Food

A Perfect Cheesy, Eggy Dinner

shakshuka recipe with polenta

When your everyday dinners need a pick-me-up, where do you look for inspiration? We love love love the comment sections here, and we’re excited to kick off a month of reader recipes. First up, Deanna is sharing her version of shakshuka. “It’s a beloved Mediterranean and Middle Eastern meal,” she says, “and I usually have all the ingredients on hand.” Here’s how to make it…

shakshuka recipe with polenta

Tomato–Poached Eggs Over Parmesan Polenta

Deanna, a pediatric intensive care nurse practitioner, first described her go-to recipe in a comment on this post, and we’ve been curious to try it ever since. “I’ve been making this dish for over ten years. I work crazy hours and having a back–pocket dish is great for those nights when I want something quick — but also homemade, healthy and filling.”

You’ll need:

Jarred tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
Eggs
Polenta
Chicken or vegetable broth
Parmesan cheese

Pour some pasta sauce or crushed tomatoes into a shallow frying pan, heated on medium–low. Crack eggs into pan and cover until the egg whites are almost set, about 5 to 8 minutes. “I’ll turn the heat off when the whites are almost set and let it sit covered for a few more minutes so that the eggs can finish cooking in the retained heat,” says Deanna. In a separate sauce pan, make the polenta according to package instructions with broth and stir in some parmesan cheese at the end. Serve tomatoes and eggs over polenta. Finish with salt and coarsely ground fresh pepper, if you’d like. “Dinner, easy as that,” says Deanna.

shakshuka recipe with polenta

Thank you so much for this, Deanna! Sounds delicious.

P.S. More recipes, including classic tomato soup and apple and goat cheese flatbread.

(Photos by Ali Stafford for Cup of Jo. Thanks to Franny Eremin for helping with this series.)

  1. Oh my! I NEED to try this, it looks amazing!!
    Thank you for a great recipe!!

    Kat

  2. Lori says...

    I’m sorry for a seemingly ignorant question, but you say jarred tomatoes. Are we talking plain, blended tomatoes, or pasta sauce? Thanks, asking for a friend.

    • Jane says...

      You can use any tomato base for shakshuka. I can be jarred sauce, crushed tomatos or something spicier. If you search shakshuka recipes you’ll see that it’s a really flexible recipe

  3. Min says...

    I made this tonight for the fam and it was fantastic. Added some extra parmesan to finish the eggs, and we ate it with a side of French beans. Thanks for the great recipe, it’s a keeper!

  4. When I read jarred tomato sauce, I immediately thought “pizza sauce” !!! This must be delicious!

  5. Oooh, I love the sound of this dish, especially with the addition of polenta :-) I’m going to try making it with fried mushrooms instead of crushed tomatoes… yum!

  6. Sherry McLaughlin says...

    OMG………..I made this for dinner tonight, read about it last night and today went out for the corn meal……….what a very good dinner, excellent in every way. So Easy to make and so darn delicious that I had helpings. In fact the corn meal is out on the counter to make for tomorrow, ready to go.

    This made my day……..Thank you so much for this recipe.

  7. Sofia says...

    I have to say, a great website for dinners is Jessica Seinfeld’s.

    They are tasty, easy and most have videos. HUGE lifesaver. The fish tacos here are easy to make with some TJs frozen haddock (to make things even simpler).

    http://jessicaseinfeld.com/recipes/crispy-fish-taco-salad

    Sofia

  8. Carrie Smith says...

    Variations of this are a regular in our house too, especially as it starts to cool off. I also use the tomato sauce to do quick braises – chicken thighs, sausages, meatballs…. it works with just about anything. Just brown the meat then nestle it in the sauce as you cook the polenta. And bonus. You can cool the leftover polenta, cut it into slices, and fry it in a pan to transform your leftovers. Two thumbs up!

  9. Adi says...

    Well I live in Israel and have been eating Shakshookas for decades.
    The basis is thick tomato sauce (NOT TOO WATERY).
    I make it from scratch – fried onions, garlic, a can of crashed tomatoes, a small can of concentrated tomatoes, salt, pepper, and something hot – in Israel there’s a paste called “sechoog” which is Yaman but any hot paste/sauce/spice or even fresh hot pepper will do. Though you should be carful not to use too much.
    When the sauce is very hot add the eggs and it is up to you how solid you want it.
    When ready serve with fresh parsly, feta or other cheese and a lot of bread.
    You can also make it reacher with mushrooms, zuccini or eggplant fried with the onions.

  10. Love this series idea! Excited to see a gateway polenta idea for my husband and I to try ;)

  11. Liz says...

    I have pinned so many shakshuka recipes and I still haven’t made it, this looks awesome! These are all of my favorite ingredients.

  12. anna says...

    This is wonderful! I used to make something almost identical when I was a student and living by myself, except I’d use breadcrumbs instead of the polenta (you add a thin layer to the bottom of the pan and then add a little milk before the other ingredients). But I love the polenta idea even more! Thank you!

  13. Tori says...

    This looks good! I make the New York Times recipe for shakshuka except instead of feta I shred whatever cheese we have over top, and dollop sour cream and add avocado slices after taking it out of the oven. So so yummy!

  14. Annis says...

    I was reading the comments on the article that you linked and it made me think of my (now retired) colleague.
    When his kids fought, they had to make a ‘therapizza’ (therapy pizza) because in choosing toppings, agreeing on them, making the dough etc they also had to talk about what they were fighting about ànd dinner was made. Such a nice idea!

    • This is amazing:) Storing it away for future use.

    • Anna says...

      I love this idea so much too!

  15. Aimee says...

    My husband’s country as a dish like this called Chickchooka. It has bell peppers, onion, tomatoes with a egg scrambled into it; it is super good. I want to try making this as well. Thanks!

  16. corina says...

    This is definitely not shakshuka, but none the less, it looks tasty. The original version makes for a perfect breakfast too, especially if you have some bread on hand to use it as a spoon ^^

  17. Julia says...

    Yum! Yum!

    How do we submit a recipe for consideration?

    • Franny Eremin says...

      You can write your recipe here, Julia! Would love to see it. xx

  18. This sounds so so good. Even though the lazy girl in me almost stopped reading when I saw “In a separate saucepan…” Hahahhahahh!

    • Franny Eremin says...

      Hahahaha. Same, Jasmine!

    • Katie says...

      Just buy the preface polenta roll then or use crusty bread 😉that’s my go to!

  19. Elizabeth says...

    Trying this tonight! Sounds delish.

  20. Amy says...

    This is on the menu for this week. All my favorite ingredients:)

  21. Grace says...

    We make this all the time only we serve it over quinoa instead of polenta!

  22. Stephi says...

    I loooove shakshuka! And it’s one of the three dishes my husband can make too :) It’s super simple and super delicious.

  23. Heather says...

    Yummmm! I think we are going to try something like this for dinner on Friday. I would love to spice it up a bit with some chili flakes, and maybe serve it with a nice green salad on the side and a big glass of red wine. Thanks for sharing Deanna and COJ team – can’t wait to give this a go!

  24. Sasha L says...

    Can’t wait to try this, adding to next week’s menu! Thank you!

    We make polenta with garlicy greens and hot sauce, and sometimes black beans too.

    Here’s another jarred sauce hack: Congo tofu (could be garbanzos or potatoes too). Saute onions, garlic, fresh ginger. Add favorite jar of spaghetti sauce. Heat. Add a few tablespoons of peanut butter. Voila! That’s it. And I know it seems weird, but so so good. We just add marinated over baked tofu, or roasted potatoes, or garbanzos, and serve over rice or pasta. You can add cilantro and green onions. In a pinch I’ve done dried minced garlic and onions + sauce + pb, that’s it, and just about as good.

    • Cate says...

      This is amazing! I’m mostly vegan and this is a great idea!

  25. This looks like such a wonderful and simple dish to cook! I love eggs as they are staple food in my highly energetic floral career. This dish will be perfect for when I come home tired and need a healthy, simple dinner.

  26. M says...

    Our version doesn’t have polenta in it, but my kids love this–even the picky one :)

  27. Mandy says...

    Yummy! Can’t wait to try this! Thanks for sharing :)

  28. LB says...

    I make this (or actually, a version w/o polenta, closer to shakshuka) – with a jar of my favorite salsa that’s perfectly garlicy and smokey. It’s so easy to throw in a small cast iron skillet, sprinkle with feta or any other cheese, and enjoy with bread.

  29. Margaret says...

    You could easily make this one pan by cooking the polenta, then simply adding the tom sauce layered on top of the polenta and cooking the egg all together. Bonus points for eating it out of the saucepan itself! (Or maybe that’s just me being lazy.)

    You can also do all this in the oven if that’s easier for people by getting pre-cooked polenta (often sold in logs), slicing it, and arranging them on the bottom of a baking dish. Adding whatever sauce on top and baking the egg in it using basic baked egg instructions (375°F for 7-9 mins)! Dinner done!

  30. Claire says...

    delicious! I am going to give this a try! thank you.

  31. ray says...

    On hard nights I make plain quinoa and serve it with a tin of mackerels. Or we have cinnamon porridge.

  32. corn grits are polenta!! no way!

  33. Gill F. says...

    Do you all think this would still be yummy without the cheese? Anything else I could add as a sub to jazz it up? Because this looks soooo good!

    • Lynn says...

      This may not be your thing, but garlicy greens go so well with polenta and eggs.

    • Claire says...

      Maybe some sautéed mushrooms? or olives, roasted garlic cloves, carmelized onions, diced artichoke hearts. If you eat meat then maybe some crispy prosciutto, or something similar.

    • Elle says...

      Maybe nutritional yeast and/or pine nuts?

  34. eg says...

    Shakshuka is the best! This one looks really good. I’ve been in agony all summer since the gas line in our building is under repair so I haven’t been able to use the stove for months. I have to live vicariously through food blogs.
    But, if we’re sharing reader recipes, I’m a reader, and here’s the only recipe that I have been asked for repeatedly, after making it for various baby showers, etc. This is like a pavlova, but better, because it also has a cake layer. You won’t regret it: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Sguviw6G33akxwV1Gol82juJeZ3PPcLesXA3oexX1kY/edit?usp=sharing

  35. mira says...

    My Tunisian safta weeps for this “shakshuka.” Where’s the harissa? Chiles/garlic/coriander? Tomato sauce alone does not a shakshuka make.

    • Eva says...

      Agreed! I love shakshuka, and usually do have all the ingredients on hand, and it doesn’t take too long. But gotta load it up with lots of spices and onions and (controversially) feta is great on it.

    • Deanna says...

      Confession: Since I originally posted the comment way back when, I have indeed come to know the deliciousness of true shakshuka complete with harissa and Chile’s. Indeed, this is probably closer to eggs in purgatory, but it’s still delicious! :)

  36. Stacey says...

    We do this at our house but substitute oats for polenta. Sooo good with sausage too.

  37. Dana says...

    This looks delicious, but I’m both pedantic and Israeli: this egg, polenta and cheese dish has nothing to do with shaksuka

    • I totally agree. This looks delicious, but it isn’t shaksuka!

  38. Carrie says...

    Oh my heavens this looks amazing! I have a feeling this is going to become a weekly meal this fall/winter season

  39. Julie says...

    My husband would LOVE this.

    One of my go-to dinners when my brain is broken and I can’t think of anything new is chicken lettuce wraps with a spicy peanut sauce. They’re so easy and stupid tasty.

    Peanut sauce:
    1/2 cup chunky or smooth peanut butter
    1/4 cup hot water (use more if needed to thin out the sauce)
    2 tbs ketchup (sounds weird, but it really works)
    2 tbs soy sauce
    3 tbs dark brown sugar
    2 green onions sliced thin
    2 tbs Sriracha (more if you like it SPICY)
    1 tsp sesame oil
    2 minced garlic cloves

    -whisk peanut butter and hot water
    -add the rest of the ingredients.

    Chicken:
    -Marinate 3 boneless chicken breasts in olive oil, minced garlic, sesame oil, and a dash of orange juice for 1/2 hour.
    -grill or saute, and cut into small pieces.

    Serve:
    -top Boston Bibb Lettuce leaves with the chicken, then peanut sauce, then chopped peanuts and more scallions. Pickled shredded carrots, cucumbers, or daikon is also a great topping (I use equal parts water, rice wine vinegar, and sugar to pickle them).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this sounds delicious!!

    • Cynthia says...

      Yummy!

    • Min says...

      That sounds delectable!

    • Karli Lancaster says...

      YUM! I want to eat this immediately!

    • Karli says...

      So I made these last night and tonight. They made great ‘back to work’ leftovers xx

  40. Meg says...

    Yum. Looks like such a comforting dish. Will be stopping on my way home for the ingredients!

  41. Christine Hart says...

    Looks great!!

  42. Oh my goodness gracious. With a little crushed red pepper on top? This looks like perfection.

  43. Johanna says...

    This looks delicious!! I can’t wait to try it.