delicious.

Or, you can refrigerate or freeze the sauce, and later pull out what you need to make smaller, single serving shakshukas (shakshuki?). That’s what I do. One egg at a time for myself.

Eat with fresh pita or other fabulous bread to dip in the sauce.


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