Shakshuka is not a well-known dish in all parts of the U.S. I only learned about it from a little cafe in Philadelphia when I was traveling for a conference a few years ago. I fell in love immediately and started looking for variations for Guiding Stars. For me, discovering new dishes from different cultures is a small and delicious reminder of the richness diversity brings to our lives.
Both this baked potato version and the Weeknight Shakshuka I adapted for Guiding Stars are pretty Americanized versions of the Middle Eastern dish. The tomato sauce isn’t cooked up from scratch. The spices are more likely to be in an average American kitchen. Classic shakshuka wouldn’t be served with potatoes, and probably not with beans. I remember a story from my childhood about a goat who wouldn’t eat trash. His parents coaxed him to try it by mixing it with food. Sometimes it’s easier to expand our horizons if the novel is paired with the familiar.
Tip: If your family is willing to stretch their horizons, add some ras el hanout to the dish. It’s a Middle Eastern spice blend and will give you a flavor more typical of classic shakshuka.
The first shakshuka I made was from a Middle Eastern recipe. It involved chopping all the vegetables, including enough tomatoes for sauce. I slow-simmered the sauce quite awhile before adding the eggs. It was delicious, but not enough more delicious to merit the cooking time on a weeknight. I tried swapping in a roasted garlic marinara, and it worked. Marinara sauce is a really great place to looking for products that earn Guiding Stars. While a marinara sauce can be both wonderful and nutritious, many products have a lot of added sugar and sodium. Pick a jar marked with stars, and you know you’re saving yourself time with a choice that’s got great nutrition.
Starting from uncooked potatoes, this recipe still comes together in under 15 minutes if you microwave the potatoes. (And you should microwave your potatoes, in my opinion. Fastest, most energy-efficient way to a perfectly baked potato, bar none.) Quick and convenient makes a fresh, hot meal possible on a busy weeknight, and that’s a lot to love.
Eggs are an inexpensive source of protein and a variety of nutrients. They earn 2 Guiding Stars. Tomato sauce and potatoes are cheap. Put them together and what have you got? A cheap, satisfying, nourishing meal. Even when our budget isn’t tight, I like cooking this way. I don’t have to worry if we can afford enough to fill everyone up even if company drops by unexpectedly. Cheap good food empowers me to be hospitable. I can afford to let guests listen to their bodies, not some arbitrary, budget-driven portion. Food is a way we connect as humans, and any dish that makes it easier for me to be welcoming and generous is a keeper in my book.
This variation on a classic middle east breakfast is simple, hearty, and filling. Broiling the eggs tends to lead to a soft set. If you like having more control over how firm your eggs are, heat the sauce to simmering in a small pan and poach the eggs directly in the sauce to desired texture before topping hot potatoes with eggs and sauce alike.
Active Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 15 min.
- 1 large russet potato, baked and halved
- ½ cup Guiding Star-worthy marinara sauce
- 2 large eggs
- Pinch of paprika
- Place warm potato halves on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you’re using refrigerated potatoes, heat in the microwave for a minute or so to warm. Use a fork to fluff the inside of the potato without breaking the skin.
- Divide the marinara sauce between the potato halves and mix together a bit. Make a well in the center of the sauce and crack an egg into it.
- Broil 3 – 4 minutes or until the egg whites are set. Yolks will be runny: broil longer for more fully cooked egg.
- Sprinkle with the pinch of paprika and serve.