Shakshuka With Feta
If you ask me, shakshuka is a tragically under-appreciated dish. In fact, I’m surprised how many people don’t know what it is! After having a friend say “shakshuka?? Never heard of it.”, I knew I had to dedicate a full post to this very special meal.
Shakshuka is an incredibly versatile egg dish that is so much more than a breakfast food. It’s a simple, one-pan, super healthy meal that is hearty enough to be enjoyed any time of day! There are countless variations of shakshuka out there, but this version sticks to the more traditional preparation and flavouring. This recipe is also vegetarian, low-carb, and gluten-free!
Traditional shakshuka is a dish of softly poached eggs in a tomato-based, stew-like sauce with peppers, onions, garlic, and a variety of spices. Its name is believed to originate from the Arabic word meaning “all mixed up”.
Today, shakshuka has spread to all corners of the world, and has several variations. From green tomato sauce, to different combinations of spices, to the addition of sausage or lamb, there is no shortage of choices when it comes to shakshuka.
For this recipe, I stuck to the more traditional version of shakshuka and used paprika, cumin and chili flakes for my spices. I also topped it with some crumbled feta cheese, which adds a nice tang to the dish.
Making shakshuka is actually super easy. Plus, it’s all done in one pan, which simplifies the cooking and the cleanup!
I like to use my 12 inch cast iron skillet for this recipe because it easily goes from stovetop to oven. I’ve also owned the pan for years now, so it’s deliciously seasoned by all the different meals I’ve cooked in it. Like fine wines, cast iron pans only get better with age!
Many recipes will call for diced or crushed tomatoes, but I much prefer to use a can of whole tomatoes. Before cooking, I cut each whole tomato up into three or four pieces. This will leave you with chunks of tomatoes larger than those in a can of diced. But, if you think you’d like a smoother texture, feel free to substitute the whole tomatoes for diced, or even crushed. Cooking times will be the same.
The trickiest part of perfecting shakshuka is knowing when to take the pan out of the oven so as not to overcook the eggs. Since the tomato sauce gets quite hot, the eggs will continue to cook even after you remove them from the oven. I’ve found cooking the shakshuka at 375 for 8-10 minutes yields the best results. You want the whites to be totally opaque and the yolks to jiggle slightly when moved.
Shakshuka is traditionally served for breakfast with some pita or challah bread. This comes in handy for scooping up all that yummy sauce at the end! Since the dish is pretty hearty, though, I often enjoy it for dinner with an arugula salad as a side.
The first time I had shakshuka, it was served with a huge dollop of labneh on top. Labneh is a thick yogurt cheese (similar to a cream cheese) used as a dip or spread in Middle Eastern cuisine. The smooth, creamy texture of labneh atop the spicy, acidic tomato sauce is a perfect combo. You can find labneh at some speciality grocery stores or you can make it at home! Try this Labneh recipe by A Couple Cooks.
Shakshuka is 100% best served fresh from the oven. That said, if you end up with leftovers, you can reheat them the next day. I don’t recommend eating leftover shakshuka more than a day old. Note that reheating will cook the egg(s) more and you’ll lose that nice, softly poached texture. To avoid messes in your microwave, and to ensure an even warming, I recommend reheating in a small sauce pan or frying pan on the stove.
If you prefer to make a single-size serving of shakshuka, halve the recipe and use a small cast iron pan. Cooking times will be the same.
If you’re on the hunt for some other options to change up your morning routine, check out some of my most loved low-carb breakfasts:
- Silky Smooth Keto Oatmeal
- Keto Blueberry Pancakes
- Homemade Sugar-Free Nutella (if it’s wrong to call this a breakfast food, then I don’t ever want to be right)
If you make this Shakshuka, please rate it and add your comments below. And be sure to tag @thebespokebites in your photos and videos on Instagram for a chance to be featured!
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Shakshuka With Feta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can whole tomatoes (28 oz)
- 6 large eggs
- 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Parsley and cilantro to garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add the garlic, onion and bell pepper and cook until just soft; about 3 minutes. Add the spices and tomato paste and cook another 2 minutes.
- Add the can of tomatoes, breaking up each tomato into thirds or quarters in the pan*. Mix well and bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let the tomatoes simmer to cook off some of the liquid; about 5-10 minutes. The mixture should start to thicken up.
- Using the back of a ladle, create a small pocket in the sauce near the edge of the pan and break an egg into the area. Repeat this process five more times, with the last egg being placed in the centre. Continue to simmer the tomatoes and eggs 2-3 minutes. The egg whites should start to cloud slightly.
- Place the cast iron pan in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven when egg whites are opaque but the yolks are still somewhat soft- they should jiggle when you move the pan!**
- Sprinkle with feta cheese, parsley and cilantro, and serve in bowls with some toasted bread.
- * I like to use whole tomatoes and break each one down into three or four pieces. This leaves nice, substantial sized chunks of tomato in the shakshuka!
- ** Because the tomato sauce is quite hot, the eggs will continue to cook even after the pan is removed from the oven. It’s important to take the dish out of the oven before the eggs are fully cooked through!