The first time I had shakshuka, I wasn’t exactly expecting to be bowled over. I figured—a cast iron skillet with tomato sauce, a handful of spices, and poached eggs—how exciting can it be? Turns out, it’s actually very exciting. But I should have known that. I should have known not to underestimate a good, simple meal, like shakshuka—especially when the maker of that meal is Top Chef alum and James Beard Award-winning Chef Hugh Acheson. I know—I have a lot to learn.
That shakshuka knocked my socks off. It was hearty and rich, a little sweet and savory, with just the right spice blend. It was memorable to say the least, in part because it was one of the first meals I shared with my amazing friend Lexi, blogger behind Lexi’s Clean Kitchen. We were in Atlanta, with Tuttorosso Tomatoes (and lucky enough to have a meal made by Chef Acheson), and I remember her telling me all about the cookbook she was writing. That was exactly a year ago, and just this week she released that cookbook—Lexi’s Clean Kitchen: 150 Delicious Paleo-Friendly Recipes to Nourish Your Life. I am so, so happy to see this beautiful, inspiring book in print!
Lexi has such passion for healthy living and you know it the minute you open her book. So many of us strive to eat more healthfully—to eat clean—but we don’t know where to start. It can be intimidating and overwhelming. Lexi breaks down clean eating in an approachable, achievable way. I admire how sensible she is, and how encouraging she is of even the smallest of positive changes.
Her easy shakshuka recipe is healthy, hearty, and full of Moroccan flavor. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s quick! The base of it is a chunky, gently spicy tomato-onion-pepper mixture, seasoned with chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and turmeric. Feel free to drop the cayenne down to just a pinch if you’d like less heat (though the heat is fairly mild as is), or up it if you like it nice and hot! To cook the eggs, you’ll create four small wells in the thick tomato sauce mixture and crack the eggs directly inside them. In a matter of minutes, the eggs will cook to a soft, poached texture, with opaque whites and slightly runny yolks—but cook them to your preference. You can also cover the skillet, too, for quick, even cooking.
*Good news: Tuttorosso just came out with a smaller size can (14.5-ounces) of their diced tomatoes! I’ve been telling them how much I wanted this size for a while—it’s perfect for those recipes that only require a cup or two of tomatoes—and I’m so happy to have it now!
Enjoy this rich skillet for breakfast or dinner and consider serving it with your favorite bread to sop up some of that delicious tomato sauce!
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion sliced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 small red bell pepper sliced
- 1 cup packed baby spinach
- 1 14 ½- ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper and cook until the mixture is fragrant and the onion and pepper have begun to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the spinach and saute until wilted, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, turmeric, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine.
- Create four small wells in the tomato sauce mixture and crack the eggs into the wells. Cook until the whites are opaque and the yolks reach your desired doneness. For quicker cooking, cover the skillet until the eggs are set, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle with the chopped parsley, red pepper flakes, and more freshly ground black pepper if desired, and serve immediately.