Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a wonderful, savory and filling dish to serve for brunch, lunch or dinner. It goes great with a side of bread, couscous or a Mediterranean-style salad. This dish originates from North Africa and the Middle East and is very common in Israel. 

It can be adapted to include what you have on hand, making it a great end of the week, clean-out-the-fridge dish. Vegetables such as summer squash, eggplant, broccoli or carrots can easily be added to cook down with the sauce and make it your own. If you buy a bunch of parsley for another dish, this is a great way to use up the rest of it. Shakshuka is a great way to use up bumper crops of your fresh garden produce.

Give this a try for your next brunch for something new and different. It’s so satisfying! 

Shakshuka

Yields 4 cups sauce plus an egg (Serves 4)

Ingredients

 

  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups fresh tomatoes or 32 ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes
  • 4-6 eggs (based on your preference)
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout (substitute cumin if you don’t have this spice blend)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (more if you like it spicier)
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (start with 1 teaspoon salt)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (for garnish and added flavor)

 

Optional

 

  • Zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, hot peppers, carrots, broccoli and green beans are all possible additions to this dish and a great way to minimize food waste by using up odds and ends of leftover vegetables. 

 

Shakshuka ingredients

Directions

Thinly slice the onions and mince the garlic. Heat a medium cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once heated add oil and then place sliced onions in hot oil. Sauté for 8 -10 minutes until translucent and beginning to slightly caramelize. While onion is cooking, dice the eggplant and any other vegetables you’re using into a medium dice, about 1/2 inch cubes. There is no need to peel the eggplant. 

Add garlic, eggplant and any other vegetables to sauté with the onions for 5 minutes to slightly brown the vegetables. You can add some minced jalapeño or Serrano at this time if you like extra spice.

Add tomatoes. If using whole tomatoes, crush them in a bowl before adding to the skillet. Or you can do what I did and squeeze them with your hands as you add them to the skillet. Add the spices and sugar to the pan and stir to combine well. Let simmer over medium low for 10 minutes. Carefully taste and adjust salt to your preference.

While simmering you can rough chop the parsley leaves to have them ready. Keep the stems to either add to a pesto, chimichurri sauce or freeze them with your other vegetable scraps to make a simple, homemade broth. 

After 10 minutes, gently crack the eggs onto the shakshuka while it’s still cooking. Let cook for another 10 minutes, or until the eggs are fully cooked to your liking. You can cover with a lid to cook the eggs faster if you’d like. 

Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper and parsley for serving. Serve hot with a side of hearty, crusty bread, pita or couscous. Goes well with a fresh salad topped with feta cheese. 

Enjoy! I’d love to know how you like it and how you adapt it to make it your own. You can easily add sausage to this dish. Just cook it while cooking the vegetables and before adding the tomatoes. Another spice that is a great addition is Aleppo pepper, which adds a warm earthy spiciness to the dish.

Shakshuka simmering in tomatoes

Eggs cooking in shakshuka

Parsley, Lemon & Toasted Almond Salad

This fresh, satisfying salad is a great way to get more parsley into your diet. It’s SO MUCH MORE than a garnish! 🙂 Parsley tastes great when prepared well and has wonderful antioxidant properties, lots of fiber and is all around super healthy for you. It’s a great detox salad.

Combined with fresh lemon and nutrient-rich almonds, this salad is a health power-house. It’s a fantastic addition to many dishes, and is easy to devour all by itself. 

Ingredients for the Parsley Salad, minus the toasted almonds

Parsley, Lemon & Toasted Almond Salad 

Yields: 3 ½ – 4 cups

Serves: 7-8 sides

Ingredients:

 

  • ½ cup almonds
  • 1 small shallot or 2 tablespoons red onion
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ – ⅓ cup olive oil (high quality extra virgin is best) (adjust amount of oil according to taste)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (depending on your taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon brown or dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • About 25 sprigs of parsley, or 1 full bunch

 

Directions:

Set broiler to low. Rough chop the almonds and place on a baking tray. Toast almonds for 2 minutes. Watch closely, as you want them only lightly golden brown. Alternatively you can toast the chopped almonds on a dry skillet over medium heat for about 5-8 minutes. Watch and stir occasionally. Ready when fragrant and lightly golden brown. Remove from heat.

Finely mince shallot or red onion and garlic. Slice the lemon in half. Rough chop the parsley, including stems.

Juice the lemon into a medium mixing bowl.

Add all ingredients into mixing bowl and gently stir to combine.

Serve as a side or garnish to veggie burgers, on a falafel platter, or with fish, chicken or lamb.

The Empowered Kitchen Tips:

You can add this to 1 or 2 cups cooked brown or wild rice for a heartier side dish. Basmati would work well too, but has slightly less nutritional value.

Tzatziki

Here’s a fun way to bring an international flare to Memorial Day weekend. This tzatziki (yogurt cucumber sauce) is great to have on hand for a BBQ because it goes perfectly with a beef or lamb burger, with chicken and as a topping for veggie burgers. Yum!

To use the leftover cucumber juice, you can drink it straight or add it to a smoothie. It’s super hydrating and delicious! My favorite way is to use it in a refreshing summer cocktail recipe. Check that out here. 🙂 Enjoy the weekend!

Finished Tzatziki 

Tzatziki

Yields: 3 cups sauce

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups whole or 2% plain or Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Greek Seasoning (or oregano)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper (white or black)
  • 5 sprigs fresh parsley for serving (optional)
  • Warm pita bread for serving (optional)
  • Sliced vegetables for serving (optional)

 

Directions:

Prep the cucumber. Peel cucumber into stripes. This means leaving some of the green in long stripes along the cucumber, so it has alternating peeled and unpeeled stripes. Discard the peels.

Using a box grater, grate the cucumbers. Coat with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Transfer cucumber to a fine mesh strainer over a deep bowl to drain. Optionally Spoon the grated cucumber into a cheesecloth or a double thickness napkin or paper towel and squeeze dry. Set aside.

Make the garlic paste. Peel the garlic cloves. Place the garlic cloves in a food processor or mortar and pestle. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the vinegar. Blend or mash and add olive oil until you make a thick paste.

Combine and chill. Add the cucumber and garlic paste to a large bowl. Add the yogurt, oregano or Greek Seasoning and white or black pepper. Combine thoroughly. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, stir the tzatziki sauce and transfer to serving bowls and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil if desired. Can top with chopped parsley as well.

Great with Chicken Shawarma, falafel, lamb meatballs or your favorite sliced vegetables. Keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Enjoy!

Tahini Sauce

This is seriously my new favorite sauce. It’s SO simple and everyone who tastes it is really surprised by how easy and delicious it is. Smooth and exquisite.  

Tahini Sauce With Aleppo Pepper

Yields: 2 cups tahini sauce

Ingredients:

 

  • ⅔ cup tahini paste
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 ½ small lemons
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt

 

Optional

 

  • 4-6 sprigs parsley (blended with other ingredients)
  • Sprinkle of Aleppo pepper

 

Directions:

Peel garlic and slice lemons in half. Juice lemons into blender.

Combine all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth. If you blend parsley into the sauce, it will be green and have an added boost of antioxidants. 

Enjoy with sliced carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, broccoli, snow peas, or as a sauce for lamb meatballs, roasted eggplant, falafel, in a pita or shawarma. They’re very filling as a snack with roasted garbanzo beans. Mmm…

Keeps well in a sealed container in the fridge for about 5-6 days.

Inspired by Ottolenghi’s Tahini Sauce

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