This authentic Moroccan Shakshuka Recipe features a diverse blend of North African spices, year-round vegetables, and 8 eggs for an abundance of protein. It’s filling and absolutely full of flavor for a robust, spicy breakfast unlike any other.
There’s nothing quite like eggs for breakfast — that seems to be a global truth. One of the most popular ways to enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the Middle East and North Africa is with shakshuka — a savory, saucy collection of vegetables with poached eggs. You may also know this as “eggs in purgatory” and either way you name this it is delicious!
It’s filling, satisfying, and healthy. Between the peppers, onions, and eggs, you’ll have more than enough energy to start your day. The Moroccan spices are warm and savory, with a hint of heat and an earthy aroma. Other vegetables, greens, and cheese can be added to suit the tastes of you, your family, and whoever else is seated at the table.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Saffron – A very delicate spice. See the section below for more guidance.
- Eggs – We’re using more yolks than whites. Save the extra whites for other recipes, like a light cheesecake.
- Harissa Paste – This is a hot, bold, and tangy chili paste. Regular chili paste will do as a substitute, or you could use your preferred hot sauce — though it will be thinner.
- Tomato Paste – Anyone with a low heat tolerance can use entirely tomato paste.
- Ras el Hanout – A North African spice blend of warm, earthy heat and subtle floral sweetness.
- Red, Yellow, & Orange Bell Peppers – Red peppers are juicier and full of flavor, so I recommend using mostly those. However, you can really use any ratio that you like.
- Yellow Onion – Texture is a large part of this shakshuka recipe, so choose an onion you like best: red onions for crispness, shallots for flavor but little texture, and so on.
- Minced Garlic – I recommend using fresh garlic in any shakshuka recipe. There are several strong flavors here, and powdered garlic is much more subtle.
- Chopped Tomatoes – A 28oz can of fire roasted, or regular diced, tomatoes is a fine substitute. Just be sure to drain the liquid.
- Ground Cumin – The closest substitute you’ll find is ground coriander.
A NOTE ON SAFFRON
This is an interesting technique that I learned from Unicorns in the Kitchen.
Saffron is extremely delicate, and it doesn’t bloom properly in hot water. So, instead, place an ice cube in a small bowl. Place the saffron on top, and set it aside until the ice melts and the saffron blooms.
This adds an extra 20 minutes or so to the process. If this isn’t doable, you can just add the saffron to warm, not hot, water to soak. Usually I just grind the saffron threads and add to warm water. it’s up to you, I ‘m here to give you options!
HOW TO MAKE THIS SHAKSHUKA RECIPE
- Bloom the Saffron. Allow the saffron to bloom in warm water before preparing this recipe – or see notes above for more information on blooming it on an ice cube.
- Sweat the Seasonings and Vegetables. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the tomato and harissa pastes. Sprinkle the ras el hanout and cumin over top, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Follow with the chopped onion, peppers, garlic, and salt. Stir fry for 8 minutes until the onions become translucent.
- Add the Tomatoes & Saffron. Add the tomatoes, along with the liquid, into the skillet with the saffron. Stir everything together, then let it simmer uncovered for 10 minutes while the sauce thickens. Salt to taste.
- Add the Eggs. Use a spoon or spatula to create 8 dips, or holes, in the sauce. Crack 4 eggs into 4 of the dips, and just egg yolks into the other 4. Sprinkle the cilantro and parsley over the whole skillet and cover. Simmer for another 10 minutes until the eggs set.
- Portion & Serve. Very carefully scoop two eggs, along with the surrounding tomato sauce, into each bowl. Serve with an optional topping of feta and extra herbs, pita or crusty bread, and a labneh spread.
What country is shakshuka from?
Though I call this dish Moroccan shakshuka, it isn’t quite so clear-cut.
The origin of this dish is overall North African and dates back to Ottoman North Africa during the 16th century. Among the countries claiming ownership of the original shakshuka recipe are Yemen, Turkey, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia. Morocco is, of course, one of them.
What is shakshuka sauce made of?
It is a tomato-based sauce that varies in acidity, saltiness, and sweetness from region to region. In this shakshuka recipe, we use a spicy harissa sauce along with simmered peppers, onions, cumin, and Moroccan ras el hout.
Other varieties include lemons, yogurts, ground meats, and even potatoes. Take this to mean that you can add whatever you like to your own Moroccan shakshuka recipe! It could even include avocado, extra cheeses, and more greens.
What do you eat with shakshuka?
Bread of any kind accompanies this dish well — it’s the best way to get the most out of the tomato sauce and vegetables. Like any breakfast, you can’t go wrong with toast!
- 1/2 tsp saffron threads
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp harissa paste
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ras el hanout
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 2 large red bell pepper 3/4 inch strips
- 1 large yellow/orange bell pepper 3/4 inch strips
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5 large tomatoes chopped (See Note 1)
- 8 large eggs 4 whole, 4 yolks only – save whites for other use
- 2 tbsp cilantro chopped
- 2 tbsp parsley chopped
- In a small bowl add an ice cube and sprinkle the crushed saffron on top. Allow ice cube to melt and set aside as saffron blooms (See Note 3).
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the harissa and tomato pastes, cumin, ras el hanout and cook for 1 minute. Add the onion, bell peppers, garlic and salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are tender and turning translucent, about 8 minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes with their juices and the saffron/water. Stir, and turn heat to simmer and cook uncovered for 10 minutes until sauce has thickened. Season with more salt if necessary.
- Use the back of a spoon and make 8 dips in the sauce. Crack 4 whole eggs into every other dip and add a yolk to the other 4 open dips in the sauce. Sprinkle with half of the chopped cilantro/parsley mix and cover with lid. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until the eggs are just set.
- Remove lid and carefully scoop 2 eggs each with tomato mixture into bowls.
- Optional Toppings: feta cheese crumbles, remaining cilantro/parsley mix and labneh smeared on crusty bread or pita on the side.
- You can substitute 5 cups/800 g canned for the fresh tomatoes, so a 28 oz can of fire roasted or regular diced and or crushed is fine.
- You may substitute any thick Greek yogurt, or softened cream cheese for the labneh. Feta cheese crumbles are another wonderful cheese to sprinkle on top as well.
- A trick I thought to share this technique from Unicorns in the Kitchen. Often times too hot a water is used to bloom the saffron, in turn burning the delicate saffron threads. This does take about 20 minutes or just grind the saffron and use a warm water, not at a hot temperature to soak.
- Recipe adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.