Shakshuka is a delicious breakfast dish consisting of delicious spiced tomato stew with eggs. It's a great flavorful and protein-packed dish that's easy to make with a few pantry ingredients.
While its definitely delicious, is shakshuka healthy?
Shakshuka can be a very healthy dish given that it predominantly consists of tomatoes, which is a nutrient-packed low calorie vegetable, and eggs, which are full of protein and healthy fats. A serving of the dish is 281 calories, with 20 grams of protein, 13 grams of fat, and 21 grams of carbs, following the recipe and portions below. The key to making this dish low calorie is to portion ingredients and sides that you would eat the shakshuka with mindfully.
💭 What is Shakshuka?
Shakshuka is a delicious breakfast dish originating from North Africa and the Mediterranean consisting of tomatoes stewed with spices and aromatics and baked with poached eggs. It's popularity has made it a brunch staple everywhere.
✅ Why This Recipe Works
Super easy to make – All it takes is a couple of common pantry ingredients.
Flavorful and delicious – By utilizing the key cooking techniques used to make flavorful shakshuka, you can make a restaurant quality dish from the comfort of home.
Healthy and nutritious – This recipe is based with tomato sauce, which is known to be healthy and nutritious. And it was developed by yours truly to be protein-packed and low calorie.
🍏 Calories and Nutrition Facts – Is It Healthy?
To understand the calorie and nutrition content of shakshuka, it’s useful to look at the core ingredients that make up the popular baked egg dish. The main four main components include: tomato mixture, the spice blend, the toppings, and the sides.
- Tomato Mixture: This is a combination of canned tomatoes and tomato paste, both of which are minimal calories and packed with nutrients.
- Spice Blend: The tomatoes are often stewed in a spice blend that can include paprika, cayenne, oregano, and cumin. These spices add a lot of depth and flavor to the dish without a significant amount of calories.
- Toppings: This includes the eggs, cheese, and garnishes. Eggs are the star topping of this dish and run at 70 calories each, largely from protein. The protein content from the dish largely comes from eggs, so they are important to include.
- Sides: Shakshuka is often served with a side of bread. A slice of bread can run up to 120 calories each - while there is nothing wrong with eating a slice with this dish, it's important to be mindful of portioning, as bread can easily add up in calories.
Although shakshuka is naturally a low calorie dish, it can easily add up in calories if the sides are not portioned correctly, making it less than ideal for dieting purposes.
🍎 How to Make It Healthy – The Fitsian Method
In this recipe, I use a more protein heavy ratio to make this a more macro friendly and calorie conscious dish. I also made exactly a portion size for one to ensure accuracy of macro tracking. Here are some key tweaks I made:
- Portioned tomato sauce to be 95 calories using the portioning below
- Used Parmesan cheese rather than feta cheese - feta cheese is lower in calories but has almost half the amount of protein compared to parmesan. Given that we are only using 2 tablespoons, I opted to use Parmesan cheese since the overall calorie increase was minimal and I needed to amp up the protein content in this dish. Learn more about this in this article about Feta Cheese vs. Parmesan cheese nutrition.
- Added 2 eggs to the dish for protein content
- Use cooking spray to sauté veggies to minimize oil usage - 1 tablespoon of oil has 120 calories vs. 0 calories from cooking spray
- I omitted consumption of any bread, but if you choose to, I would recommend not eating more than 1 slice of bread. This will add 120 calories, making the overall dish 400 calories, which is still a very manageable amount.
For a detailed breakdown of each ingredients, their portioning, and how they make up the nutrition profile of the shakshuka recipe, you may refer to the table below:
📋 Ingredient Notes
Tomatoes: Canned tomatoes work best here given the already stewy consistency. You can also opt to use fresh tomatoes but it might be helpful to blend them a bit.
Cheese: I opted to use parmesan cheese given the higher protein content. You can also opt to use feta cheese, which is what the dish is traditionally made with.
Cherry Tomato: I like to add these more so for garnishing purposes and additional texture, rather than for the base of the shakshuka itself. Feel free to opt out of this if you'd like.
Spices: I used a combination of cumin, pepper, and smoked paprika. You can also add oregano, cayenne pepper, or any spice that you'd like.
Fresh Herbs: You can use parsley or substitue with cilantro.
See my recipe card below for a complete list of the ingredients with measurements.
📖 Substitutions and Variations
Cook it on stove top only – If you don't have access to an oven or want to simplify the recipe, you can also cook the shakshuka purely on the stovetop. It won't have that baked consistency, but it will still be delicious.
Other herbs – You can also use parsley, cilantro, or basil.
Switch up the cheese – I used parmesan cheese but feta cheese is what is traditionally used. You can feel free to use whatever cheese you have on hand.
🔪 Step by Step Instructions
Prepare the aromatics – Begin by gathering all the ingredients. Mince the garlic and onions and sauté in a pan for about 2-3 minutes, or until aromatic.
Cook the tomatoes – Pour in the canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Let cook for about 3-5 minutes, mixing the canned tomato and paste together thoroughly with the aromatics.
Add the spices – Add in the spice mixture and continue to mix thoroughly, adjusting based on taste preference.
Preheat – Preheat the oven to 350F while you're preparing the ingredients.
Assemble the casserole – Pour the sauce mixture into a casserole dish or baking pan. Make 2 indents for the eggs and crack the eggs in.
Bake the casserole – Pour the cheese into the pan, and put in the oven. The eggs should take about 12-15 minutes to bake thoroughly and turn opaque.
Garnish and serve – Remove from the oven, garnish with cilantro and additional cherry tomatoes, and enjoy your delicious and healthy brunch!
On The Stovetop
Add the eggs – When the mixture looks thoroughly mixed and tastes right, make 2 holes in the sauce and crack in the eggs.
Add the cheese – Pour over the cheese and let it melt throughout the pan. Cook until the eggs become opaque and firm and the cheese begins to melt
Garnish and serve – Remove from heat, garnish with cilantro and additional cherry tomatoes, and enjoy your delicious brunch!
💡 Expert Tips
Don't use a cast iron – Despite the amount of photos online that show it being served in a cast iron, I would not recommend serving this in a cast iron unless it is enamel-coated. The tomato will react with the metal resulting in a metallic flavor.
💭 Recipes FAQs
The shakshuka spice blend usually consists of a mixture of cumin, paprika, cayenne, and oregano. You can also mix and match your favorite spices into the dish. Spices are a great way to add flavor to the dish without adding any calories.
Shakshuka is eaten with a bread based side, such as pita bread, sour dough, or good old fashioned toast, so that you can dip the bread in the sauce and eggs to give a good balance to the flavorful stewed tomatoes. While this does make it a more well-rounded meal, bread-based foods can easily add up in calories, so portioning here is key. I would recommend consuming 1 slice at most, which is about 120 calories on average.
Shakshuka is great for weight loss - it's a naturally low calorie dish given that it's made of mainly tomatoes and eggs, which are packed with nutrients and low in calories. Stewing it makes it very comforting and satiating, so you are much more likely to feel full from this compared to a salad.
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Healthy Low-Calorie Shakshuka
Shakshuka Sauce and Seasoning
- 1 clove Garlic (Minced)
- 2 tablespoon Onion (Minced)
- 1 cup San Marzano Tomatoes (Or any canned tomatoes)
- 2 tablespoon Tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Salt
Eggs and Garnish
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tablespoon Cheese of choice (Grated)
- ½ cup Cherry Tomatoes (Optional: For garnish)
- Begin by gathering all the ingredients. Mince the garlic and onions and sauté in a pan for about 2-3 minutes, or until aromatic.
- Pour in the canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Let cook for about 3-5 minutes, mixing the canned tomato and paste together thoroughly with the aromatics.
- Add in the spice mixture and continue to mix thoroughly, adjusting based on taste preference.
In The Oven
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Pour the sauce mixture into a casserole dish or baking pan. Make 2 indents for the eggs and crack the eggs in.
- Pour the cheese into the pan, and put in the oven. The eggs should take about 12-15 minutes to bake thoroughly and turn opaque.
- Remove from the oven, garnish with cilantro and additional cherry tomatoes, and enjoy your delicious and healthy brunch!
On The Stovetop
- When the mixture looks thoroughly mixed and tastes right, make 2 holes in the sauce and crack in the eggs.
- Pour over the cheese and let it melt throughout the pan. Cook until the eggs become opaque and firm and the cheese begins to melt
- Remove from heat, garnish with cilantro and additional cherry tomatoes, and enjoy your delicious brunch!