Eggplant Shakshuka with Sun-Dried Tomato Tahini
Have you ever tried shakshuka? This vegetarian dish, made with eggs poached in spicy spinach and eggplant tomato sauce, is suitable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner - or the perfect crowd pleaser for Sunday brunch!
Shakshuka is a savory nourishing and filling one-skillet recipe that requires a simple combination of ingredients most of us already have in our kitchen.
In Israel and other parts of the Middle East and Africa, Shakshuka is considered a traditional breakfast food, but easily could be an excellent choice for any meal. Usually, this dish is served with a side of pita or challah, but in efforts to watch our blood sugar levels, we’ve added a special ingredient (and will pass on the bread!). This recipe includes eggplant, which soaks up the delicious rich flavors of spices and tomatoes, replacing the need for a carb on the side.
Rich in fiber and low in soluble carbohydrates, eggplant can help regulate blood sugar levels and control the absorption of glucose. It is also a good source of calcium, antioxidants, and vitamins including vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, thiamin, and niacin. It is low in calories, sodium, and cholesterol and high in folate. Eggplant are also loaded with a host of minerals essential for the effective functioning of the body, including magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and potassium.
Begin by making the base for the shakshuka: using a large knife, slice off the top and bottom of the eggplant, stand the eggplant up, and cut ½-inch slices lengthwise. Stack the slices and cut them into strips, then turn the strips and cut them crosswise into ½-inch cubes. Set aside.
Heat avocado oil in a large cast-iron skillet (or rimmed metal pan) over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add eggplant and sauté for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, add shallots, Jalapeño (if using) and continue to sauté while stirring occasionally for 2 minutes until soft and fragrant. Veggies should begin to soften, adding more oil if needed. Add garlic, continue to sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid the garlic from burning.
Mix in spices and stir for 1 minute, then add canned tomatoes, chopped spinach, salt, and pepper. Allow the tomatoes to cook down, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes on low-medium heat.
While the shakshuka base is reducing, begin to prepare the optional tahini sauce. Using a small blender, or hand blender, combine all of the tahini ingredients and blend until smooth. Set aside and keep refrigerated in a sealed container. (This could be prepared up to 2 days in advance.)
Once the shakshuka base has thickened, create a deep hole, using a wooden spoon. Drop in 1 egg at a time and repeat with the remaining eggs. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Then cover for 1 - 2 minutes, or until the egg whites are set.
Top with parsley leaves and a tablespoon of the sun-dried tomato tahini.
Shakshuka base (without the eggs) and tahini can be made up to 2 days in advance.
Any leftovers, aside from eggs, could be refrigerated and kept up to 2 days (please note that anything made in advance will not last as long).
Nutritional Analysis Per Serving (1 egg per serving): Calories: 248, Fat: 18.8 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 164 mg, Fiber: 5.6 g, Protein: 8.5 g, Carbohydrates: 13.7 g, Sodium: 243.3 mg