Shakshuka is a North African spiced tomato and pepper dish that has gained considerable popularity in the past few years. It was brought to Israel by Tunisian and other North African Jewish immigrants, who made the dish frequently due to the availability of tomatoes, peppers and herbs local to the region. As Israeli cuisine has spread all over the globe, so too has shakshuka’s reach: you can see it prominently featured on brunch menus and instagram accounts in every corner of the world. Its appeal is no secret: it’s healthful, satisfying and easy to make.
But if making shakshuka still feels intimidating, or you are just looking for products to help get a meal on the table (who isn’t?) there are several high quality shakshuka starter sauces to pick up on your next grocery run.
Whole Foods 365 Brand Shakshuka Simmer Sauce
I stumbled upon Whole Foods’ 365 brand “Shakshuka Simmer Sauce” while looking for my favorite brand of tahini. I grabbed the bottle and upon making it, was surprised by how much I enjoyed the quality and spice of the sauce. It’s a decent sized jar, so it can make several batches of shakshuka for 1-2 people, or is perfect for feeding a larger crowd. Out of all the store-bought shakshuka sauces I have tasted, this is probably my favorite because it has a good amount of spice (listed as ‘medium’ on the jar) and flavor.
Mina Shakshuka Moroccan Tomato Sauce
Mina has an array of high-quality Middle Eastern products including preserved lemons, olive spreads and this Shakshuka Moroccan Tomato Sauce. Subtlty spiced, this shakshuka is pretty widely available (I have found it at both Shop Rite and Whole Foods) and perhaps best of all: it is available from Amazon in a 9 lb container. You will never have to go without shakshuka again.
Trader Joe’s Frozen Shakshuka Starter
Believe it or not, Trader Joe’s was one of the first North American stores to feature their own shakshuka sauce. Trader Joes’ version comes frozen, which is very convenient for a quick and easy meal. While I am typically Trader Joe’s most avid fan, their frozen shakshuka is a bit under spiced, so I typically doctor it up with cumin, paprika and some harissa. Full disclosure: there has been some chatter in the kosher Trader Joe’s Facebook group that this product may soon be discontinued, but nothing is confirmed yet. If you love this product and see it in the frozen aisle, grab a couple extra boxes to keep on hand just in case.
NY Shuk Matbucha
Ok, this product isn’t technically a shakshuka. But NY Shuk recommends using their matbucha not just as a spread or salad, but as a shakshuka starter as well. All of NY Shuk’s products are of the highest quality and taste, though this item is the smallest in quantity, so it is best utilized for a single serving (or for someone you really, really like). NY Shuk products are available at some Whole Foods locations and online.