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This Is the Best Paleo Shakshuka

Make this Shakshuka in a skillet for a delicious and easy paleo breakfast.
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Shakshuka, a North African and Levantine dish of eggs poached in a garlicky tomato and pepper sauce (you might know its Italian relative, Eggs in Purgatory), is a deeply flavorful weekend breakfast that just so happens to be paleo. Made with fresh or canned tomatoes, the sauce starts with sautéed bell peppers, onion, and garlic. A few good spoonfuls of the spicy North African red pepper paste harissa adds depth to the shakshuka, making the mixture of this paleo casserole way more exciting than your everyday tomato and garlic sauce.

While shakshuka is already a protein-rich breakfast thanks to the eggs, if you want a bit of extra protein, ground lamb—or really, any ground meat you prefer—blends into the sauce seamlessly, adding a bit of extra oomph to this paleo casserole without changing up the overall flavor of the dish.

Makes 4 servings


2-4 tablespoons olive oil
½ pound 10% fat ground lamb, optional
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 yellow, orange, or red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
Kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ cup harissa (whichever level of heat you prefer)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, or 28 ounces freshly chopped tomatoes (about 3 cups)
4-6 eggs
Chopped parsley or cilantro, for serving

How to Make It

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch cast-iron (or other oven-safe) skillet over medium heat, and preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. If using ground lamb: add to pan and press into an even layer. Season with a big pinch of salt. Cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, until well-browned, then break up into pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula and continue to cook until completely browned, 2-3 minutes. Remove lamb from skillet to a plate. There should be a bit of rendered lamb fat in the pan, but if there isn't, add 1-2 additional tablespoons oil and reduce heat to medium.
  3. If not using meat: heat 2 tablespoons oil in the skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add onion and peppers to pan with a big pinch of kosher salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 15 minutes. (If mixture starts to get really charred, deglaze the pan with 1 tablespoon water.)
  5. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Stir in cumin and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Stir in harissa and tomatoes with another big pinch of salt, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Add lamb back into the sauce if using and cook until the mixture has reduced a bit, 10-15 minutes.
  8. Make 4-6 wells in the sauce, and crack one egg into a small bowl. Place the egg in one well and repeat with remaining eggs. Season each egg with salt.
  9. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the eggs have cooked to your liking, 10-15 minutes.
  10. Serve with parsley or cilantro.

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Rebecca Firkser
Rebecca Firkser is a food writer and recipe developer. Read more about Rebecca