Ready in 30 minutes, crammed with nourishing veggies and spices, and served with fresh bread, my vegan chickpea shakshuka – a twist on the traditional Berber dish – makes a perfectly delicious and comforting brunch or supper. Add potatoes or grains on the side, and a green salad, and you have a hearty, filling dinner.
So, you know how last week I was talking about what a great time I had when my friends came over from Britain? What I didn’t tell you was how exhausted I felt afterward. Yes, I know it sounds incredibly lame but I’ve not been sleeping properly, and all the excitement and activity really took its toll.
Or maybe it was the alcohol.
I hadn’t had a drink since before Lent, so drinking over the weekend, even though it really wasn’t a lot, and was spread out over entire days, not restricted to evenings, seemed to have a bit of an adverse effect. No getting drunk, no hangovers – just a sense of ‘not being quite right’.
I’ve become a lightie.
Then amato mio got sick. He rarely gets ill; one lurgy every other year or so, 24 hours bed rest, and he’s usually right as ninepence, as they say. Not this time. Quite apart from the fact that this is the second time he’s been stricken this year, it’s been over a week now, and he’s still really rather poorly. He’s almost lost his voice, he’s coughing so badly that he’s currently sleeping in the spare bedroom, and he has zero energy.
And then I got sick. Not as bad but I still ache all over, and my limbs feel like lead.
It’s all a bit pants, really.
We might both be feeling a bit better if we hadn’t driven to Sarajevo at the weekend… 14 hours each way. Gaaahhhh. And, rather disappointingly, there was a marked lack of Ottoman food to console ourselves with once we got there.
Apart from one falafel place we found…The falafels were delicious, the bread sooo fresh, and the grilled eggplant was a veritable mouthgasm!
… the food was basically bog-standard Balkan fare. Which means meat. Meat. Meat. And a bit of dairy. Sarajevo is probably the most un-vegan-friendly city I’ve ever been to!
(I’m not complaining – Bosnia is still recovering from the devastation of the war 25 years ago, so it’s hardly surprising that veggie food is not exactly high on its agenda.)
But still, what’s a gal to do when she’s feeling poorly, and has a hankering for something Levantine? She makes shakshuka, of course!
Shakshuka. Shakshouka. Chakchouka. Menemen.
All the names for this one very simple dish! In Arabic, shakshouka just means ‘a mixture’ – essentially, a mixture of veggies and spices.
In Berber, chakchouka is the word for a vegetable stew. Since I used to live in Morocco, in the Berber town of Taroudant, I’m going with the latter.
Call me biased if you will.
Oh yes, and in Turkish, it’s called menemen*.
Go on, admit it, you’re now singing this in your head, aren’t you?
(*Not to be confused with the Turkish, şakşuka, which is pronounced ‘shakshuka’ but is similar to ratatouille (albeit much better, IMNSHO), and usually eaten as part of a meze. It’s also totes deelish!)
Then of course, you have the Italian version, uova in purgatorio (eggs in purgatory), which is subtly different to shakshuka but still similar enough for most people to lump it in with its Levantine counterparts.
My version is a kind of cross between shakshuka and uova in purgatorio.
Whatever you call it, and however you jazz it up, shakshuka is basically a stew made from tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, chillies, paprika, a bit of salt, and of course, eggs which are poached in the stew itself. It’s generally eaten as is, with some fresh bread, often for breakfast or supper. I admit that I’m not averse to having it for lunch or dinner either!
I’m sure I’ve said this before but even before I became vegan, I rarely ate eggs (because they’re disgusterous), so I’ve never had a problem with finding a vegan substitute to add to my shakshuka – I’ve just enjoyed the stew on its own with some khobz. That said, when I saw my friend, Mel, over at A Virtual Vegan, use tofu to make her Tofu in Purgatory, I thought it a genius way of getting even more goodness into this dish.
And what a great way to eat even more tofu. I just had to do it (minus the kala namak, of course).
I am nothing if not all about the tofu.
Not the bass.
Why not check out these other spicy vegan yums while you’re here?
One-Pan Vegan Chickpea Shakshuka
- high in protein and fibre
- full of goodness (Vitamin A 63%, Vitamin C 98%, Calcium 15%, Iron 34% RDV)
- really easy to make
- sooo delicious
Whether you make this with just a few traditional ingredients, add a few more spices, or load it up with all the yums, I’m pretty sure you’re going to fall in love with this.
How do you like your shakshuka?
One-Pan Vegan Chickpea Shakshuka
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion sliced
- 2 large red chillies sliced
- ½ tsp palm sugar
- 5 cloves garlic smashed
- 300 g passata
- 240 ml water
- 2 medium tomatoes roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1½ tbsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper plus a few grinds for finishing
- 300 g cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 100 g whole (or stuffed) olives
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro) cilantro, chopped (save a little for finishing)
- 200 g firm silken tofu cut into rounds
- Heat the oil in a large skillet, and then sauté the onions, chillies, and sugar over a medium heat for 5 mins or so, until the onions start to brown.
- Add the garlic, and continue to sauté until the raw garlic smell has gone.
- Stir in the passata, water, chopped tomatoes, and the tomato purée. Bring to the boil, then immediately reduce the heat.
- Mix in the cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt, black pepper, chickpeas, and olives, and give everything a good stir.
- Check the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, and/or cayenne if desired.
- Simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in the parsley and coriander.
- Place the tofu rounds on top of the shakshuka, and gently press down so that they’re partly submerged.
- Cover the skillet, and simmer for another 7-10 mins, until the tofu is warmed through.
- Finish with few grinds of black pepper and some torn coriander leaves.
- Serve immediately with fresh bread.
- Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the ‘fridge for up to 3 days.
- You can use as many chillies as you like!
- I don’t bother to de-seed chillies, or remove the veins, as you lose a lot of the flavour – I’d rather keep that flavour, and just use fewer chillies.
- Instead of passata and fresh tomatoes, you could use canned chopped tomatoes.
- If you don’t have smoked paprika, use the same amount of regular paprika + 1 tsp liquid smoke.
- Carefully slice the block of tofu in half lengthways, so that you have two flatter blocks. Using a glass or cookie cutter, cut out two rounds from each block. Use leftover tofu in Asian soups, smoothies, etc.
- 1 cup = US cup = 240 ml
- 1 tbsp = US/UK = 15 ml
- 1 fl oz = US = 30 ml