So you are probably wondering what on earth you are looking at. At least that was my reaction when I first saw a picture of shakshouka. The dish of poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce is often served for breakfast with crusty bread and has North African and Middle Eastern roots, but I can't claim to know how it is traditionally prepared. This is just a riff off of this beautiful smitten kitten recipe I found a while back and can't stop making.
I wanted a more hearty version of it, since I find myself eating shakshouka for dinner as well as breakfast. To bulk up the meal, I added sweet peppers, some spinach and more onion, and I kicked it up a notch with some extra spice! This one-pan meal is filled with warming, earthy flavors like cumin and cayenne pepper that are perfect for these cold months ahead. And since the dish is almost entirely veggies, it is relatively easy on the wallet — something I always appreciate moving into December.
- Boosts immune system: Tomatoes, spinach and peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C.
- Promotes healthy skin/cells: Tomatoes, spinach and peppers are also rich in vitamin A, which is needed for cell repair and regeneration.
- Promotes strong bones: Cooked spinach is high in vitamin K and calcium. Vitamin K makes sure minerals are deposited into the bones where they are needed.
- Contributes to healthy body and brain function: Spinach is rich in iron that our body needs to transport oxygen.
- Reduces risk of cancer: Cooked tomatoes are rich in the phytochemical lycopene, which is associated with the significant reduction of prostate cancer in men especially when consumed with fat (egg yolk) to aid the absorption of lycopene. Other studies strongly suggest lycopene may protect against stomach, lung, oral, breast and cervical cancers as well.
- Promotes eye health: Eggs and spinach contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that that promote eye health by preventing macular degeneration. The fat from the egg yolk also helps absorb them.
- Provides great source of protein: Eggs contain all nine essential amino acids that our body needs but cannot synthesize.
- Contains choline (in the eggs), an essential part of the phospholipid phosphatidylcholine, which helps our bodies ensure that fat and cholestrol do not accumulate in the liver.
There are certainly more benefits, but I'll leave my list at that for now. If you want to read more about the benefits of certain foods, I highly recommend The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Dr. Jonny Bowden (C.N.S).