Hands down, breakfast is my absolute favorite meal of the day. To me, there is nothing better than starting the day with a delicious protein-packed smoothie, a jar of dairy-free overnight oats, or my all-time favorite Turkish breakfast. There are just so many delicious options to choose from these days without resorting to that old bowl of Cheerios and milk, or a piece of toasted white bread smothered with butter and sugary jam. I’ll admit, they’re tasty but not exactly healthy. Recently, I decided to give my friend, Vivi’s, recipe for Israeli Shakshouka a try and shamelessly, my breakfast love affair found a whole new romance.
Shakshouka has a long, rich history, beginning hundreds of years ago in North Africa, but came to Israel through Maghrebi Jews who fled the country in the mid-20th century as part of the mass Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim lands. Since then, this beloved poached egg dish has become a staple in Israeli and Arab cuisines and is enjoyed for both breakfast and evening meals.
The beauty of Shakshouka is the variety of ways each family prepares it in their culture. Some Arab cultures, for example, include potatoes, beans, spicy sausage, a variety of spices, and other ingredients that leave it up the interpretation and taste of each cook. While, in Israel, some recipes are strictly vegetarian, adding more tomatoes, or more peppers, more spices, or plain and straightforward. Regardless of how you prefer your Shakshouka, the benefit of this dish is the simplicity of a one pan meal that is healthy, delicious and easy to prepare. The good news is, for those who are gluten-free and dairy-free, this dish is perfect for you too! As American chef and food writer, Ruth Reichl, put it best, “Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” Here’s to a healthy lifestyle in 2018! – Lisa
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