I’ve been on quite the vegetable kick lately. Before now, I never realized how easy it was to just throw together a meaty main dish for dinner and call it a day. Now I’ve really had to get creative so that salad is not the only thing on the menu. One of the most hearty vegetarian dishes on my rotation is shakshuka. It has an earthy yet spicy kick thanks to some key ingredients, and it spoons just so perfectly onto a steaming loaf of Homemade Bread.
Having made a number of shakshuka dishes in my day, I decided that it was time to put my own spin on the Middle Eastern classic. I noticed that using regular ‘ol chicken eggs left a big hard yolk after cooking that I wasn’t a huge fan of. The solution? Go smaller! Quail eggs are pretty adorable, I won’t lie, and they can be found at most markets, or in my case the 99 Ranch down the street. I tossed in some zoodles because of course we have to be “on trend” over here, and voila! The results were scrumptious.
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 red bell peppers
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 zucchinis
- 10 quail eggs
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup goat cheese
- mint and parsley for garnish (1:1 ratio)
- salt + pepper to taste
- crusty bread, for serving
Kitchen Tools: oven-proof skillet (I opted for cast iron), spiralizer or julienne tool
Halve + peel onions, then thinly slice. Remove tops and seeds of bell peppers and thinly slice lengthwise. Mince garlic. Spiralize or julienne zucchini. Finely chop mint and parsley for your garnish to get about a heaping tbsp of each.
Preheat oven to 400*F. Heat olive oil in oven-proof skillet on medium low heat. Toss in sliced onions and bell peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. It’s a long time but trust me, the results are so worth it. While your onions and peppers are doing their thing, you can prep the rest of your ingredients or dance around the kitchen to your favorite anthem. I’ll leave that up to you.
Bring heat to medium and add in spices. Stir well the fully coat the peppers and onions. Use your hands (this is the fun part) to smoosh the whole peeled tomatoes before they go in the pan. Pour in the remaining liquid. Season again with salt. Let the mixture cook down, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Stir in zucchini.
Using a spoon, create little pockets in the shakshuka for the eggs to go in. You won’t need to “dig” all the way to the bottom of the pan, just give them enough space so that each egg stays together. Use a sharp knife to cut the top off each quail egg (this is the only realistic way to get the yolk out whole) and upend them into their little nests. Crumble goat cheese on top and place the dish in the oven. (This is also a good time to scoot your bread in there too) Cook for 15 minutes or until egg white are opaque. If you added the bread, keep an eye on it and pull it out when it starts to brown slightly on top.
Top with chopped mint and parsley. Serve with warmed crusty bread.
Tips + Tricks
- I know quail eggs are pretty obscure, so don’t fret if you can’t find them. You can most definitely use regular chicken eggs, just instead of 10, I would downsize to about 5 or 6.
- If you do use regular eggs, be sure to add 5-7 minutes on to your cooking time to make sure that the egg whites fully cook.