This is probably the most popular, most nourishing and most convenient to cook (even for the most unskilled) egg recipe I’ve ever encountered in my searches and travels. Originally a North-African dish, the shakshuka recipe spread to most of the Mediterranean countries and was adapted according to the local cooking traditions. I love this dish, especially in the summertime when I can cook it with fresh, very ripe tomatoes and hand-picked aromatic herbs, and serve it over hummus or with pita bread. But, it’s actually a delicious choice for a rich, nourishing Sunday brunch in any season.
I like the egg-tomato combination, not only because of the fantastic taste, but also because it is a very nourishing nutrient pairing. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, immune-booster, and cancer-inhibiting nutrient. Lycopene is part of the carotenoid family of antioxidants, and needs to be combined with a healthy fat to be properly assimilated by our body’s cells.
The anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids found in high concentration in egg yolks are among the best pairing for tomatoes to stimulate the absorption of lycopene (avocado and extra virgin olive oil being my other favorite healthy fats sources to pair them with).
Always search for pastured eggs from happy, free, and grass-fed hens, because these have a higher nutritional quality and value. Remember that organic doesn’t mean the hens have access to grass and fresh air, but most often means they are fed with organic grains, but live in cages.
Because I cook shakshuka quite often, I’m always searching for healthy variations. While the “Eggs in Purgatory” recipe from Heidi’s last book, Near and Far, was definitely this winter’s Sunday favorite, ever since spring popped in, I’ve felt like adding a dash of greens to my shakshuka.
The inspiration came (as it does so often!) from Ottolenghi, in the form of a green chili sauce called zhoug, originating from Yemen and made with fresh aromatic herbs, olive oil and spices. Its flavor is perfectly balanced and gives a fresh zing to the classic shakshuka.
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup purified water
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 4 free range eggs
- For Zhoug
- 1 small bunch mint, chopped
- 1 small bunch parsley, chopped
- 1 small bunch basil, chopped
- ½ tsp chili flakes
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch sea salt
- Heat the coconut oil into a cast-iron skillet, add the diced onion and fry until translucent.
- Add the diced tomatoes, purified water, vinegar, sugar, cumin powder and salt, mix to combine, bring to boil and let simmer over low heat until thickened.
- Prepare the zhoug meanwhile - place all the ingredients except oil into a food processor and pulse to form a chunky paste. Add the oil gradually and process to obtain a pesto-like consistence.
- Crack the eggs on top of the sauce and cover the skillet with a lid.
- Cook over low heat until the egg whites are set and the yolks are a bit cooked, but still runny.
- Remove the lid, drizzle with zhoug and serve warm as it is or with hummus.