Shakshuka is a great North African dish that is not only delicious but way-fun to say!
I often find low-carb inspiration dining at some of the restaurants in the now blooming food scene in West Hartford center. While out on one our various date nights my wife and I lean towards unique eateries with authentic foods from other realms.
We found a version of this great dish called Shakshuka at Zohara, a favorite Mediterranean spot that we tend to go off the rails at a bit. It’s very hard to pass up their hummus and lamb apps.
I believe they make their Shakshuka with braised lamb which is amazing. I have tried making several versions which include using lamb sausage, chorizo & any other spicy cased meats I’ve come across. The Chorizo Shakshuka is my favorite and chorizo is rather easy to find.
Shakshuka is a tradition baked egg dish that has a wow factor and flavor that goes way beyond what you might expect from it’s simple, one pan preparation.
Here is smaller, personal pan version I whipped up one day. Love the easy one pan clean up of this dish – you will too!
It’s a hearty, rich serving of deliciousness that makes a great brunch or lunch option but can be eaten anytime of the day.
- 1.5 cups of sliced chorizo sausage. 1/2 inch slices
- 1 medium onion - rough chopped
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic - thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup of red bell pepper (yellow & orange works well too)
- 28oz. can of whole San Marzano Tomatoes
- 10 Kalamata olives - pitted, sliced into quarters
- 1 tsp. Hungarian Smoked Paprika
- 2 tsp. Cumin
- 1/8 tsp. Cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1/8 tsp. Harissa Paste (optional)
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup feta cheese - crumbled
- 6 large eggs
- Salt and fresh ground Pepper to taste
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. If you are using a raw chorizo, brown them on all sides - 8 minutes - and then remove them from the pan to be sliced. If the chorizo is cured already you can add them at the end of the next step.
- Add onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 10 minutes (then add cured sliced chorizo to brown slightly) or (add sliced cooked chorizo back to pan).
- Add garlic and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes; stir in cumin, paprika and cayenne, and cook 1 minute.
- Pour in tomatoes and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; crush whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon; simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in crumbled feta.
- Make 6 indents with the back of a wooden spoon for the eggs to sit. Gently crack eggs into indents and season eggs with salt and pepper.
- Place under broiler for 7 minutes.
- Top with chopped cilantro and serve.
- The cast iron pan I use for this dish is about 12 inches round and fits 6 eggs which is why this recipe is for 3 people, assuming 2 eggs each.
- Serve with a side of avocado slices to cool the spices of this spicy dish.
This simple keto frittata is loaded with good stuff and you’ll never miss the potatoes.
My wife Lisa is the master at the low-carb breakfast. Ever since we honeymooned in Spain, my wife and I have always appreciated a great frittata. The Barcelona Wine Bar in West Hartford, CT is where we usually go to get our frittata fix, complete with a dollop of fresh sour cream. Those off-the-rails carbs however are usually reserved for the weekend.
This Killer Keto Frittata makes a great late night snack after a night out with friends – we’re too old for Denny’s!
Back to breakfast! You can adjust the ingredients to your taste and you can swap out one veggie for another – same goes for the cheeses. I’ve included my favorites below – pick two or three and go for it.
- 5 large eggs
- 2 tbs. half n half
- 1/2 medium onion - chopped
- 1/3 cup leeks - chopped
- 4 asparagus spears - 1/4 inch chop
- 1 cup broccoli - rough chopped
- 1.25 cups cheese shredded (swiss, smoked swiss, gouda, smoked gouda, fontina, cheddar)
- 1 tsp. Fresh thyme
- 2 tsp. butter - divided
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Melt 1/2 the butter In a 9 inch non-stick, oven-safe pan on med-low heat saute' veggies slow - about 8 min.
- In a bowl whisk eggs & half and half.
- Add salt and pepper and stir in shredded cheese.
- Stir in veggies to the bowl with the eggs.
- Add rest of the butter to the pan and melt on low heat.
- Pour the eggs, cheese and veggie mix into the hot pan.
- Slowly scramble mixture until lose curds form and eggs are almost set - About 3 minutes.
- Finish in oven under broiler on high until eggs begin to brown - about 5 minutes.
- Serve hot.
Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits with Eggs that’ll bring you back down south.
If you have ever been down south at all, and were lucky, Shrimp and Grits must of crossed your path and your tastebuds, and were never to be forgotten.
At a minimum you have watched My Cousin Vinnie a dozen times and wondered what all the fuss is about.
A few years ago my wife Lisa took me to New Orleans for my birthday and we ate our way through downtown. We visited the usually places and some off-the-beaten-path hot spots for some of the best food on earth. At one spot across from our hotel in the French Quarter we had the most amazing breakfast of Shrimp and Grits that has been indelibly imprinted on my culinary mind.
There is a great regional spice mixture found in many creole dishes that we had to seek out and procure before heading back North. We have used it to make the famous Brennan’s Barbeque Shrimp and wowed our guests with transporting flavors as well as the 4 sticks of butter the recipe calls for. All keto-friendly until you add the loaf of french bread to sop up the life-changing butter sauce. Sorry – I don’t think there is ever gonna be a replacement for the crusty bread in this equation.
The other morning I had some leftover Cauliflower Mash and was inspired by its grit-like potential. This low-carb alternative to grits will become a new staple at our breakfast table and this southern dish, a welcomed guest at our home and soon to be yours.
Y’all come back now, ya hear!
- 2.5 cups raw cauliflower
- 2 tbsp fresh chives - chopped
- 3 large mushrooms - sliced thick
- 4 eggs
- 8 large raw shrimp - peeled
- 1 tbsp extra vigin olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 clove a garlic - minced
- 1/2 cup light cream
- Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
- 4 slices of Prosciutto di Parm - seared and crumbled
- 2 tsp creole seasoning
- In a mini-prep, process the raw cauliflower until riced.
- In a saute pan cook riced cauliflower over low heat for 5 min to evaporate some moisture.
- Add half the chives and the light cream - cook on low for 10 minutes, stir until creamy.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring pot of water to a boil covered.
- Spin water.
- Add eggs to center vortex.
- Cover and turn off heat.
- Set timer for 4 minutes.
- In a large saute pan on medium - high heat, add 1/2 tbs olive oil and half the butter.
- Brown the mushrooms - 5 minutes.
- When the eggs are dropped - add raw peeled shrimp to the pan with mushrooms.
- Add chives to shrimp.
- Add creole seasoning to the shrimp.
- Add other half of butter.
- Add 1/2 tbs olive oil.
- Toss shrimp to cook the other side and mushrooms until cooked through - 3-4 minutes.
- In a bowl add cauliflower.
- Top with shrimp and mushroom mixture. Be sure to scrape the buttery goodness onto the grits.
- Crumble Prosciutto on top.
- Top with 2 poached eggs.
- Add ground salt and pepper to taste.
- Dust with some creole seasoning to taste.
- Crisp bacon is another crumble option that will work well. Reserve some of the rendered bacon fat to cook the shrimp in along with the butter. In this case go lighter on the olive oil.
- If you like spicy, you can go a little heavier handed on the creole seasoning.
- There is some timing to pull this recipe off. The Grits can be made and kept warm on very low heat while you start the shrimp. Once the shrimp are in the pan the eggs need to be ready to come out just a few minutes later so they don't over cook.
- 1/2 cup sweet paprika
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and store the mixture in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to three months.
Everyday is a hollandaise when you are in ketosis!
One of my favorite breakfasts is any kind of eggs benedict. I search far and wide for the most creative variations in my area and love finding new spots that can pull this off with precision and not disappoint. There is a lot of timing and attention to detail when making a good eggs bene – so much can go wrong. The recipe below you may want to file under “weekend breakfasts” as it is a bit involved, will make a mess of the kitchen but be sooooo worth it in the end.
Locally, there are a few hot spots that have their act together on this front. My absolute favorite is in Granby CT, a place called Dave’s Restaurant that makes their own corned-beef hash bene – “Renee’s Choice”, that will satisfy you until diner time. If I am visiting Dave’s I am clearly planning to go off the Keto-rails for the day as the home fries are crisp and I’m not gonna pass up this once in a while treat and make any edits to Dave’s breakfast masterpiece.
This is one of the challenges with my new keto-lifestyle as my only option for eggs benedict when eating breakfast out is to lay low on the potatoes and don’t eat the english muffin that most all eggs benedicts consist of. I have done it but it’s not usually the best way to go.
I had always thought is it was the decadent hollandaise on my breakfast of choice that was keeping me fat all those years.
Come to find out it was the muffin and potatoes keeping my waist at max density all along!
Every once in a while you can find an amazing crab-cake eggs benedict that needs no muffin as the base. Problem solved! This breakfast will rival any you find out and about – will impress your crew any weekend morning at home and you won’t need a nap afterwards. Be sure to plan some activities afterwards as this is a hearty meal that you will want to work off with all that extra energy you will have.
- 1 pound lump crab meat - I like North Coast Seafoods - Culinary Reserve
- 3 green onions or 1 shallot - finely chopped
- 1/2 cup red or yellow bell pepper - finely chopped
- 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup Almond flour for dusting
- 1 tbsp Avocado oil
- 6 large eggs for poaching
- 1 stick of grass fed butter
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 shot of tabasco
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients, except for the flour and oil.
- Shape into patties and dust with almond flour.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Carefully place crab cakes, in batches in pan and fry until browned about 5 minutes each side.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Stir water to create a vortex.
- Add eggs one at a time to circulating water.
- Cover and turn off the heat.
- Set timer for 4 minutes.
- Melt butter and set aside - keep warm.
- In a small pan combine all other ingredients and wisk together over med heat.
- Slowly drizzle in melted butter while wisking until thickened.
- Top each crab cake with a poached egg.
- Drizzle hollandaise over eggs.
- Serve hot.
- Timing is key for success - keep the crab cakes plated and warm in the oven as you make the eggs and hollandaise at the same time.
A Keto Friendly brussel sprout hash worth waking up to.
I got the wake-up call this morning… “3 minutes to breakfast!” This is always a good thing as my wife is a jedi-master of the breakfast arts. This morning was no exception. Waiting upon my arrival to the kitchen was this most curious and enticing looking dish of Brussel Sprout Hash fully dressed. It was so good I just had to share it with you. A great start for a Sunday morning. Good morning all!
- 1.5 cups brussel sprouts - Approximately 12 coarsely sliced
- 1/4 cup fennel (anis) - thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup poblano pepper - thinly sliced
- 2 tsp jalapeno pepper - fine chopped
- 1/4 cup onion - 1/2 small onion - fine chopped
- 1 large garlic clove - fine chopped
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- fresh ground salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup Prosciutto - about 3 slices - chopped
- 1 tbsp pine nuts
- 1.5 tbsp fresh cilantro - chopped
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 4 poached eggs
- Slowly saute' sprouts, fennel, peppers, onion, garlic on low - med heat with butter.
- When wilted add cream.
- Turn up heat to brown the bottom of the hash.
- Add fresh ground salt and pepper.
- On med heat crisp and brown Proscuitto and pine nuts.
- Remove from heat and drain on a paper towel.
- Coarsely chop.
- Add to chopped cilantro and lemon zest and mix well.
- Poach 4 eggs.
- Plate brussel sprout hash.
- Top with 2 poached eggs.
- Top eggs with Gremolata.
Breakfast is clearly the most important part of our day here at our home. How you start your day can set the tone, your energy level and your attitude for the challenges of the day. This morning creation from my wife Lisa is one of those that I hope to be awake for whenever she is whipping up her now famous Salmon Hash and Eggs.
I usually try to scheme the night before by having some left over Salmon from dinner that I strategically place in front of the egg carton in the fridge in hopes she does the math come morning. I like all things hash and the silky mouth feel a pair of over easy eggs adds makes this experience decadent. Keeping keto, you have to forgo the traditional white potatoes found in most hash. But I promise, with this recipe, you won’t miss them.
If you like things spicy you can always add some jalepenos to the mix. I also have been recently experimenting with some smoked salts which add a nice dimension. Have fun… It’s breakfast!
- 1/2 cup sweet peppers - red, orange, yellow - diced
- 1/4 cup fennel - diced
- 1/2 cup portabella mushroom - diced
- 1/4 cup onion - chopped
- 1/4 cup sweet potato - small diced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme - diced
- 1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
- 2 tsp butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup cooked salmon
- 2 eggs - over easy or poached
- 1 tbsp green onions chopped for garnish
- In a pan on med heat melt butter and add first 5 ingredients.
- Sautee until veggies are caramelized about 8 minutes.
- Add paprika and thyme, salt and pepper - mix well.
- Cook your eggs.
- While eggs are cooking, add the salmon to the hash and mix in until up to temperature.
- Serve hash with eggs on top right away.
- Top with green onions and salt and pepper to taste
So here we are starting the new year off eating right… right? My wife’s amazing egg bowl is just what we all need this time of year. I’m making sure I am back in ketosis as one too many holiday treats and splurges have me, and I imagine many of you, feeling a little more gravitational pull than we did before the holidays. This breakfast egg bowl recipe will become a new favorite as it has become mine and anyone else who has tried this perfect morning combination.
- 1.5 cups baby spinach
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tbsp cottage cheese
- 1/4 cup of ripe tomato - cubed
- 1/4 cup avocado - about 1/4 of an avocado - cubed
- 1/2 tsp butter
- 1/8 tsp seasoned salt - Borsari is our favorite.
- 2 strips of bacon - crisp (optional)
- In a small bowl covered, microwave spinach for 30 seconds.
- Add butter to spinach and toss.
- Top with tomato and avocado.
- Season with Borsari or your favorite seasoned salt.
- Top with 2 eggs - fried or poached and add cottage cheese.
- Crumble bacon on top. (optional)
- The bacon is optional and without it the nutrition is only: Calories: 275, Fat: 18g, Protein: 20g, Carbs: 9g
- You can find Borsari at Big Y - we like the original black label version - Sea salt, garlic, basil, rosemary, black pepper, nutmeg
Salad for Breakfast? Yep!
For years I have been eating the wrong things for breakfast and it showed. Starting the day off with a full-carb load – ham egg and cheese on a hard roll and Eggs Benedict were my favorites. That full bloated feeling stayed with me throughout the day. Now my days start light and that feeling follows me throughout with more than twice the energy than I used to have.
Still a big fan of the poached egg so this salad is a new go-to favorite. Good Morning…. and the rest of the day to follow.
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup fresh spinach
- 3/4 cup fresh arugula
- 1/8 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 3 slices Prosciutto Di Parma
- 3 fried pork skins (chichamarrones)
- 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp good EV olive oil
- Fresh ground salt and pepper
- In a quart pot boil water for poached eggs.
- Toss spinach and arugula in olive oil and lemon juice.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Spin boiling water with a spoon - add eggs to boiling water.
- Cover and turn off heat. Set timer for for 4 minutes.
- Add shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano to salad
- Slice prosciutto into bite size pieces add to salad
- Add pork skins - break them in half.
- Drain poached eggs and place on salad.
- Season with salt and pepper.