My favorite word on the weekend? Brunch. Brunch means sleeping in late and waking up just in time for the most relaxing meal. One of my favorite brunch foods is a Mediterranean dish called chakchouka, or shakshouka, depending on where you’re from. We Algerians call it chakchouka, and it’s healthy, delicious and wonderfully filling!
Growing up, this tangy dish was a staple in spring and summer. The taste of tomato-drenched peppers and onions always reminds me of cool tiles under my legs as we gathered around the table for lunch after our morning chores. For dessert, la sieste and a telenovela dubbed in Arabic. Voila! The perfect lazy afternoon.
Chakchouka is a wonderful meal on its own, accompanied with a fresh baguette or served over an aromatic rice, like basmati or jasmine. It’s also a wonderful side dish for any savory breakfast, from sausage or kebabs to even steak.
If you’re like me and savor the feeling of filling your friends with a hearty meal, try giving the gift of a chakchouka brunch. Make sure you tell me how it goes—pictures are always appreciated.
Happy healthy eats!
Prep: 15-20 mins Cook time: 30-35 mins Servings: 6 Calories: 157 (See images for nutritional chart)
- 3 small sweet onions
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 yellow bell peppers
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- 2 tsp salt or to taste
- 3 oz tomato paste
- 1 ½ – 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp harissa (optional)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika (substitute with regular paprika)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne (optional, skip if you prefer a sweeter chakchouka)
- 3 cloves garlic (I like to make life a little easier and buy pre-chopped garlic in jars)
- 3 – 4 green onion stalks
- 4 tbsp parsley (I recommend Italian parsley for its exceptional fragrance)
- 6 eggs
- Place the four Roma tomatoes on a small baking sheet bake them at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes while you prep your other ingredients.
- Chop your onions and bell peppers into small cubes.
- Heat the olive oil in a large deep pan on medium heat for a minute and add onions.
- Sauté the onions on medium low until they’re golden brown. Stir them occasionally for 6-7 minutes, to keep them from sticking to the pan. (Tip: don’t add more oil if the oil dries up too quickly. Instead, lower the heat, add 1/2 cup of water, stir, and cover)
- Add the peppers, ½ cup of water and salt, stir it all together, and cover the pan. Let the peppers and onions cook for about 10 minutes on medium low. Stir occasionally to ensure the peppers cook evenly.
- Take the tomatoes out of the oven and let them cool for about five minutes. The peel should have rolled back already, and will be easy to remove once the tomatoes have cooled.
- Dice the tomatoes into large chunks. The center of the tomatoes may still be hot, so handle them carefully.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and 1 ½ cups of water to the pan.
- Add the tomato paste, harissa (optional), black pepper, cumin, cayenne (optional), and garlic. Stir, cover, and cook on medium high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Lower the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 6 minutes.
- Sprinkle ¾ of your green onions on top, setting aside the greener parts of the stem to garnish your finished chakchouka
- Crack your eggs, one by one, in a circular pattern over your simmering chakchouka. Depending on your preference, you can break the yolk and swirl it gently so that it cooks through, or you can leave the eggs as they are and cover the pan with a lid so that they poach over the next five minutes. I like a semi-runny yolk, others may prefer a firmer yolk, I’ll leave this up to you. Turn off the heat and you are all set.
- Plating: work gently around your eggs to plate the vegetables first, and then an egg on. Garnish with parsley and green onion stems and serve warm. Chakchouka can also be delicious served chilled the next day, or used as a dip.