I first sampled shakshouka during my travels in Israel.   Widely popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean regions, it hails from Tunisia in North Africa.  The word “shakshouka” is Arabic for ”all mixed up.”

Shakshouka in its most basic form is a toothsome dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce.  You may be familiar with the Mexican version known as huevos rancheros, or the Italian rendition of eggs in purgatory.  There’s just something about the combination of eggs poached in a piquant tomato sauce that has universal appeal.

I like to keep my shakshouka relatively simple with a spiced tomato and red pepper sauce.  Variations of this recipe include other ingredients such as olives, eggplant, potatoes, kale, spinach, chard, feta cheese, artichoke hearts and potatoes, just to name a few.

Shakshouka is vegetarian, easy to make, healthy and inexpensive, with readily available ingredients.  It can be served for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.  Make sure to have some pita, naan , or other rustic bread to sop up the savory sauce.  Enjoy!


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups tomato sauce (your favorite—homemade or store bought)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 6 to 8 eggs
  • parsley, freshly torn from sprigs
  • 2 scallions, sliced

Heat the olive oil in a large 10 or 12 inch skillet.  Place onion, peppers and garlic into the heated oil and sauté for about 10 to 15 minutes until softened.  While sautéing, sprinkle with the spices: paprika, cumin, nutmeg and salt –mix together well and cook along with the onions and peppers.  Add the tomato sauce , sugar and the red pepper flakes and cook over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced a bit and thickened.

Gently crack open the eggs over the tomato sauce—as many as will fit in the pan with some sauce still showing through.  Cover the skillet and cook the eggs until the whites look cooked through but the yolks are still runny—about 6 to 8 minutes.  Garnish with parsley and scallions and serve immediately with some pita or other bread great for sopping up all the special flavors in the sauce.