Recipe: Homemade Shakshuka [VEGAN] [EGG-FREE] [SOY-FREE]

I heard about shakshukas about a year ago and was so intrigued by the dish. It's stewed tomatoes and spices topped with baked eggs, and is commonly eaten for breakfast in Israel, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. I'm a huge fan of tomato-based dishes and always wanted to try a vegan version of it. No vegan restaurant ever served it, though, so I resorted to daydreaming about spoonfuls of tomatoey shakshuka.

Because I want this blog to highlight how easy it is to eat culturally significant foods from around the world without straying from a plant-based diet, I figured it was time I stop waiting for someone else to make me a shakshuka, and just make one on my own. I researched authentic recipes and then came up with one on my own that catered to my tastes and needs. I'm excited to show people how easy it is to travel the world, tasting authentic cuisine, all while maintaining a vegan diet. 

Shakshukas are meant to be highly aromatic dishes with a spicy kick. I'm not in love with spicy foods (I can handle moderate spiciness but anything more than that makes my food unenjoyable) so I toyed around with some traditional recipes to suit my more mild taste. That being said, if you're a spice fiend then feel free to add in one or two extra peppers or a bit more cayenne pepper to bring the kick up a notch. Additionally, traditional shakshuka recipes call for a sprinkling of fresh parsley on top (which I did) but I actually feel like fresh torn basil would taste better. If you're not a fan of fresh parsley, feel free to sub for basil or simply omit the herbs altogether. 

Shakshuka

-1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes, with juices

-1 yellow onion, halved and sliced thinly

-2 jalapeno peppers, cored, deseeded, de-stemmed and chopped

-1 red bell pepper, chopped

-4 garlic cloves, sliced thin

-7 or 8 slices of soft tofu about 3/4 of an inch thick

-2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

-1 tbs paprika

-1 tbs cumin

-1/8 tbs cayenne pepper

-salt and pepper to taste

-fresh parsley or fresh basil for garnish (optional)

-sliced bread or pita for dipping

In a cast iron skillet, combine the olive oil, thinly sliced onions, and red bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the red bell pepper is tender. Next, add chopped jalapenos and garlic. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the garlic is tender and the jalapenos are fragrant. Slowly pour in the can of chopped tomatoes, including the juices. Then, mix in the cayenne pepper, cumin, and paprika. Let simmer for about 15 minutes. When the mixture has thickened into a saucy consistency, place the tofu on top of the mixture. Spoon some of the sauce on top of the tofu pieces and let cook for 7-10 more minutes. Once the tofu is soft and has absorbed a bit of the shakshuka sauce, remove from heat. Sprinkle fresh parsley or basil on top of the shakshuka. Serve with fresh bread or pita bread. Enjoy!