Shakshuka is quite a star. Memorable, posing on the red carpet, wearing posh accessories and vivid colours, spreading exotic aromas and a sense of vibrant health.

How does this translate in the food world? It is just simple, humble poached eggs in tomato sauce.

I recall eating something like this a long time ago while visiting Tunisia, but then I wasn’t familiar with the name. I liked the combination but didn’t consider it spectacular.

It wasn’t until I realized it resembles a Romanian dish my mom makes, Spinach with Eggs, and combined the two recipes, that I became a fan of green Shakshuka. Since then, I have played with all sorts of veggies and spices, and none of them was disappointing. One of my favourites is the Mediterranean trio oregano, basil, and thyme.

When food is easy to make and versatile, I’m all in. The ingredients used traditionally are widely available in any kitchen: eggs, onions, garlic, tomatoes, oil and spices. Depending on whatever you have in the fridge and your favourite seasonings, you can make infinite variations. 

The classic recipe alone is an excellent source of high-quality protein from the eggs, as well as lycopene, a powerful antioxidant present in tomatoes, which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Make Shakshuka on a bed of assorted veggies, like this green version here, and it will dramatically boost its nutrient profile, adding even more minerals and vitamins (e.g. manganese, calcium, vitamins A and K).

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients:

4 eggs
1 small can of tomatoes (14 oz / 400 g), diced or pureed
2 tbsp sweet pepper paste (optional)
1/3 cup onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
0.5 lb (220 g) yellow zucchini, diced
2 cups kale leaves, tightly packed
1/2 cup kale stems, cut into 0.5” pieces
1 tbsp oregano, dried
1 tsp basil, dried
0.5 tsp thyme, dried
Spices: salt and black pepper, season to taste
Pinch of Cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 lemon (optional)

Directions:

1. In a medium-size skillet, heat the oil over medium heat; sauté the onions for 3-4 minutes, add the garlic and stir one more minute. 

2. Add the tomatoes, pepper paste (if using), zucchini and kale stems, bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes; if too thick, add about 1/4 cup water, then add the kale leaves and toss them to wilt for 1 minute.

 

3. Incorporate all the herbs and season to taste with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (optional). Mix well.

4. Create four little wells into the veggie mix and slowly let one egg at a time slide into each well.

5. Cover the skillet and cook at low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes for a runny yolk, which is the traditional way to serve Shakshuka. If you prefer the yolk to settle, let it cook for another 1-2 minutes.

6. Enjoy warm, and if you like some more acidity, squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top.

Tasty and filling, Shakshuka is an excellent meal at any time of the day, plus it can meet the demands of any picky eater.

Tip: replace kale with Swiss chard, collard greens or spinach. A friendly reminder to reduce waste in the kitchen: use the stems, which have all the goodness in the leaves plus extra fibre.

You simply cannot go wrong with this recipe. Just let your creativity come through and enjoy the explosion of taste and colour!

Source of: Antioxidants (lycopene, quercitin, kaempferol), prebiotics, protein.

 Supports: Gut, heart and  bone health.

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