Shakshuka is the ultimate comfort food that can be served for any meal—breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even as a snack. There are many versions—this one has bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and is made in the microwave, perfect for when you don’t have access to a stove top or don’t want to heat up the kitchen. It’s full of spices, like cumin, coriander, and a pinch of cinnamon. The smells remind us of being in a spice market or baking gingerbread, so warm and comforting!
The Origins of Shakshuka
Shakshuka originates from Tunisia, but is commonly made throughout the Middle East and North Africa, with regional spins on the spices and vegetables used. Onions, tomatoes, and peppers are a must and so are the eggs. Feel free to improvise and add your own spin to it. The spice combo is slightly citrusy with a big hit of warmth from the cinnamon, but the red sauce can take it. This version doesn’t have any heat, so spicy chiles or drizzle of zhoug would be a nice contrast to the sweetness in the tomatoes.
Keep an Eye on the Eggs
This recipe is the one where you have to keep an eye on the eggs. They can go from undercooked to overcooked in about 30 seconds. Two tips that may help:
- Try to land your egg yolks towards the center of the pie plate, away from the hot edges of the dish.
- When making the wells and adding your eggs, keep a spoon handy to help deepen the well as you add the egg. The sauce tends to refill the well you just created. You don’t want the eggs sitting flat on top of the sauce.
Use a Pie Plate Not a Deep Bowl
Make this microwave shakshuka in a pie plate (we used a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish microwave-safe glass pie plate). It has a larger surface area and will cook the tomato mixture and eggs more evenly. Also, it’s better to position the eggs toward the center of the pie plate so that the yolks don’t overcook before the whites set up.
For the Love of Shakshuka
- Shakshuka with Feta, Olives, and Peppers
- Vegetable Shakshuka with Pesto
- Adeena Sussman’s Shakshuka
Cook the vegetables:
Place the bell peppers, onions, and 1/4 cup water in a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish microwave-safe glass pie plate. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high until the vegetables are tender-crisp, about 8 minutes, stirring once halfway through and re-covering with plastic wrap.
Carefully hold the bell pepper mixture back with a spatula or slotted spoon and pour out water into the sink.
Add the tomatoes and seasonings:
Stir in the crushed tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, paprika, ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt to drained bell pepper mixture.
Cook the shakshuka:
Cover tightly with plastic wrap (you can reuse the same one or if you prefer, use a large plate) and use the tip of a paring knife to poke a small hole in the center of the plastic wrap to let steam escape.
Microwave on high until the sauce is bubbly and hot, about 8 minutes.
Cook the eggs:
Use the back of a large spoon to make 4 deep wells in the tomato mixture. Crack 1 egg into each well. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high until the egg whites are just set but the yolks remain runny, about 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
We developed and tested the recipe in a 1,000 and 1,250-watt microwave. You may need to cook the eggs for longer, in 30-minute intervals, depending on the power of your microwave. Look for visual cues: if whites look undercooked, keep cooking them until they are just set and yolks are runny.
Season the eggs with a pinch of salt and drizzle with additional olive oil. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
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