Shakshuka is a traditional dish originating from North Africa and the Middle East, consisting of a spicy fresh-made tomato sauce and eggs which are cooked first in a skillet on the stovetop, then transferred to the oven. For ultimate flavor, sometimes the eggs are garnished with herbs, and soft cheese can be sprinkled in as well.
The version of Shakshuka you’ll see here diverges from the usual cooking method, since I didn’t bother with cooking the eggs over a stovetop first: they went straight into the oven and baked up beautifully in ramekins. While this may disqualify the recipe from being “authentic,” it is still yummy!
My motto is: when in doubt, make your own food. I try to make my own food whenever possible, to have complete control over and knowledge of what goes into my food, as well as to gather recipes to blog about and just because I find the process of cooking and baking enjoyable. However, it can be impossible to find the time in my busy schedule nowadays to cook my own dinners, so sometimes I find myself resorting to convenience food, like the highly overpriced prepared salads at the grocery store, or the frozen dinners that can contain a bazillion ingredients I’d rather not put into my body. What is the solution to the time vs. DIY dilemma? I say compromise.
This is a healthy, homemade recipe that only uses 3 ingredients and can take half an hour or less to make. I whipped it up at home while in the midst of studying for finals. The original recipe, found on the New York Times website, included a homemade vegetable sauce that would take at least an additional 20 active minutes to make, plus required a host of ingredients I didn’t have the time to shop for. So I made the baked eggs, but used a store-bought tomato sauce. Less healthy? Certainly a little. More boring? Possibly. But these are the sacrifices we have to make sometimes in order to maintain busy lives. And I would argue that a store-bought tomato sauce could be found that is just as healthy as one you’d make yourself at home – try searching through the organic section for one with a lot of vitamin A and C and maybe some fiber. And this alternative is less pricey that buying a ton of fresh ingredients to make your own sauce, definitely a plus for those on a budget who still want all the health benefits that can be reaped from cooked vegetables.
This recipe is simple, using ingredients you probably already have on hand. It is also healthy, with good protein and calcium from the whole eggs and feta cheese crumbles, and 2 servings of veggies in each 1/2 cup portion of tomato sauce. If you need fast, cheap and convenient, this is a great recipe for you. Serve atop whole wheat pita bread for a satisfying, balanced meal at any time of the day.
The ingredients listed here are portioned for 2 servings, but feel free to cut down or multiply up depending on how many people you’re feeding.
Shakshuka-Style Baked Egg Ramekins
based on recipe from nytimes.com
makes 2 ramekins
- 1 cup tomato sauce of choice (I used Ragu brand)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (I used Lucerne brand reduced fat)
- 2 eggs
Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
Divide tomato sauce among ramekins.
Sprinkle feta cheese on top of tomato sauce.
Crack one egg into each ramekin, on top of tomato sauce and cheese.
Place ramekins on a cookie sheet in case of spillage.
Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until eggs are just set.
Enjoy on top of pita bread for maximum Middle-Eastern flavor!
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