The end of the Whole30 is near. Just a few short days left. Friday I will share with you what I’ve learned (and it’s a lot!), but for today, I will say the Whole30 has brought up a ton of eating/food/cooking conversations that have have got me thinking. I’m a physician and while at work the other day, my college-aged scribes had been asking me about easy, college approved dinner recipes (preferably with leftovers) that would not break the bank. Although I agreed to tackle that one (coming soon) I also got to thinking…how can these guys impress their dates? (We didn’t actually TALK about this part of their lives at all-and I can feel them blushing as I write this, you never know when this advice will come in handy!) Which then led me to remember how my own husband made me dinner while we were dating… which leads to Shakshuka (Whole30, Vegetarian, and How to Impress Your Date) and a few funny photos!
So guys, first of all, I KNOW that impressing anyone wasn’t in our conversation, and I promise I’ll get back to your initial ask of easy, college approved, dinners that don’t break the bank-and leave leftovers. But hear me out here. Someday you might be happy you did…
A little of my own background. My husband invited me over to his new house for dinner while we were first dating. This was many, many moons ago-I wasn’t even 21 yet! I quickly agreed (what was coming out of my own kitchen at the time was dismal) and headed over there. He made me frozen fish sticks, green beans (from a can), and some sort of potatoes. I was smitten. Seemed like such a grown up dinner to me! Looking back, I giggle-we’re both MUCH better cooks now and probably could have used a little encouragement to go beyond the freezer and the can! But a guy that cooked for me? I WAS SOLD!
(Yes, we really dressed like that)…we were young and it WAS the 90s…
And then got married! Yikes, we were still babies!
And we have been married for over 20 years, all because of some frozen fish sticks! (Well, maybe not ALL because of that, but it WAS a factor).
But as I was thinking about the conversation I had had with my young college-aged scribes, I realized that maybe we could up THEIR game. Or at least they could impress their roommates. Or at least eat something healthy that did not come from the freezer or a box! And as I was making Shakshuka the other morning, I realized SHAKSHUKA was the thing!
This Shakshuka ought to do it! Easy, made with fresh foods (and one jar), it is not only unique, but tasty and pretty. Whole30 compliant, vegetarian, and did I mention easy? You can certainly impress with this dish-no matter who it is you are trying to impress!
Eggs braised in a tomato sauce full of all of the good stuff-onions, garlic, red peppers, sweet potatoes, and kale. Serve it with a crusty bread to mop up the sauce (if you’re not doing Whole30), and a lightly dressed salad of greens. Perfect meal. Made to impress.
Serve for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner, because we’re sure not judging over here!
Shakshuka (Whole30, Vegetarian, and How to Impress Your Date)
This is a hearty meal, fresh, easy, and unique. Make it for someone you love!
- 2 cups sweet potato, cubed into bite sized pieces (approximately 1 large sweet potato)
- 1 Tablespoon ghee (or butter or olive oil)
- 1 cup onion, diced (approximately 1 medium onion)
- 1/2 cup red pepper, diced (approximately 1/2 of a red pepper)
- 2 cups kale, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 Jar marinara sauce (I use Classico Riserva Marinara or Paul Newman's Own Marinara-both Whole30 compliant)
- 5 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon Italian Parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the sweet potatoes cubes over the paper. (optional) Sprinkle with salt. Place into the oven for 20-25 minutes until roasted (watch carefully-everyone's oven seems to be just a little bit different and it will depend on how small you cut your sweet potato!).
While the sweet potatoes are roasting, heat a 12 inch cast iron skillet over high heat. Turn it down to medium high and melt 1 Tablespoon of ghee.
Add onions and red peppers. Saute until soft, approximately 2 minutes.
Add kale. Saute until wilted and soft, approximately 2-3 minutes.
Add garlic. Saute approximately 30 seconds or until soft.
Add Marinara sauce, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Turn down to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are done roasting.
Remove the roasted sweet potatoes from the oven, turn oven down to 400°F. Add the sweet potatoes to the cast iron skillet. Stir and then make 5 wells.
Crack an egg into a ramekin or small bowl. Pour into one of the wells in the tomato sauce mixture. Repeat until all 5 wells are filled with egg.
Place cast iron skillet into 400°F oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until egg whites are just set (this will leave yolks runny). Allow another 1-2 minutes if you prefer your egg yolks firm (But why? Just why?).
Remove from oven and serve in bowls with crusty bread (non Whole30) and/or a salad of greens! Enjoy!
[SOME OF THE LINKS IN THIS POST ARE AFFILIATE LINKS AND WE WILL RECEIVE A SMALL COMMISSION IF YOU MAKE A PURCHASE AFTER CLICKING ON OUR LINK. THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING OUR WORK HERE AT WITH TWO SPOONS!]
Get the tools we’re using for this Shakshuka!
Cast Iron Skillet. I love my Lodge Cast Iron Skillets. I have several sizes, but my 12 inch Lodge Cast Iron Skillet is the work horse in my kitchen. These become more nonstick the more they are used, and they can be used for everything!
Wooden Spoons. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. Wooden spoons are perfect for stirring in all types of cookware. Buy inexpensive ones, throw them in the dishwasher and if they get gross/stained/messy, toss them and replace.
Baking Sheets. I use these for everything. Roasting vegetables, cooking chicken, baking cookies, reheating food. Line with parchment paper and they are a breeze to clean up!
Parchment Paper. I get mine at Costco. You can get a ton, very inexpensively. I line all of my baking sheets with parchment paper, no matter what I’m making-makes clean up so easy!
Bowls. I love shallow bowls for soup, cereal, ice cream, salads, and shakshuka! I recently bought a catering set from HomeGoods for my cabin since I always seem to have friends or family up there. These from Amazon are almost identical and a steal at that price!
Oven Mitts. All clad is my go to for stainless pots and pan, and oven mitts. Of course.
Other recipes to impress your date!
Stay tuned for more fun on WithTwoSpoons (in fact you may want to Subscribe!)! We’ve got new projects (#52weeksproject and #WithTwoSpoonsReads) as well as that “Guide to Feeding your College Student Self” I promised my scribes before I went off on the Shakshuka tangent!