Shakshuka (shakshouka)

Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Vegetarian *  Parve * Paleo


It would be lovely if I could tell you that I fell in love with Shashuka while I was in Israel or when I first tasted it in my favorite middle eastern restaurant, however, truth be told, I saw the recipe in the cookbook Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi and was compelled to try it.  Turns out it’s quite yummy and a great way to use ripe summer tomatoes.  The first time I made Shashuka was last summer.  I followed the recipe to a “T”, except I confess it goes against my very being to use 1/2 cup oil in a recipe that serves 4 – so I reduced it to 1/4 cup – everything else I did exactly…until it came to adding the 1 cup of water.  The recipe said to add water until the mixture is saucy – but my mixture was so saucy before I added even a drop of water that I just shrugged my shoulders and figured it was just another poorly written recipe – how disappointing.  The end result, however was quite delicious.  Scroll forward 6 months.  It’s January,  I’m making Shashuka for company and this time my tomatoes are just not giving off any juices.  Suddenly I need that 1 cup of water to make the recipe work – so Mr. Ottolenghi, I apologize for doubting you.

Two weeks ago when I made Ratatouille, Irwin had brought me beautiful tomatoes from his garden.  This week Sheila brought me tomatoes from her garden


which is why I was moved to make Shakshuka in the first place.  There will be many more tomato recipes to come very soon.


Although traditionally an egg dish, the tomato-pepper mixture would also be delicious as a baked potato topper.  You could also use it as a filling for an omelet.

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups onion slices (1/4-inch thick)

2 cups sliced red or yellow or orange bell pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon minced)

4 cups ripe tomato wedges

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Pinch red pepper flakes, optional

1/3 cup combination of chopped parsley and cilantro + additional for garnish

Broth or tomato sauce as needed

Salt to taste

4 to 6 eggs (or use poached eggs and skip step 4)

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic; cook, stirring until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.  CIMG9602  CIMG9608-001
  2. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, cumin, thyme, and pepper flakes, if using.
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  4. Cook, uncovered, over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are sauce-like.
  5. If your tomatoes are not juicy enough to create a sauce, add as much broth or water as necessary to make the mixture the consistency of chunky tomato sauce.
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  7. Add the cilantro-parsley mixture, simmer 10 minutes longer.
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  9. Discard bay leaves and stems from fresh thyme.
  10. Preheat oven to 400°F. When the sauce is ready you can refrigerate it for later use or place the eggs on top of the shakshuka
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  12. and bake 6 minutes or until the eggs are done to your taste.
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  14. Sprinkle with additional chopped parsley for garnish, if desired.
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Serves: 2 to 3



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