Simplify Your Shakshuka With The Help Of Jarred Marinara Sauce

Popularized by Israeli cuisine, Shakshuka's origins date long before Israel's nationhood, with roots across the Middle East and North Africa. Despite its fundamentally simple recipe of eggs poached in a skillet of spices, aromatics, and crushed tomatoes, it's still a scratch-made recipe requiring plenty of ingredients and preparation.

You can simplify your shakshuka without sacrificing its rich flavor profile with the help of jarred marinara sauce. If you look at a traditional fire-roasted shakshuka recipe, you'll see it requires a ton of fresh chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce, reduced with garlic, onions, red bell pepper, and Mediterranean spices. Some recipes swap fresh tomatoes for canned whole or diced tomatoes. However, most marinara sauces contain many of the individual ingredients in shakshuka already reduced to a flavorful foundation to receive the eggs.

Jarred marinara sauce will save you the dirty dishes, time, and effort of chopping all the veggies and aromatics. While fresh ingredients are flavorful, fresh tomatoes' high water content hinders the intensity of the flavors you want to impart to the sauce. It's a well-known fact that stewing tomatoes over low heat creates a rich reduction that concentrates their sweet, umami flavor and any other spice you pair with them. Furthermore, the longer stewed tomatoes sit, the more flavorful they become. Jarred marinara sauce has already satisfied the reduction and marination processes you strive for when making shakshuka's tomato base from scratch.

Tips for using jarred sauce in shakshuka

Jarred marinara sauces abound, and each pasta sauce brand professes the superiority of its proprietary recipe. Whichever brand reigns supreme in your household, marinara sauce is thinner than the tomato sauce used in shakshuka and has slightly different aromatic ingredients. So, you'll need to doctor the marinara to assimilate traditional shakshuka's flavor and texture profile.

Luckily, common herbs like basil and oregano found in marinara sauce complement traditional Mediterranean spices in shakshuka. You can therefore add paprika, cumin, cayenne, or chili powder to the sauce as you heat it in the skillet. While Italian pasta recipes add fresh parmesan cheese or cream to thicken the sauce and add a salty savory flavor, you can thicken and enrich marinara sauce in shakshuka with crumbled feta cheese. If the sauce you choose lacks red peppers, you can blend a can of roasted red peppers and add it to the base.

You can even use a jarred sauce for different variations of shakshuka. For example, you could use your favorite brand of jarred tomatillo sauce, or salsa verde, to simplify a green shakshuka recipe.