Easy Baked Shakshuka with Fennel and Goat Cheese

Shakshuka in skillet
Photo: Kathryn Pfeffer-Scanlan MS, RD

If the really cool name does not draw you already, the taste definitely will! Shakshuka, also seen spelled as shakshouka or chakchouka, many say originated in North Africa, however you will see it in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine as well. The name simply means “all mixed up.” The recipe is so versatile, which makes a great dish for using leftover vegetables and spices.  I decided to add fennel for the winter season and yes, because I had some leftover in my refrigerator!

Low in Iron?

Eggs may not contain the highest amount of iron, but in two servings of large eggs providing 2mg, it does add up throughout the day. What makes this dish an excellent iron absorber is the high amounts of vitamin C in the tomatoes. Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron, especially nonheme iron — a form not as easily absorbed and mainly found in plant-based and egg products. Heme iron sources on the other hand are more easily absorbed and can be found in animal products, such as meat, fish, and poultry.

What also makes eggs so egg-cellent? They are an excellent source of choline! An important nutrient our body needs for brain development (yes I am talking to you pregnant ladies!) and muscle activity. Two large eggs provide 294mg alone; it is recommended that we aim for 425 to 550mg per day for males and females (even more for pregnant mamas!).

In this Easy Baked Shakshuka Recipe …

This recipe makes a balanced meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner; just try adding your favorite whole grain (gluten-free or gluten-containing such as a baguette). Not a bread fan? Try creamy polenta, corn tortillas or quinoa (all are gluten-free!). If you prefer more vegetables, add some fresh spinach or arugula! Want more protein? Sneak in some chickpeas before placing in the oven. However you choose to create this versatile dish, I hope it is enjoyed with good company!


Easy Baked Shakshuka with Fennel and Goat Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium onion diced
  • 1 bulb fennel chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika ground
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin ground
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes no salt added preferred
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 ounces goat cheese crumbled or sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a 10″ (or larger) cast iron skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Saute the onions and and fennel cook until softening, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and spices and cook for an additional minute to make aromatic.
  4. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid thickens, up to 10 minutes. Crack the eggs over the pan and distribute evenly over the pan (can do 5 eggs around the edge and 1 egg in the middle).
  5. Sprinkle the goat cheese and rosemary on top. Slowly transfer the dish to the oven. Bake for up to 10 minutes or until the middle of the eggs are set. *Check at the 5 minute mark if you prefer runny eggs. For harder, cooked eggs cook a little longer than 10 minutes.
  6. Top with additional fresh rosemary or other herbs.
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Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan
Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical Registered Dietitan in Boulder, CO. She also runs her own food blog called One Hungry Bunny. Follow her on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.