Tunisian Shakshuka

As I sit at my kitchen table, I can’t help but feel a sense of longing for my family back in Tunisia. I remember the bustling streets of Tunis, the aroma of spices wafting through the air, and the warmth of my family’s embrace. But most of all, I miss my mother’s Shakshuka.

Shakshuka is a traditional Tunisian dish made with eggs, tomatoes, and a blend of spices. It’s a simple yet delicious meal that can be enjoyed at any time of the day, whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Every time my mother made Shakshuka, she would start by chopping up the fresh tomatoes and onions, and then adding in her secret blend of spices, which included cumin, paprika, and harissa.

As the tomatoes and spices simmered in the pan, my mother would crack in the eggs, letting them cook until the whites were set but the yolks were still runny. The final touch was a sprinkle of chopped parsley and a few slices of crusty bread for dipping.

Whenever my family gathered around the table to enjoy Shakshuka, it felt like time stood still. We would share stories and laughter, and savour each and every bite. It wasn’t just a meal, but a symbol of togetherness and love.

Here is the original recipe

Prep Time 20 mins
Cooking Time 40-45 mins


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the onion and red bell pepper and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper (if using) and cook for an additional minute.

Pour the can of diced tomatoes into the skillet and season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Use a spoon to make small wells in the tomato mixture and crack an egg into each well.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet with a lid. Cook until the egg whites are set and the yolks are still runny, about 5-7 minutes.

Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro and serve with crusty bread.

But as much as I love the traditional recipe, I know that it’s not always the healthiest option. That’s why I was grateful for the healthier version of Shakshuka that my friend had made. She had substituted some of the more fatty ingredients with healthier options like olive oil, and had added extra vegetables to make it even more nutritious.

It made me realize how much family means to me – not just the memories and traditions, but also the care and concern they have for my well-being. My friend had gone out of her way to make a healthier version of a dish that we both loved, simply because she wanted me to be able to enjoy it without worrying about my health.

It’s moments like these that make me appreciate the power of food, not just as a source of nourishment and pleasure, but also as a way to connect with others and show love and kindness. Whether it’s a traditional recipe or a healthier version, the act of sharing a meal with loved ones is a reminder of the important role that food plays in our lives and our relationships.