Shakshouka of a vegetarian persuasion

Don’t you just hate when a blog post starts with “We all know that…”. In my case apparently I had to know all about what a Shakshouka was. Ironically, in the first post I read, it was spelled incorrectly. 

Well, I didn’t know what a Shakshouka was. So, I may be one of the seven on earth that hasn’t heard of it at all. Before today. 

Researching the topic, I found that a Shakshouka is a traditional breakfast dish, where eggs are poached in a wonderful sauce of tomatoes, chillies, peppers, garlic. Add to this cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and nutmeg. This sounded interesting, but I didn’t want the eggs. And lo and behold, I saw my container of soaked chickpeas in the fridge. By the way – soaked chickpeas are way better than canned ones. The flavour is completely dissimilar. The canned ones (even the very good brand I use) is quite underwhelming. And if you use it for convenience sake, stop it. Soaking chickpeas is a little bit of labour and a whole lot of return on labour. Stop being lazy. 

I found a lovely recipe on that contained the word “foolproof”. Interestingly the site says that the word Shakshouka comes from Arabic and means “all mixed up”. Applying this, it does seem as if the world is Shakshouka these days! Some sites claim the origin to be Tunisian, and when you look at the ingredients, you can see why. Well, African or Middle Eastern, who cares. It tastes the same. 

Using the liquid from chickpeas (called aquafaba) as an egg replacement in meals, I thought – well, let’s use the entire chickpea to replace the eggs. 


Not only did I get a very pretty dish, it was absolutely lovely! My son and his girlfriend popped in and dug into the leftovers and raved about it too. (I saw the packet of KFC cooling on the counter as the dish was attacked, he he). 

Shakshouka of a vegetarian persuasion

Lose the eggs, add the chickpeas and create a delicious meal.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Middle-Eastern
Keyword: chickpea, chillies, peppers, Tomato, vegetarian
Servings: 6 people


  • Pressure cooker


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium diced white onion ½
  • 3 cloves garlic minced (3 cloves yield ~1 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 1 cup oven-roasted bell peppers (see recipe) chopped up
  • 1 can Italian chopped tomato
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 cups fresh steam-cooked chickpeas
  • 4-5 halved green olives


  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Add the spices (not the coriander) and asafoetida. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and fragrant. The spices should stick to the bottom. stir this and scrape the bottom. This will deglaze with the tomatoes.
  • Add tomato or fresh diced tomatoes, sugar and sea salt, Stir to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. If you're OK with a chunkier texture, leave as is. Or, scoop 3/4 of the sauce in the blender and blend until smooth for a creamier result!
  • Add chickpeas and olives. Stir to combine. Then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop and marry with the beans.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding the coriander and some more smoked paprika for smokiness, cayenne for heat, sugar for sweetness, cumin for wholesome earthiness, or chili powder for smoke/heat.
  • Serve as is or with bread, pasta, or rice. Garnish with freshly squeezed limes, additional olives, and cilantro for extra flavor.
  • Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat on the stovetop until completely warmed through.

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