Shakshuka with Red Lentils and Feta Cheese

4.88 from 8 votes
45 minutes
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Shakshuka with Red Lentils and Feta Cheese is a heartier twist on traditional shakshuka.  Red lentils are smaller than conventional brown or green lentils so they cook faster for a skillet meal that’s perfect anytime!

Photo of Shakshuka with Red Lentils and Feta Cheese in cast iron skillet on blue background.

What is shakshuka:

Every so often, a traditional dish a culture or numerous cultures have been making for forever catches on worldwide.  Shakshuka is one of those dishes.  Seems shakshuka recipes are everywhere!

Shakshuka (also spelled shakshouka) is a dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce.  The exact origin is unknown, but it’s from the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern region which encompasses many countries.  Italians call their version, Eggs in Purgatory.

Although it has many variations, the typical shakshuka always has tomatoes, some form of chili pepper, garlic and spices.  Because it’s so saucy, a typical shakshuka is served with lots of warm pita bread on the side.

I’ve wanted to make shakshuka for a while now to find out what the buzz is all about.  And yes, friends, it’s worth the buzz!  Once you make it, you’re hooked!

How to make Shakshuka with Red Lentils and Feta Cheese:

  • Start with a good, heavy skillet–stainless steel or cast iron.  A thin-bottomed skillet can cause the tomatoes to burn.
  • IMPORTANT:  Only use a cast iron skillet if it’s well-seasoned.  If it’s a new skillet, the acid from the tomatoes can strip the light layer of seasoning and you’ll end up with a metallic taste.  I find every excuse on the planet to pull out my cast iron skillet so I felt confident it would work here and it did; my seasoning was not affected with no hint of metal.
  • Cook onions and a red Fresno chili pepper until soft.  Add a chopped roasted red bell pepper (from a jar) and some garlic, crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, spices and uncooked red lentils.  Simmer covered until the lentils are soft.
Photo of cooked lentils in tomato sauce being stirred with wooden spoon.
  • Make some wells with a wooden spoon then place an egg in each well…
Photo of four wells in tomato and lentil mixture made with wooden spoon.
  • Cook covered until the eggs are just set….
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley and feta cheese and mwaaahhhhh!  Shakshuka with Red Lentils and Feta Cheese!
Photo of Shakshuka with Red Lentils and Feta Cheese in cast iron skillet.

Because the lentils add body to the sauce, you can skip all that pita bread if you’d like and it’s hearty enough for dinner!

Close-up photo of Shakshuka with Red Lentils and Feta Cheese with in cast iron pan.

You can vary shakshuka in numerous ways:

  • Add spinach, kale, chard or any leafy green.
  • Use green bell pepper instead of the red bell pepper
  • Throw in some cooked, diced potatoes.
  • Add cooked sausage such as chorizo, kielbasa, andouille or Italian.

Now let’s eat!  Shakshuka with Red Lentils and Feta Cheese!  Soooo good!

Photo of one of the eggs from the shakshuka being lifted out of skillet with spoon.

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Shakshuka with Red Lentils and Feta Cheese - Overhead hero shot in cast iron skillet on blue blackground

Shakshuka with Red Lentils and Feta Cheese

4.88 from 8 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Shakshuka with Red Lentils and Feta Cheese is a heartier twist on traditional shakshuka.  Red lentils are smaller than conventional brown or green lentils so they cook faster for a skillet meal that’s perfect anytime!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Breakfast and Brunch
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4
Calories 219 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion - red or yellow, finely chopped
  • 1 Fresno chile - chopped
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper - from a jar, patted dry, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 can (28-ounce) crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
  • Cayenne pepper - to taste
  • 1/4 cup dry red lentils
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet such as cast iron.
  • Add the onion and chile, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 5-6 minutes or until soft. Add the roasted red bell pepper and garlic. Cook 30 seconds or until garlic is fragrant.
  • Add tomatoes, cumin, paprika, cayenne and lentils.
  • Bring up to a good simmer over medium heat, reduce heat to low, cover and cook 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. (If your lentils are new, they may not take as long.)
  • Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  • With the back of spoon, press to create 4 wells in the tomato-lentil mixture.
  • Carefully crack an egg into each well. Cover the skillet and cook 7-8 minutes or until eggs are just set.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Notes

TOMATOES ARE AN ACIDIC FOOD. ONLY USE CAST IRON WITH TOMATOES IF YOUR PAN IS WELL-SEASONED.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 194mg | Sodium: 310mg | Potassium: 299mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 891IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 3mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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4.88 from 8 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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5 Comments

  1. Came out great! I try to incorporate lentils anyway I can. Plus, I like that the lentils cook in the dish as to cooking the lentils separately. I also added cinnamon. It’s even more delicious with baguette. Definitely cooking this again! Husband liked it too. Yay!

    1. Hi, Candace, Thanks so very much and so glad you enjoyed! I love lentils, too! Will have to try with a touch of cinnamon. Thanks again!

  2. 5 stars
    Eggs in Purgatory are a favourite in my household, as are red lentils. It’s with a lot of joy that I found this recipe. So nutritious and also so tasty… and now I know what shakshuka is.