This vegan spin on shakshuka is made with spinach and lemony pan-fried tofu (in place of eggs!) in a smoky tomato and red pepper sauce. It's perfect for breakfast or dinner, easy to make, and absolutely delicious scooped up on crusty pita wedges.
For a long time I've been both intrigued and grossed out by the idea of shakshuka. Grossed out because: eggs. They were always at the top of my least favorite foods list. But even if I could never get past the taste and the smell of eggs, I've got to admit, they cook up in some pretty cool ways.
The eggs in shakshuka get poached right in the sauce, which is pretty cool indeed. That's one of the reasons the dish always sounded so intriguing to me. That and the sauce itself.
I got my hands on a jar of shakshuka sauce a couple of years ago (the sauce was vegan — yay!) and loved it. I created by own version and started cooking all kinds of things in it. Tofu and greens were my favorite! Tofu has an eggy texture that works great in dishes like tofu scramble and even vegan quiche. And I love greens in just about anything!
Maybe tofu and greens don't do that cool congealing as they cook in the sauce thing like eggs, but you can't win 'em all. They make up for their lack of poachability in deliciousness.
This dish starts with tofu. Pan-fry your tofu in a skillet according to this method. Once it's browned and crispy, add a bit of lemon juice, turmeric (purely for color — at least it makes the dish look more eggy), salt and pepper. If you want your tofu to actually taste eggy, use kala namak instead of regular salt.
Take the tofu out of the skillet and add some onion and bell peppers. Sauté them until they soften up a bit.
Next, add tomatoes and spices. Let everything simmer until the veggies are fully cooked and the flavors have mellowed.
Spinach goes in towards the end, and you'll let it simmer for just a few minutes, to wilt, before adding the tofu back in.
Top your vegan shakshuka with a generous sprinkling of parsley and cilantro before serving.
FAQ & Tips for Making Awesome Vegan Shakshuka
- If you actually want your tofu to taste eggy, try sprinkling it with kala namak (a.k.a. "black salt") instead of regular salt. Kala namak has a high sulfur content, so it makes things taste like eggs. It's available at most Indian grocery stores, or on Amazon.
- Feel free to substitute another variety of greens. I've made it with chard and it was equally delicious, though the chard does need a few extra minutes of cook time compared to spinach.
- I highly recommend serving your shakshuka with some crusty bread or pita wedges for scooping up the sauce.
- Is this dish gluten-free? It certainly is!
Vegan Tofu & Spinach Shakshuka
This vegan spin on shakshuka is made with spinach and lemony pan-fried tofu (in place of eggs!) in a smoky tomato and red pepper sauce. It's perfect for breakfast or dinner, and absolutely delicious scooped up on crusty pita wedges.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 (14 ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon turmeric, or more to taste
- ½ teaspoon salt*, or more to taste
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 medium red bell peppers, roughly chopped (1-inch pieces)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (14 ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
- 4 ounces fresh spinach, finely chopped
- Black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Coat the bottom of a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil and place it over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, add the tofu in an even layer.
Cook the tofu for about 10 minutes, flipping once or twice to achieve browning on multiple sides.
Sprinkle the lemon juice, turmeric, and ½ teaspoon of salt over the tofu. Flip it a few times to distribute the seasonings and cook for about 30 seconds more, until most of the lemon juice has dried up.
Remove the tofu from the skillet and transfer it to a plate.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and give it a minute to heat up.
When the oil is hot, add the onion and bell peppers. Sauté them for about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften.
Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper to the skillet. Sauté everything for about 1 minute more, until the garlic becomes very fragrant.
Stir in the crushed tomatoes and fire roasted tomatoes. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
Lower the heat and allow the sauce to simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until the peppers are soft and the sauce has thickened a bit. You can add a splash of water if it gets too thick while simmering.
Stir in the spinach and allow the mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes more, until the spinach has fully wilted.
Stir in the tofu and allow everything to simmer for about 1 minute more — just enough time for the tofu to heat back up and absorb a bit of the sauce.
Remove the skillet from the heat and season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
Top with parsley and cilantro.
Divide onto plates and serve.
*For extra eggy flavor, season your tofu with kala namak instead of regular table salt.