By Mirel Grossman, Dietetic Intern
Tomatoes and Red Bell Peppers: These vegetables both contain the carotenoid lycopene, which give them their signature red color. Lycopene is an antioxidant, which prevents cellular damage from free radicals, lowering risk for chronic disease [iii].
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: As the dominant fat in the Mediterranean diet, consumption of olive oil is associated with many health benefits. The ingredient contains polyphenols, antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), all of which are associated with health benefits. MUFAs have been shown to decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. People who use olive oil as their primary source of fat also tend to have lower BMIs [iv].
Eggs: Once labeled as a “cholesterol raising food,” eggs have gotten the reputation for something that should be limited in one’s diet. However recent studies have shown that although eggs do contain high amounts of cholesterol, they do not increase concern for cardiovascular risk. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and amino acids and are associated with skeletal muscle health [v].
Yields 3 Servings
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons of honey
- 6 large eggs
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat and add diced bell peppers and onions. Cook mixture for 6 minutes or until the onions become translucent.
- Add garlic and spices, and cook for an additional minute.
- Pour a can of tomatoes in its juice into the pan, and break the tomatoes down using a large spoon, then add honey to the pan.
- Season with salt and pepper and bring the sauce to a simmer.
- Use your large spoon to make small wells in the sauce, and crack the eggs into each well.
- Cover the pan and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the eggs are done to your liking.
- Garnish with feta cheese and chopped parsley and enjoy.
- This dish is easily modifiable to fit your taste and lifestyle. For those with sensitivities to acidic foods, add 2.5 cups of spinach and a bunch of kale and omit the tomatoes to make a green shakshuka.
- For a dairy free version of the dish, just simply leave out the feta cheese.
- Olives, capers or pickled onions can all be added for some additional flavor.
- Hummus and Greek yogurt are also great additions for extra protein to the recipe.
- Martini D. Health Benefits of Mediterranean Diet. Nutrients. 2019;11(8):1802. Published 2019 Aug 5. doi:10.3390/nu11081802
- Story EN, Kopec RE, Schwartz SJ, Harris GK. An update on the health effects of tomato lycopene. Annu Rev Food Sci Technol. 2010;1:189-210. doi:10.1146/annurev.food.102308.124120
- Gaforio JJ, Visioli F, Alarcón-de-la-Lastra C, et al. Virgin Olive Oil and Health: Summary of the III International Conference on Virgin Olive Oil and Health Consensus Report, JAEN (Spain) 2018. Nutrients. 2019;11(9):2039. Published 2019 Sep 1. doi:10.3390/nu11092039
- Puglisi MJ, Fernandez ML. The Health Benefits of Egg Protein. Nutrients. 2022;14(14):2904. Published 2022 Jul 15. doi:10.3390/nu14142904