The idea of pairing shakshuka with feta cheese may not be especially groundbreaking, but the way I make it will either impress you or horrify you, depending on how much of a shakshuka purist you are. But even the purists among you won’t be disappointed once you take a bite. I promise it is worth relaxing your definition of shakshuka for this hearty, healthy, and satisfying one-pan dish!
What is Shakshuka?
Simply put, shakshuka is a middle eastern dish consisting of stewed spicy tomato sauce topped with poached eggs, which probably originated as one of those desperation meals (..as in “we have no food except a few roma tomatoes, a red pepper, and some large eggs! How can we make this into a meal?”, also known as the best kind of food). It’s commonly associated with cuisine from Israel, but is also found elsewhere in the middle east and north Africa.
There is no hard and fast “right” way to make shakshuka, but there are a few ingredients and methods that all recipes seem to have in common:
- olive oil
- red bell pepper
- garlic cloves
- spices like black pepper, sweet paprika, cayenne or red pepper flakes, and (sometimes) ground cumin
After cooking it all together in a large skillet, you crack eggs on top, let them cook for a few minutes, and sprinkle your shakshuka with feta, parsley, and maybe a little hot sauce before serving.
Why mess with the classic method for making shakshuka with feta?
Vegetables. That’s why.
After a winter of constant illness, in retrospect, a much lower consumption of vegetables than normal (hmm, I can’t imagine those two things are related – can you!?) I’ve been trying to sneak 1-2 vegetables into every meal. Yes, even breakfast. (Don’t knock it ’till you try it!).
The result is this shameless bastardization of a classic recipe – which is actually (dare I say?) an improvement. Really!
My biggest gripe with some shakshuka recipes is the lack of texture. It should never be mistaken for marinara sauce topped with poached eggs, but at the same time, I hate chopping and cooking down a ton of roma tomatoes.
So how do you use crushed tomatoes but also get plenty of texture in your shakshuka? You guess it: veggies. I started by adding chopped frozen spinach (which I tend to add to everything) but it still didn’t have that toothsome-ness that I was craving. I wanted something that was both tender, but also required chewing, and artichoke hearts ticked all the texture, flavor, and cuisine-matching boxes.
Make it easy on yourself
My version of shakshuka is very intentionally devised to be as low-stress as possible. Do not be afraid to use:
- Jarred minced garlic
- Whatever onions you have around
- Canned crushed tomatoes
- Canned artichoke hearts
- Frozen chopped spinach
Whatever you need to do to adjust this to your preference and get it on the table – do it!
The idea of pairing shakshuka with feta cheese may not be especially groundbreaking, but the way I make it will either impress you or horrify you, depending on how much of a shakshuka purist you are. But even the purists among you won't be disappointed once you take a bite. I promise it is worth relaxing your definition of shakshuka for this hearty, healthy, and satisfying one-pan dish!
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup chopped artichoke hearts
- 1 cup chopped, cooked spinach (approximately 1/2 cup)
- 1 large red bell pepper, stem and membrane discarded, finely chopped
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Heaping 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 5-6 large eggs
- 2-4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
- Gluten free or grain free pita bread, for serving (optional)
Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet (or other type of heavy pan).
Sweat the garlic and onion over medium heat, until softened and translucent.
Add the artichoke hearts, spinach, and red pepper to the pan. Saute briefly, then add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and chili powder.
Cover and cook until the red pepper is tender. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.
Press the back of a tablespoon into the tomato mixture to create 5-6 little wells. Crack eggs into the wells (one into each), then re-cover the pan and cook just until the egg whites are firm.
Uncover, remove pan from heat, and sprinkle crumbled feta cheese and chopped parsley over the top.
Serve immediately with flatbread or pita cut into wedges.
- Your artichoke hearts should be cooked before you add them to the pan. Don't hesitate to use the kind in a can or jar, but make sure you've thoroughly drained and rinsed them before adding them to the pan.
- If using frozen spinach, defrost and thoroughly drain it before adding to the pan.
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes is equivalent to one large can. Double check to ensure your tomatoes do not contain added salt, herbs, flavors, or other additives.
- Some sources claim that cayenne is the more "authentic" spice to use in shakshuka, so feel free to use it in place of chili powder, if you feel strongly!
- Make this dish Whole30 compliant by omitting the cheese and the flatbread.
Note: nutrition information does not include flatbreads.