This vegan shakshuka recipe will make you look forward to Sunday brunch! Comforting and full of flavor with sautéed shishito peppers and onion, this elevated tofu scramble comes together within half an hour from start to finish.
What is shakshuka?
Shakshuka is traditionally a dish of poached eggs in a sauce of tomatoes, olive oil, peppers, and onion. It is basically a cucina povera recipe (translates from Italian as “cooking of the poor” or “peasant cooking”). Don’t let the terms fool you. This tastes better than many dishes made with more lavish ingredients.
In the last decade, Israeli-British chef Yotam Ottolenghi has helped to popularize the dish in the Western world.
Where is shakshuka from?
Many sources claim that shakshuka can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire, where it was made with meat, though there doesn’t seem to be any specific proof. Adding to the confusion, many scrambled egg dishes with tomatoes exist around the world. Shakshuka’s conception is also attributed to Tunisia, Spain, Morocco, Israel, and Yemen.
Menemen, a similar dish, certainly has Mediterranean origins. Turkish migrants from Crete seemingly brought it to the town of Izmir in the 1920s. The former Cretans migrated to a district called “Menemen” in the city and started making their delicious tomatoey stew. The dish was adopted by the whole country, thanks to its comforting taste, affordability, and practicality.
The difference between menemen and shakshuka is how the preparation of eggs. Usually, the eggs in shakshuka are poached whereas in menemen they are scrambled—though not always.
Other versions of shakshuka exist all over the globe with minor differences in ingredients. These incllude huevos a la flamenca (Andalusian, with chorizo), uova in purgatorio (Italian, different spices), and matbukha (North African, minus the eggs).
How to substitute eggs for a vegan shakshuka
Here, eggs are substituted with soft silken tofu in this otherwise authentic Turkish version of the dish. Soft regular tofu or Just Egg will work as well. From a purely aesthetic perspective, the Just Egg scramble will look the most authentic.
Additionally, if you really like the flavor of eggs, add black salt (kala namak) to mimic the flavor.
- 2 tbsp olive oil plus more for serving
- 1 cup onion finely diced (about 1 small onion, ~120g)
- 1 cup shishito peppers finely diced (see note 1, ~110g)
- 1 cup tomatoes chopped and peeled (see note 2, ~200g)
- 1 block soft silken tofu see note 3, ~400g
- 1 tsp Urfa chili flakes see note 4
- ¼ tsp dried oregano leaves
- salt & pepper to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon black salt (kala namak) optional
- parsley chopped (to garnish)
- bread to serve
- Heat olive oil over low heat in a nonstick skillet or traditional sahan. When the oil is warm, add the onion, shishito peppers, Urfa chili flakes, and dried oregano, then stir.
- Season with salt and pepper. Cook over low-medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Once the onions and peppers are softened, add the tomatoes and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
- Add in the tofu (or Just Egg scramble), and break it off. Season with regular salt or black salt and pepper one more time, and gently stir. Cook for another few minutes until the tofu gets warm (or longer if using Just Egg).
- If desired, add extra olive oil and chopped parsley to serve. This dish is usually enjoyed without utensils, using bread as a delicious vessel instead.