Shakshuka (Poached Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce)

This recipe comes from our second book, Breakfast for Dinner. Sometimes I forget about the recipes in that book and how much we love them; we need to be better about revisiting them more often. Taylor especially loves this dish, and that’s no surprise, seeing as how it’s satisfying and hearty and chock full of peppers and onion and everything else he loves.

Shakshouka (or shakshuka) loosely translates to “all mixed up” in Arabic, and hints at the potent spice and exotic flavors. This one-pot-wonder of a dish also goes by the name “eggs in purgatory”. I don’t know who came up with such an obvious misnomer, but I seriously question their judgement: anyone with tastebuds will know that this richly spiced tomato sauce is hardly purgatory. In fact I’d argue that it’s nothing short of heavenly. Which is why I think shakshouka is a far more apt name, in my opinion.

Shakshuka (Poached Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce)

Perhaps it’s the same ‘they’ that decided eggs were breakfast, and tomato sauce was dinner, defining a set of arbitrary boundaries that still define our meals to this day. I cry foul. Perhaps this anonymous ‘they’ needs to step out of their comfort zone a bit, get out and see the world. A bit of worldly perspective will do wonders for the soul; they may even change their tune entirely.

Meanwhile, ‘we’ will cook up our eggs in a pot of simmering spicy tomato sauce and eat it for dinner. Or for breakfast. Or any time in between. Because ‘we’ won’t be defined by such pettiness as breakfast and dinner stereotypes.

Shakshuka (Poached Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce)

We like to serve this with warm pita bread, perfect for sopping up oozing egg yolk and leftover sauce. Crusty bread would be perfectly suitable as well. And while our version takes on a distinct middle-Eastern flavor, you could just as easily shift it towards the Italian coastline (think a more traditional and less spicy marinara sauce, maybe with parmesan cheese instead of feta). That you’d call Uova al Pomodoro.

Indeed, this dish not only blurs the traditional mealtime boundaries between breakfast and dinner and beyond, it also spans cultures. Dare I say a recipe like this could bring about world peace? It sure seems that way.

Shakshuka (Poached Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce)

Shakshouka (Poached Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce)

Yield: 3-4 servings

Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 anaheim peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeño or habanero pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 to 8 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese


  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and peppers and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, vegetable broth, cumin, paprika, oregano, and salt and pepper; simmer for 20 to 22 minutes or until thickened.
  2. Crack eggs evenly on top of sauce; cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until whites are set and yolks are thick but runny (if you like firmer yolks, cook for 1 to 2 minutes more). Sprinkle with parsley and feta cheese and serve with warm pita bread.

From our book, Breakfast for Dinner.

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24 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. Looks great, I’m going to try this asap. Also a nice thing to do when you have leftovers at home. Thanks for the cooking inspiration!

  2. Officially excited to try your version of one of my favourite dishes.

  3. We LOVE shakshouka in my house!  There is a great Mediterranean restaurant near our house that makes this with merguez and chickpeas in the sauce, and I often do my best imitation of it for dinner at home.

  4. I love Eggs in Purgatory but this has more spice than the version I have made so I will definitely have to try it as I love anything with lots of spices.  I like that the eggs kind of become little raviolis in the sauce and its such a good flavor combo…especially on a piece of toast – yum!  Will definitely try this Shakshouka for dinner soon!

  5. Can’t wait to try this


  6. Mmmm, this looks delicious. Oh and the part about warm pita bread and the egg yolk, I want that now. 

  7. Lindsay this is one of my all-time favorite meals to make. The first time I had it I fell in love and we eat this often for dinner as well. Your photos are beautiful as always and love your version of this classic.

  8. My friend made this dish recently – I didn’t know what it was called – and it was REALLY good. I am inspired to try it myself now, and use your version (because I love you haha!). It’s healthy too, I’m so excited!!

  9. When I saw the title of this post, I instantly remembered that it came from your cookbook because I almost made it many times, never have, but I love tomatoes and peppers and drippy eggs just speak for themselves! I never make recipes from my cookbooks either and it’s a shame considering how we slaved over those recipes, we should make them! Good reminder :)

  10. This looks incredible!


  11. I’ve always wanted to try this way of cooking eggs, I think it looks like it would be perfect with some chunky bread on a Saturday morning when perhaps there might be a hangover to cure! I can’t wait to try the recipe :)

    Issie x

  12. It looks so delicious. I love all the food from eggs. 

  13. Looks so good! Is it possible to make a non-spicy version? I’m a wimp :P

    Ali :)

    • Sure, you could definitely leave out the jalapeno if you like. The anaheim peppers are very mild, they just add flavor to the sauce without much spice at all. Poblano would be another mild pepper you could use as well.

  14. What a cool recipe very different! But sounds yummy!

  15. Shakshouka always looks so impressive, and I have yet to try it! Yours looks absolutely incredible.

  16. While this recipe looks delicious, it doesn’t look anything like what you’d get if you have it in a Mediterranean country, especially Tunisia where it originally comes from. I take it from the comments that it’s a common recipe for Shakshouka in the US, so I guess it’s been adapted?
    I honestly think I’ll try it and my family will love it, but I won’t name it Shakshouka, as I don’t want to get slapped by spoons. We are Tunisan-Italian-French, and we know the real thing, we cook it on a daily basis… Looks like something Greek and yummy!

  17. Never heard of shakshuka until my trip to Israel and I was hooked.  After having it at a great Israeli restaurant near me, Hummus Elite in Englewood, NJ, I finally made it myself recently.  I sauteed several onions, a lot of garlic, a lot of mushrooms, an eggplant that had been cubed and roasted, chili powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, 1/8 teaspoon salt, a little zahtar, large can of organic chopped tomatoes.  When it was pretty cooked, I made little “wells” and had room for 6 eggs.  I covered it and cooked until eggs were hard-boiled, my favorite.  Each slice with an egg was a great little meal.    Will be making this again and again!

  18. Honestly one of the easiest best meals I have ever made with no meat. I made it twice so far. I add a can of chick peas – and instead of the odd peppers I add my canned tomatoes with jalapenos . The warm pita I do with olive oil and parm. cheese. Amazing!

  19. My husband loves egg tomato sauce so, I am going to make this yummy sauce for him and I am sure he loves it.

  20. I recently returned from my first trip to Israel and remember seeing this among a very diverse and vast buffet, but didn’t get to it with my stomach…although my eyes devoured everything. I love all the ingredients (especially tomatoes) and am definitely going to make this as soon as possible.

  21. I made a knockoff version and liked it. One day when I have the time I am definitely going to try the original.

  22. Hi
    I have nothing in the pantry except for tomatoes and some eggs. I never even heard of this recipe but my eggs are happily cooking ontop of my sauce as I write…I live in UAE so this will be a nice surprise dish formy Arabic friends.! Thanks

  23. Delish. Just like Yaya and nana made.

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