We often think of one-pan meals as being strictly for dinner, but plenty of brunches start with just a few ingredients and a single skillet. Shakshuka is one of them. A one-pan meal with North African origins that sees eggs poached in a spicy sauce of tomatoes and peppers, it’s packed with vegetables, and it’s got an easy egg-poaching method built right in, no swirling water bath needed.

For years I’ve been teased with photos of luscious-looking shakshuka, but even with loads of bread on my plate to soak up every bit of that sauce, my sensitive stomach would not be able to handle that high level of acidity. I thought I was destined to be a distant admirer of shakshuka. That is, until I discovered that you could make it green.

Think Green

Red shakshuka gets its vibrant color from a mixture of tomatoes and peppers and fiery heat from harissa, a hot chili pepper paste popular in countries like Tunisia and Morocco. But Milk Street’s take on it, inspired by chef Limor Chen’s version at Delamina East in London, veers off in the opposite direction. Unlike its red counterpart, green shakshuka gets its eye-catching color from a pound of spinach, spring-y leeks and frozen peas. If a pound of spinach sounds like an unwieldy amount, don't worry, we've got a trick to reduce the volume by half—even before the leaves see any heat.

Massage Your Greens!

If you’re into salad, you’ve probably massaged kale to tenderize the tough, fibrous leaves and stems, and mellow out the bitterness. Spinach isn’t all that tough to eat on its own, but massaging can improve its flavor and texture, while reducing the amount of space it takes up. With just a little salt and strong hands, the spinach will begin to soften into tender, wilt-y leaves with a milder flavor while keeping its high nutritional value. One word of warning: It may be tempting to massage the spinach longer because the more you do it, the smaller the pile gets, but resist the urge! Not only does salt tenderize your greens, it also draws out moisture—something you won’t want more of when this dish is ready to serve.

To get leeks that are soft and tender, not soggy and limp, dry them as best you can before throwing them in the pan. And make sure to give them a thorough rinse! Leeks are buried in soil as they grow to keep their pale color, and you don’t want a mouthful of earth while you’re enjoying your meal. For the best results, cut leeks into bite-sized pieces before washing them—toss those pieces in a salad spinner and rinse at least three times before spinning dry.

A True One-Pan Wonder

The beauty of this shakshuka is that once prep is over, there are only a few steps left before it’s on the table. The recipe is fairly straightforward: The chopped leek and onion are sautéed in oil until soft. Next, the massaged spinach is added to the mix and cooked until fully wilted and an even deeper green. The peas, cumin, Aleppo pepper, a little bit of water and feta are added next and left to meld together until the feta starts to melt.

Once everything else has made it into the pan, it’s time for the fun part: poaching the eggs! If you’ve never done it before, it’s not as intimidating as it seems, especially in this recipe. By this stage all of your greens will be tender and the oil and water will have combined to form a sauce. Using the back of a spoon, make six evenly-sized wells (make sure you can see the bottom of the pan to ensure each of your eggs start cooking instantly), then it’s as simple as generously seasoning with salt and pepper and covering the pan for five to eight minutes. The egg whites will set, but the yolk will still be slightly runny. Take the pan off the heat and hit the whole thing with another sprinkling of feta before serving.

The result is a warmly-spiced, veggie-forward, savory sensation. The medley of vegetables mixed with warming cumin, pungent garlic, and sweet, hot and slightly fruity Aleppo pepper makes for a riot of flavors and textures all vying for the attention of your tastebuds at once. It’s herbaceous, sweet, savory, and, thanks to the generous amount of feta, slightly briny and cheesy.

Vegetables may be the star of the show, but this isn’t a dish that will leave you hungry an hour later. This shakshuka gets two hits of protein thanks to both the eggs (which are so incredibly soft and jammy that you almost want to eat them on their own) and the feta.

The recipe calls for serving this with warmed flatbread, but I love having mine with a couple pieces of toasted sourdough generously drizzled in my favorite olive oil. And while I’m definitely planning to serve it for Easter brunch, it also makes for the perfect, fast and easy weeknight meal.

Eggs, greens and cheese. What’s not to love?

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