Southwestern Shakshuka

6 people
42 min

Shashuka is a great vegetarian meal that you can serve family style for a hearty meatless dinner. I like to change up the flavor profile. My favorite version is Southwestern Shakshuka with salty cotija cheese and fresh cilantro complementing the runny eggs stewed in spiced tomatoes and grilled peppers. Add in extra southwestern flair by garnishing the dish with jalapeno rings and sliced avocado.

I like to cook this recipe in a cast iron skillet so I can pop it in the oven. That way I can keep an eye on the eggs and ensure they’re cooked perfectly. If you don’t have a cast iron or simply don’t want to turn the oven on, no problem. Instead, use a skillet with a lid or tent it with aluminum foil. Gently simmer the eggs in the tomato sauce until the whites are set.

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Recipe details

  • 6  people
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 37 Minutes Total time: 42 min
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  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (vegetable oil will also work)
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 6 oz cotija cheese, coarsely chopped
  • 6 large eggs
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • hot sauce, sliced avocado, sliced jalapeno optional garnish


Wash produce. Peel onion and cut in half, then thinly slice. Core and seed peppers. Cut peppers into thin strips. Peel garlic and thinly slice. Chop cilantro leaves and tender stems. If using, slice jalapeno into rings and cut avocado into strips.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat oil in large cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Once oil is hot add onion and peppers. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very soft.
While onions and peppers cook, open tomatoes and pour into a large bowl. Use your hands to gently crush and pull apart tomatoes. Add ¾ tsp kosher salt and ¼ tsp ground black peppers into the bowl and stir.
After 15 minutes, add garlic to skillet. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until soft and fragrant. Stir in cumin, paprika and cayenne. Cook for another minute. Pour in tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes.
Gently stir in about ⅔ of the cotija. Using a large spoon, gentle press 6 holes into the tomato mixture. You don't want the depressions to touch the bottom of the skillet, you just want to make an indentation where you can nestle the eggs. Crack the eggs into the holes. Season the eggs with salt and pepper to taste.
Turn off the stove top and transfer the skillet into the oven. Cook the eggs until the whites are completely set, and the yolks begin to thicken but are still soft and runny.
When eggs are cooked remove skillet from oven. I like to break the yolks at this point by running a knife through them. Sprinkle the reserved cotija and scatter cilantro leaves over top. Garnish with avocado slices and jalapeno rings, if using. Serve with crusty bread.


  • Crack the eggs into a small bowl or ramekin instead of directly in the pan to avoid any unwanted accidental shell shards getting in your dish.
  • Cooking tomatoes in cast iron shouldn't cause you any trouble so long as it's well-seasoned.
Better than Zest | Alex
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