This vegan Shakshuka recipe is about to become your new favorite comfort food

This vegan shakshuka recipe will have you looking forward to Sunday brunch! Comforting and full of flavor with sauteed shishito peppers and onion, this elevated tofu scramble comes together in under 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, bell pepper and onion. It’s actually a cucina povera recipe (translated from Italian as “cooking of the poor” or “peasant cooking”). Don’t be fooled by the terms and conditions. This tastes better than many dishes made with more luxurious ingredients.

Over the past decade, Israeli-British chef Yotam Ottolenghi has helped popularize the dish in the Western world.

Where does shakshuka come from?

Many sources claim that shakshuka dates back to the Ottoman Empire where it was made with meat, although there seems to be no specific evidence. To add to the confusion, many tomato scrambled egg dishes exist around the world. Shakshuka’s conception is also credited to Tunisia, Spain, Morocco, Israel and Yemen.

Menemen, a similar dish, certainly has Mediterranean origins. Turkish migrants from Crete apparently brought it to the city of Izmir in the 1920s. The former Cretans migrated to a neighborhood called “Menemen” in the city and started making their delicious tomato stew. The dish was adopted across the country, thanks to its comforting taste, affordability and practicality.

The difference between menemen and shakshuka is how the eggs are prepared. Usually the eggs in shakshuka are poached while in menemen they are scrambled, but not always.

Other versions of shakshuka exist around the world with slight differences in ingredients. These include huevos a la flamenca (Andalusian, with chorizo), uova in purgatorio (Italian, various spices), and matbukha (North African, minus the eggs).

How to replace eggs with a vegan shakshuka

Here, eggs are replaced with soft silken tofu in this otherwise authentic Turkish version of the dish. Soft plain tofu or Just Egg will also work. From a purely aesthetic point of view, the Just Egg scramble will look most authentic.

If you really like the taste of eggs, add black salt (kala namak) to recreate the taste.

Duration30 minutes

Cooking time30 minutes

portions4 portions

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil plus more for serving
  • 1 cup onion finely chopped (about 1 small onion, ~120g)
  • 1 cup shishito peppers finely chopped (see note 1, ~110g)
  • 1 cup tomatoes chopped and peeled (see note 2, ~200g)
  • 1 block of soft silken tofu see note 3, ~400g
  • 1 teaspoon Urfa chili flakes see note 4
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ⅛ teaspoon black salt (kala namak) optional
  • parsley minced meat (to garnish)
  • bread to serve
  • Heat olive oil over low heat in a non-stick skillet or traditional sahan. When the oil is hot, add the onion, shishito peppers, Urfa chili flakes and dried oregano and stir.

  • Season with salt and pepper. Cook over low-medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

  • Once the onions and peppers are soft, add the tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes.

  • Add the tofu (or Just Egg scramble) and break it up. Season with regular salt or black salt and pepper again and stir gently. Cook for a few more minutes until the tofu is warm (or longer if using Just Egg).

  • If desired, add extra olive oil and chopped parsley to serve. This dish is usually eaten without utensils, but instead with bread as a delicious container.

You can also use Padron or Anaheim peppers if you don’t mind the extra spice. Some prefer to use canned San Marzano tomatoes in the winter when good fresh tomatoes are not available.
1 block of tofu is usually 14-16oz. You can also replace it with regular soft tofu, or Just Egg’s vegan scramble.
Urfa pepper is a smoky, incredibly delicious chili variety from Turkey that takes months to make. It is a staple of Turkish cuisine. It is highly recommended to use Urfa biber in this dish; However, Aleppo or regular chili flakes combined with smoked paprika would also work.

This recipe has been republished with permission from Aegean Delight. Find the original recipe here.