Shakshuka is a colorful, hearty, vegetable dish made with roasted peppers, stewed tomatoes, spices, and herbs. There are lots of tasty versions of shakshuka, but my preference will always be this traditional Shakshuka with Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers Recipe that I learned to make in North Africa!
BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER
I used to love seeing this red and green colored salad get carried out of kitchens at lunch time in Morocco. Spelled out as tchoutchouka in Morocco, shakshuka is one of the main go-to salad in North Africa that’s typically served at lunch time. It was a little surprising to see as a breakfast item in cafes in Boston a few years ago. I had moved there after living in Morocco and Tunisia.
Shakshuka with eggs sounded strange to me at first, but now love it and especially like how the eggs soak up the sauce when cooked in it! There’s nothing like scooping up the tomatoes, peppers and eggs with crusty bread and I now eat Shakshuka for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! It’s even an awesome picnic salad because it’s good hot, cold, or at room temperature!
Now that I’ve made an argument for the tastiness and versatility of shakshuka, I’ll tell you how I make my Shakshuka with Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers. I usually start with the tomatoes and peppers. The original North African version (and maybe the secret of this recipe) involves peeling the tomatoes and cooking and peeling the peppers prior to adding them to the rest of the ingredients. It adds a couple of steps but you end up with tasty, velvety peppers and silky stewed tomatoes!
COOKING THE PEPPERS
You can grill, fry or roast the peppers. You’re basically looking to cook the peppers at high heat. Typically, I do this in the oven, but love the extra smoky flavor that comes from grilling them. The extra bit of added oil the peppers absorb when they are fried is also tasty.
Cooking the peppers before adding them to the rest of the ingredients brings out more flavor and causes their skins to blister. This makes them easy to peel (once they’ve cooled enough to touch!) The peppers are cooked at this point, but they cook a bit more with the tomatoes later on so that their flavor gets added in with the rest of the ingredients!
PEELING THE TOMATOES
There are different ways to peel tomatoes. I carve a little x in the bottoms then drop them in boiling water for 20 seconds or until their skins start to peel.
Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl of ice water. The ice water stops the cooking and makes it easier for you to touch/peel them. The skin will come right off.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
Once you have the stars of the dish (the peppers and tomatoes) all prepped, it’s time to bring all the flavors together for this Shakshuka with Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers! First you’ll gently cook the tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper, and olive oil for a few minutes before adding the cumin and paprika. Next, you add your peppers and cook 10-15 more minutes. Finish by adding the parsley and cilantro!
There are other ingredients that I sometimes throw in as well. A bay leaf (fresh or dry) added to the tomatoes adds depth to the already hearty, flavorful vegetables. I also sometimes add a pinch of sugar just as I might do when making tomato sauce. It just depends on the sweetness/acidity of the tomatoes and is a personal preference.
Toss in some eggs for added protein. Adding eggs adds just one additional step. I usually make shakshuka for dinner, but if I have some leftover on a weekend morning, I warm it in a pan and use a wooden spoon to make little wells to drop the eggs in. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top and cook them just til they are set. You’ll love how the eggs soak up some of the veggies and flavors as they cook.
It’s amazing how a dish with tomatoes, peppers and herbs can taste so hearty and delicious! With or without eggs, this Shakshuka with Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers is a fresh, savory treat to have in your repertoire!
Hungry for more tomatoes and peppers? Give this Fresh Tomato, Pepper, and Onion Salad with Mint a try!
Shakshuka with Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers
- 2 green bell peppers or 1 green + 1 red
- 5 tomatoes peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
- 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
- 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley and cilantro
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Salt and pepper
- A bay leaf optional
- A pinch of sugar optional
- SHAKSHUKA WITH EGGS
- Eggs number according to number of people
- 1. Roast the bell peppers in a 400 ° F oven for 15-20 minutes. Flip them over and roast another 20 minutes. (Alternatively, you can grill or fry them until they skins start to blacken and blister). Once they are cooked and cooled enough to touch, peel, deseed and roughly chop them.
- 2. While the peppers are roasting, add the tomatoes to a skillet on low heat with the garlic, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Allow to cook five minutes then add the cumin and paprika. Cook five more minutes then add the bell pepper and cook 10-15 more minutes. Finish by adding the parsley and cilantro.
- SHAKSHUKA WITH EGGS
- 1. With the prepared shakshuka in a skillet, push a little bit of the sauce aside in the pan to make little spaces for the number of eggs you would like. You can also just crack the eggs over the shakshuka, but I like cooking them in these little “nests.” Crack the eggs right into those spots.
- 2. Simmer gently, covered, on low heat. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the eggs and cook until the eggs are set and cooked to your preference.