spices

Shakshusha - a simple & satisfying breakfast dish at last

Breakfast is often my most perplexing meal of the day. Still half-asleep I roll out of bed at 6AM sharp to a house full of screams of “MAMA!” Oliver is a morning person unlike the rest of the household. Even our dog, Ralphie, won’t stroll into the kitchen before 9AM.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! It breaks my heart when I hear people say they DON’T EAT BREAKFAST! Breakfast sets the tone of the rest of the day and for me, cereal just doesn’t cut it, a yogurt is not enough. I need my breakfast to be fulfilling & delicious. I’m a big fan of preparing my breakfast the night before and putting it in the oven in the morning giving me time to doquick yoga routine (if the boys are cooperating that day). But there are only so many things you can make ahead and sometimes a freshly cooked breakfast is what your body needs. I came across this Israili recipe and it looked so intimidating and time-consuming, I didn’t even give it a try. However, it kept popping up in my facebook feed from cooking groups and pinterest and emails and I just thought it was a sign. This recipe was stalking me, it was BEGGING me to try it and how glad I did. It is SUPER simple, SUPER delicious, SUPER filling and SUPER customizable.

This is a basic, simple shakshuka recipe, not spicy and kid friendly. For variety, different ingredients can be added to the tomato base—jalapenos, green chilies, parsley, red pepper flakes, or anything else that sounds tasty to you. I sprinkled my shakshusha with nutritional yeast and served it with a side of Horseradish Leek Sauerkraut (not pictured here, but did I tell you my latest fascination with Farmhouse Culture’s variety of Sauerkraut? OMG, they are just so delicious! I eat it for breakfast, lunch & dinner). Use your imagination!

Serves: 4 (2 adults + 2 kids)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp chili powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Himalayan Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-6 eggs (depending on how many people you are feeding that day)
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped dill or parsley for garnish
  • 1/2 tbsp of nutritional yeast
  • a spoon full of sauerkraut. Get fancy with flavors like Smoked Jalapeno, Spicy Wakame Ginger Kimchi or my favorite Horseradish Leek.
  • side of lox

DIRECTIONS:

  • Add chopped onion to a deep, large skillet or sauté pan with grapeseed oil, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Sprinkle some turmeric and the onions become this beautiful golden color and are infused with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Add garlic and continue to sauté till mixture is fragrant.
  • Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium until softened.
  • Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir till blended. Add spices, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till it starts to reduce. At this point, you can taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences. Add salt and pepper to taste, more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka (be careful with the cayenne... it is extremely spicy!).
  • Crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. I usually place 4-5 eggs around the outer edge and 1 in the center. The eggs will cook "over easy" style on top of the tomato sauce.
  • COVER THE PAN! Allow mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes on LOW, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced. Keep an eye on the skillet to make sure that the sauce doesn't reduce too much, which can lead to burning.

Scoop onto plates divided, garnish with some fresh dill or parsley, nutritional yeast, side of lox and some sauerkraut and you’ve got yourself a winning breakfast that will keep you full all the way until lunch.

What's your favorite breakfast dish?

Healing Spices & Herbs to Add Your Daily Life

Spices do not only add flavor to your dishes, they are extremely healthy for you and may even help protect against certain chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Polyphenols are the main compounds found in all these spices. You might of heard that wine, tea and certain fruits & vegetables also have an abundance of polyphenols.

My favorite aspect of using spices is it reduces your urge to use less healthier options like SALT and SUGAR while cooking.

Check out these awesome spices to add into your foods today!

  • Cinnamon is one of the biggest antioxidant power spices. These antioxidants have been linked to lower inflammation, as well as reductions in blood glucose concentrations in people with diabetes.
    • Add a teaspoon to either your oatmeal, yogurt, coffee, hot coco, baked sweet potatoes etc. Be creative!
  • Chili Peppers contain a compound known as capsaicin, providing numerous of health benefits. It speeds up your metabolism, promotes sweating to get rid of an infection, improves blood circulation, helps you spice up your sex life etc. Check out my previous post Spice It Up on this spice in detail.
    • Add it to make chili, soups, burgers, stews, salsa and even breakfast dishes like an omelet or a frittata.
  • Turmeric is rich in curcuminoids, which are known for their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It's a natural liver detoxifyer, a natural treatment for arthritis, and turmeric is currently under investigation that it may have cured Alzheimer's disease. Also, according to a study, published in Planta Medica, taking turmeric in combination with black pepper, which contains piperine, improves turmeric absorbability throughout the entire body. They added 20mg of piperine to 2000mg Turmeric, and it increased the bioavailability of Turmeric 154 percent!
    • Sprinkle some turmeric to a yogurt, an egg salad, to water while boiling rice, add to chicken and seafood casseroles.
  • Garlic is known for its antioxidant protection. It has been used as a remedy for coughs, colds and flus. Garlic lowers fever by promoting sweating which eliminates toxins from the body. 
    • There are numerous ways to incorporate garlic into your diet, but the best way is in its raw form.
    • Garlic goes well with potatoes, chicken, lamb and really just about anything. We use garlic on EVERYTHING in this house!
  • Oregano is a nutrient-dense spice making it an excellent source of fiber. Diets high in fiber have been shown to lower high cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of colon cancer. Oregano is also an excellent source of vitamin K, a very good source of manganese, iron, and calcium as well as a good source of vitamin E and tryptophan.
    • Sprinkle on just about anything you make: pasta, scrambled eggs, salad dressings, pizzas, marinara sauce, soups etc.
  • Basil contain flavanoids, which protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage. Basil is also a good source of magnesium, which promotes cardiovascular health.
    • Add basil leaves on salads of on top of a lasagna.
  • Rosemary is part of the Mint plant family and has a ton of antioxidant properties. Rosemary can stimulate the immune system, increase circulation and improve digestion.
    • Add dried crushed rosemary to mashed potatoes and vegetable omelets.
    • Add fresh rosemary to omelets and frittatas.
    • This herb also goes really well with chicken and lamb dishes.
    • Another fun thing to do with rosemary is puree the leaves and mix with olive oil to use for dipping sauce for bread
  • Parsley contains more vitamin C than most citrus plants, almost three times more than in your average orange! It's also known for its high iron levels and can help fight anemia and balance hormonal levels. It settles the stomach and improves the appetite. The high content of vitamin C is not only useful on its own, but also assists the absorption of iron.
    • Add chopped flat leaf parsley to meatballs and meat loaf or sprinkle on an omelette
  • Ginger is well known for its digestion properties, upset stomach, nausea and diarrhea. Ginger also provides a safe and effective relief of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds, which help alleviate the pain of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Also, in a new study, ginger was found to kill tumor cells in ovarian cancer patients. Overall, ginger can promote healthy immune system, by letting you "sweat it out" during colds and flus.
    • Grate fresh ginger into quick bread batters and vinaigrette.
    • Add chopped ginger to stir-fries. Sprinkle ground ginger on cooked carrots.

But be sure you use the the herbs and spices at their peak to get the most out of them, because the active compounds degrade with time. Check BEST BY label, store in air-tight container away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight.