Shakshuka Pizza puts a spin on two ethnic foods, combining them in one dish bursting with flavors from abroad. The whole wheat crust is crunchy and soft in all the right places, ferrying spiced tomato sauce, vegetables, and runny eggs right to your mouth.
Let’s say you cut a pizza pie into eight slices and Mary takes half of the pie to share with her brother. If Anne eats three times as much as you do, how many slices of pizza do you each have for lunch?
God only knows why math teachers always fall back on pizza to teach, but hey, at least now I’m not terrible with numbers. Pizza wasn’t just for math lessons, though. We had it every Wednesday for lunch in pre-k though eighth grade, showed up at countless birthday parties and camp activities. Even college groups still use it as a bribe for attendance and some weddings serve it at the smorgasbord.
Those Italians were really on to something when they topped bread dough with tomato sauce and melty cheese, because now we can’t get enough of it.
The best pizza I ever had was actually at Baghetto Milky in Rome almost exactly four years ago. My mom, aunt and I visited my cousin during her semester abroad. As they say, when in Rome do like the Romans do, and so we did. It was like living Eat, Pray, Love every time I chowed down on a bowl of handmade pasta or a fresh-from-the-oven slice. Suffice it say none of the pizza shops back home could compete.
Switch gears for a minute and travel across the ocean to Israel, where I fell in love with shakshuka. Eggs cooked until the whites are just set and the yolks paint bright yellow streaks across the sautéed vegetables in a tomato base. Sometimes, if I felt adventurous, I added eggplant or feta cheese, along with the usual tahini drizzle and crusty bread to mop up all the last bits. My favorite part? It always arrived from the kitchen in a mini skillet, not too small and not too big, but just right.
Armed with more global tastes, I flew home again, ready to recreate the flavors that captivated me.
For the sake of starting at the beginning, I tackled Italy first. Making the dough seemed most challenging, except then it wasn’t. Not even close. It’s similar to making challah dough, which is more therapeutic than anything. I used whole wheat flour for the pizza, because of its deeper earthy flavor. After that it’s a simple matter of activating your yeast and working out those arm muscles while you knead. I’m telling you, if you ever need a way to vent frustrations– make a batch of dough.
Then comes the fun part. I could have just made shakshuka like everyone else does, but where’s the fun in that? Instead of cooking it in a skillet, no matter how cool I feel eating out of one, I PUT IT ON THE PIZZA DOUGH. Cue the gasps, the wide-eyed stares of disbelief and awe as you think how did I not think of that? Don’t worry, that’s why you have me.
In less than half an hour after sliding the pan into the oven, you’ll be savoring your first slice of Shakshuka Pizza. The taste of cultures colliding on your tongue is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, this whole wheat crust is the perfect vehicle for your runny egg dreams. Traditional shakshuka uses fresh tomatoes, but to blend it better with pizza we’re opting for tomato sauce and adding spices and herbs to our heart’s content. Next come the chopped vegetables, to both see and taste the rainbow. Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for, crack the eggs right on top of everything and send it back to the oven for its last baking session.
Skillet-free, easy, customizable, this Shakshuka Pizza is the food of the future. Go ahead, lick your fingers when you’re done, I won’t tell.
If you try this recipe, I’d love your feedback. Leave a comment below, save it on Pinterest, or tag #lensesandlentils on Instagram so that I can see your creations!
- 2¼ tsp active yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tsp coconut or brown sugar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp oregano
- ¾ tsp basil
- ½ tsp paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- handful baby spinach
- ½ bell pepper, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped mushrooms
- 4 eggs
- OPTIONAL: dash red pepper flakes
- Combine the yeast, water, and sugar in a bowl. Set aside to activate for 5 minutes; it should develop a layer of foam on top.
- In a mixing bowl whisk the flour and salt. Pour in the yeast mixture and oil, mixing well until a ball of dough forms. Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic, springing back when you press your thumb into it.*
- Lightly oil the bowl and cover with a thin towel for the dough to rise for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, then line a pan with parchment paper.
- Once the pizza dough is done rising, punch it down and begin rolling it out on the pan into desire shape. Brush both sides with oil as you stretch it out, pulling the edges up a little higher to form a crust.
- In a small bowl, combine the tomato sauce with remaining spices, then top dough with the sauce. Distribute the vegetables evenly over the dough, and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and gently crack 4 eggs onto the pizza, keeping the yolks intact. Return to the oven and bake for 8-12 more minutes, until the whites are just set and the yolks still runny.
*If the dough is too sticky, add up to ¼ cup more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.