Have you ever tried shakshuka? In this recipe, eggs are poached in a spicy, spinach-flecked tomato sauce. It's a nourishing, delicious dinner or brunch!
In her cookbook Sababa, Adeena Sussman writes that shakshuka originated as a breakfast for workers, who would scoop the eggs and sauce into pita bread for a convenient handheld breakfast. It’s North African in origin (Adeena says that the name comes from the Tunisian word for “shaken up”), but it’s now popular throughout the Middle East.
These days, you can find a million shakshuka recipe variations. Some have a tomato base, and others are made with fresh greens. No matter what, they always feature eggs cooked in a thick sauce.
My recipe starts with a bold tomato and red pepper sauce that’s spiced with harissa, cumin, paprika, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Then, chopped fresh spinach joins the mix, adding gorgeous flecks of green. Finally, gently poached eggs nestle into the sauce. It’s rich, flavorful, and oh-so-good. Even though shakshuka is a traditional breakfast food, you could just as easily enjoy this recipe for a brunch or weeknight dinner.
Shakshuka Serving Suggestions
Luckily, this shakshuka recipe is a breeze to make! It only requires a handful of pantry ingredients, and you could even skip the spinach if you don’t have any on hand. This recipe still tastes great without it.
Delicious and easy to make, this shakshuka recipe would be an excellent choice for a holiday brunch (don’t forget the mimosas!) or breakfast, or even a weeknight dinner. To make it a truly show-stopping dish, top it with sliced avocado, crumbled feta, and fresh parsley leaves. Then, scoop it up with pita or slices of the best crusty bread you can find.
Shakshuka Recipe Tips
- Get the sauce nice and thick. You need a thick tomato sauce to support the eggs in this recipe, so don’t cut the simmering time short! I let mine cook for a full 15 minutes before I crack in the eggs.
- Make sure you have a large lidded skillet. You’ll need to be able to cover the pan in this recipe – it’s essential for poaching the eggs evenly and gently.
- Use however many eggs are appropriate for your pan. I list a range for the number of eggs in this recipe, and how many you use is really up to you. There should be a little space between each egg in the pan – they shouldn’t be crowded. In my 12-inch skillet, I can fit up to 5. But if I’m just making this recipe for Jack and me, I stick with 3 eggs. If we have any leftover sauce, I make a personal-sized shakshuka the next day!
- Adjust the timing depending on how you like your eggs. How long you cook your eggs will depend on how you like them. I love mine when the egg whites have just set and the yolks are perfectly runny, so I take them off the heat after 5 minutes. If you like firmer yolks, you can cook them for up to 8 minutes. Keep in mind that they’ll continue to cook in the hot sauce even after you take them off the stove.
More Favorite Brunch Recipes
If you love this shakshuka recipe, try one of these delicious brunch recipes next:
- How to Make a Frittata (5 ways!)
- Healthy Breakfast Casserole
- Austin-Style Migas
- Baked Oatmeal
- Banana Pancakes
- Easy French Toast
- Cinnamon Rolls
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons harissa paste*, see note
- 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
- 3 to 5 eggs
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1 avocado, diced
- Microgreens for garnish, optional
- Toasted bread, for serving
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a 12-inch lidded stainless steel or enamel-coated cast-iron skillet. Add the onion, red pepper, salt, and several grinds of fresh pepper and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, paprika, cumin, and cayenne, if using. Stir and let cook for about 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and harissa paste. Simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce is thickened.
- Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Make 3 to 5 wells in the sauce and crack in the eggs. Cover and cook until the eggs are set, 5 to 8 minutes. The timing will depend on how runny you like your egg yolks.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with the feta, parsley, avocado, and microgreens, if using. Serve with toasted bread for scooping.