Shakshuka (Eggs in Tomato Sauce) is an easy and healthy Israeli-inspired breakfast–it’s a delicious vegetarian and Paleo-friendly recipe spiked with green Swiss Chard Pesto and flavorful spices, like harissa, topped with feta, olives, and capers. The perfect breakfast for two (or one, with leftovers!)
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Earlier this year, Matt and I jetsetted off to Europe for a belated anniversary celebration. We try to get our of our comfort zone and the country every year on our anniversary, and this past trip took us to Amsterdam, London and Paris.
There were so many memorable and life-changing experiences–as is always the case when you submerge yourself in a new culture–but one of my favorite memories from the trip was of a casual breakfast we shared in London.
I’ve long been obsessed with Yotam Ottolenghi, an Israeli-British chef who wrote two of the most gorgeous and delicious cookbooks I’ve ever seen (Plenty and Jerusalem). So when I heard that the former pastry chef for Ottolenghi and executive head chef for Nopi (Ottolenghi’s other restaurant) was now manning the stove at an intimate Middle Eastern restaurant called Honey & Co. I knew we had to go!
So when I heard that the former pastry chef for Ottolenghi and executive head chef for Nopi (Ottolenghi’s other restaurant) was now manning the stove at an intimate Middle Eastern restaurant called Honey & Co., I knew we had to go!
Not only was I an Ottolenghi disciple, but after traveling to Istanbul a few years prior, I had completely fallen in love with any and all food that combined fresh produce with fragrant and flavor-packed spices, also known as Levantine cuisine. It’s sort of Mediterranean-meets-Middle-Eastern and it’s so stinkin’ delicious!
Getting to the point…man do I know how to make a short story long…we sat down at Honey & Co. and ordered their most popular breakfast dish, shakshuka. And my world was FOREVER CHANGED.
what is shakshuka?
I’m so glad you asked! Put simply, shakshuka is a dish of eggs cooked in a cumin-spiked tomato sauce with peppers and onions. And it’s quite possibly the most delicious breakfast you’ll ever eat.
Cultures around the world know the virtues of shakshuka–it’s eaten in Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Israel, Turkey and is now popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa. One bite and you’ll understand.
You’ve got tangy tomato sauce, some heat from chiles and other flavor-packed spices and then creamy eggs that make the dish taste so decadent. And yet, it’s still insanely healthy.
Think about it–everything is fresh, nutrient-dense produce with anti-inflammatory spices and protein-rich eggs. It’s vegetarian, it’s Paleo, it’s gluten-free and you need to make it RIGHT. THIS. SECOND.
Now of course, I had to put my own special twist on this shakshuka. So I started with playing around with the spices and adding some of my favorites from Levantine cuisine–spicy harissa, bright cumin, warming cinnamon and sweet paprika.
And then I had fun with the toppings. I like playing up the tang from the tomatoes with other Mediterranean garnishes, like capers, olives and feta cheese. Of course, if you add cheese, it’s no longer Paleo, but unless you’re lactose-intolerant, I think the feta is such a delicious addition.
Plus feta cheese is made with sheep’s milk, which is often much easier for people to digest than cow’s milk. But if you want to skip the cheese, no problem. I promise your mind will still be blown away by all the flavors in this shakshuka!
And finally, to guild the lilly, I drizzled the whole thing with swiss chard pesto to make this a green shakshuka bursting with nutrition.
how to make swiss chard pesto
By now, you know I’m addicted to magical green sauces.
Mexican salsa verde is a staple in my kitchen–I use it to make the most delicious chicken soup, and even as a simple salsa for dipping chips–and Italian salsa verde, which is fantastic with fish and chicken, pairs perfectly with steak or prawns, and slathered on roasted vegetables.
And don’t even get me started on pesto. Oh, how I love thee. Pesto is the perfect dressing for roasted veggies, the ideal sauce for gluten-free pasta, the best way to spice up a classic corn and tomato salad.
And now, pesto is the perfect complement to shakshuka. And just like all those other green sauces, this swiss chard pesto couldn’t be easier to make.
Dump everything into a food processor. Blend. You’re done. Seriously.
Health Benefits of Swiss Chard
So why swiss chard? Well, first of all, it’s in season right now and part of the Root + Revel way is to cook as seasonally as possible.
Plus, swiss chard has such a delicious earthy, slightly bitter flavor that’s a bit more intense than spinach, but way less vegetal than kale.
You can use any kind of swiss chard variety in this recipe, including red chard, rainbow chard (my personal fave) or just plain swiss chard.
Regardless of what you choose, your taste buds and waistline will thank you!
Not only is swiss chard low in calories and high in protein and fiber, but it’s also one of the highest nutrient-dense greens, bursting with a wide range of antioxidants which are powerful at fighting free radical damage (AKA it slows the aging process), inflammation, and disease development, including cancer prevention and a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes. (source)
Swiss chard is full of Vitamin A (skin, eye and brain health), Vitamin K (bone and digestive health) and Vitamin C (immunity boost). So get your chard on!
I usually buy my swiss chard at Sprouts Farmers Market, which specializes in healthy, natural and organic food at affordable prices!
I mean, just look at that shakshuka. Have you ever seen a more beautiful and exciting breakfast?!
It’s the perfect weekend breakfast for two (or shakshuka for one if you want leftovers–just hold off on adding the eggs until you’re ready to eat, but the sauce saves wonderfully!), or even breakfast-for-dinner, which may just be one of my favorite meals.
And because of all the fun additions we added to this recipe, you’ll get plenty of extra nutrition.
One serving has 130% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C, 127% of the DRV of Vitamin K, plus a big dose of calcium, Vitamin B6, iron and potassium.
I recommend serving it with lavash bread or pita–there are some great gluten-free brands out there if you need.
If you try this recipe, be sure to share a photo and tag me @rootandrevel on social media–I’d LOVE to see how it turned out for you!
Shakshuka with Swiss Chard Pesto
This delicious baked eggs recipe is a flavorful twist on classic Shakshuka—it’s spiked with a swiss chard pesto that perfectly compliments the harissa tomato sauce and creamy eggs.
- 1 bunch organic swiss chard, stems removed
- 1 bunch organic cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic , plus 2 additional cloves (minced)
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 cup organic extra-virgin olive oil , plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 1 organic red bell pepper, diced
- 1 28-ounce can organic crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon organic harissa
- 1 teaspoon organic ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon organic paprika
- 1 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon
- salt and pepper , to taste
- 8 organic, pasture-raised eggs
- Optional garnish: feta cheese, kalamata olives, wild capers
- Serve with lavash bread or pita
In a food processor, combine the swiss chard, cilantro, 2 cloves garlic, lime juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pulse to combine until smooth pesto consistency is reached. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, sauté shallot and bell pepper in olive oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and season with harissa, cumin, paprika and cinnamon; salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Carefully crack the eggs into the tomato sauce, using a spoon to create a small hole for the egg to fit into. Cover and cook until eggs are just set, about 5 minutes. You can also fry or poach the eggs in a separate pan, if you’d prefer (it tends to make for a prettier presentation, though the taste is the same).
- Remove the cast-iron skillet from the heat and garnish with 1/2 cup of feta cheese crumbles, 1/4 cup of sliced kalamata olives and a few tablespoons of wild capers. Serve with lavash bread and pita. Enjoy!
--You may need to cook the eggs in batches depending on the size of your cast iron skillet. You can generally fit 4 eggs in at a time for a standard pan.
--You'll have plenty of leftover pesto, so reserve in the fridge for a later use. It goes great with eggs, grilled meats, drizzled on veggies and potatoes, etc.
**Note: The nutrition panel does not include garnishes or lavash.
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
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