Shakshuka, the ultimate plant based version.

Shakshuka with cauliflower puree

Shakshuka, like Humus is a very popular dish from the Middle-East which is becoming increasingly popular in the West. It is believed to originate from Tunisia or Yemen and it’s name is likely to be Arabic or Berber for ‘mixture”. Shakshuka comes in many forms, thick sauce, thin sauce, spicy to flaming hot, with veggies, with feta, but I think it’s fair to say that the one with eggs is the one most known.

That is also the way I ate my first Shakshuka back in 1987 (before my plantbased lifestyle). To me Shakshuka stands for getting up early in the morning to set out on a Jeep trip in the Israeli countryside with a group of friends and then stop after a few hours of driving to have breakfast together! The base of the Shakshuka (tomatoes, onions, peppers) is prepared the day before, stored in the on-board mini-fridge and the eggs are added while the sauce is warming up on the camping gas. Interesting detail is that our Shakshuka is always prepared by friends with Yemenite roots! The depth of the flavour obviously intensifies overnight and I reckon that eating Shakshuka out in the open-air surrounded by stunning country views and dear friends adds to the flavour as well!

Shakshuka with view over the Red Sea – Eilat
Gili’s Shakshuka

After I switched to a plant based lifestyle, I solved the “egg-issue” simply by scooping out a bit of the base before they add the eggs and prepare a separate dish, so no problem there.

In my own kitchen I replace the eggs with either tofu or chickpea omelet, or a combination of both to get the “egg-look”. But I wanted to try something else for a change. During my last visit to Israel (September 2019) I had an absolutely amazing Shakshuka at Meshek Barzilay (one of the best vegan restaurants in Tel Aviv if you ask me) with broccoli and cauliflower. That gave me the idea for this Shakshuka with cauliflower puree (since not everyone in my family likes the idea off chunks of veggies). I added some tahin to the puree to intensify the flavour. Now, in almost all the cookbooks with a Shakshuka recipe the preparation time is said to be approximately 30 minutes. Which of course is true, but I think it is well worth preparing the base a few hours in advance (maybe even a day, as if preparing for a trip) let the flavours set (like you would with a good soup), then warm again and add the cauliflower puree. You’ll be rewarded with an absolute great flavour!

The words around our family kitchen table were: Delicious, OMG so good and Epic!

So what’s stopping you? Lack of time can’t be you’re excuse these days 😉.

Click here for the delicious Shakshuka recipe! You’ll find it in the lunch section, obviously it is regarded as breakfast in the Middle-East, we had it for dinner this time, served with basmati rice!

In the meantime stay healthy and safe.

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