Lagniappe: Shakshuka for Mother’s Day

“I’m probably just as good a mother as the next repressed, obsessive-compulsive paranoiac” (from Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott).

Two days ago we announced the Raggedy Awards – our favorite blogs and recipes from the last year.  Well, this is my current favorite recipe, hands down.  I’ll have it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or a light dinner.  And I’d like it for Mother’s Day, Andy – and thanks for your role in my celebrating Mother’s Day.

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Shakshuka, according to one of my favorite cookbook authors, Yotam Ottolenghi, probably originated in Tunisia but is also popular all over Israel.  I love the harissa paste and the red pepper in this version, but there are lots of ways you can vary the recipe, according to your taste.  Ottolenghi says that potatoes and eggplant can be used, but I haven’t tried that yet.


Double the recipe for serving 6-8.  When we make this recipe for just the two of us, we use 2 eggs, dish up about only about half of the sauce when serving and then a few days later reheat the leftover – and refrigerated – sauce, add 2 eggs, cook 7 minutes, and we’ve got another quick and easy meal.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp harissa paste (optional – but adds great flavor.  Sriracha is a good substitute)
  • 1 tsp tomato paste (optional)
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes (about 1 1/2 c)
  • 1 c spinach, chopped (optional); you can also use baby arugula
  • 2-4 eggs
  • pinch of additional salt and pepper for the eggs
  • 1/4 c Greek yogurt – for topping (optional)
  • Toasted rustic bread to sop up the yummy sauce and egg yolks

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the onion, harissa, tomato paste, bell pepper, garlic, cumin, paprika, and salt. Stir and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes to allow the peppers and onion to soften. Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes longer – until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend.  Then add the chopped spinach, stir well, and cook and stir until the spinach is wilted – just a few minutes.  Taste for seasoning.

Make 4 little indentations in the sauce. Gently break the eggs into the indentations.  Sprinkle the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover the pan and simmer gently for about 7-9 minutes – or until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Remove from the heat, let sit for a couple of minutes and then spoon into individual bowls and serve with the yogurt and the toast.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.


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