MOVE OVER WHEATIES....
There's a new champion in town.
Shakshuka (Moroccan dish with stewed tomato and baked egg) is the perfect breakfast meal. It's hearty but won't leave you with that weird carb hangover feeling you get after you eat pancakes or almond croissants.
And while I wax poetic about my dear stew, I can't help but smile when I recall the first time I was introduced to to it. Interestingly, I discovered Shakshuka not on my many trips to Israel, but many years before I even stepped foot in the country, as a child on a beach vacation in Myrtle Beach with my family. We visited the one kosher restaurant in town, a Mediterranean joint run by sun-kissed Israelis, a detail which normally would have excited me, as I always relish running into Israelis in unexpected places. But in Myrtle Beach it wasn't so novel, because we frequently ran into Israelis all over the city. They peppered the board walks, peddling crass T-shirts and sugary snow cones, and license plate magnets advertising names like Kelly, Daniel, Justin, and Amy. Anyways, it was at that Israeli kosher restaurant that my cousin Franny (12 at the time, while I was 10) introduced me to my first bowl of shakshuka.
Since then I've tasted many iterations of the classic dish- green tomatillos, red pepper, shakshuka & hummus... and I've tested a few versions of my own - tomato and watermelon, fennel tomato, tomato & pesto... but this version is my all time favorite- stewed tomato with black olives, sun dried tomatoes and za'atar. I top it off with a bit of silan (date honey), and tons and tons of herbs. It's transcendent.
I debuted the dish publicly this morning at our 7th Wandering (wow!). And I've made this recipe many times before, but this time, there was a twist. Instead of baking the eggs directly in the stew, I soft boiled them separately. This technique renders the dish accessible for both vegans and non vegans alike and preserves the eggs (they last in the fridge for about 5 days, stored in an airtight container). And so it was the perfect example of a recipe that could be prepared ahead of time, stored for many days, and applied in many ways, throughout the work week. These are qualities that I seek out in most dishes that I make. These are the qualities that make healthful eating EASY. And easy breezy wellness just so happened to be the focus of our brunch....
The brunch was hosted by Logan Exchange, a new co working space in DC. Inspired by the space, Aley and I sought out to use the space to discuss strategies to effortlessly and organically infuse wellness into the workweek.
And so we kicked off the morning with a batch plant based cooking workshop - tips and hacks to make healthy eating easy throughout the week- and a desk friendly yoga session. We then migrated upstairs to the main conference room, a dazzling space that overlooks Logan Circle, and pours in buckets of soft natural light.
While Aley and I have actively tried to avoid the topic of work at our gatherings, we saw a true desire to discuss tactical plans to reduce work stress and create routines to support a healthful life at work and beyond. This shakshuka is just one example of a dish that can be prepared on a Sunday, and used throughout the week in a multitude of ways, such as:
- soft boiled egg as a topping for a grain bowl
- soft boiled egg as a topping for a salad
- shakhuka stew on whole grain pasta
- shakshuka stew on a sandwich with grilled chicken
- shakhuka stew with chickpeas and lentils
- shakhuka stew with polenta
- shakhuka stew with spaghetti squash and melted cheese
It's a dish that's easy to make, easy to store and easy to enjoy. Healthful and mindful eating is a powerful force in combating stress. It's an important act of self care and helps you become strongest, sharpest, most nourished version of you. If time is the biggest barrier to eating well, this dish (and others that we shared at The Wandering) could change the way you respond to stress. Eating is an impactful act on your body and mind, and it's one of the most powerful tools we have in alleviating stress. After all, how could we possibly manage to stave off anxiety & stress, and truly be mindful & present, if we've got a weird pancake hangover to deal with? ;)
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 white onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/4 cup of black olives
- 1/4 cup of chopped sun dried tomatoes
- 1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 can of pureed tomato
- 1/4 cup of vegetable broth
- 1 tbs of date honey
- 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup of chopped dill
- 1/4 cup of chopped scallions
- 7 eggs, soft boiled (5 mins, rolling boil)
Saute onion in olive oil, salt and pepper, on med heat until translucent. Then, add chopped garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add the olives and tomato, cook for a few mins. Add the tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 mins.
Drizzle date honey on top of stew. Add all the chopped herbs. Top with soft boiled eggs and coarse salt.