Shakshuka, a breakfast dish popular across the Middle East, traditionally consists of eggs poached in a spiced tomato stew served in a cast iron skillet. But throughout Tel Aviv, more restaurants are forgoing eggs to offer diners a vegan version.
Jewish news site Forward reports that shakshuka, although North African in origin, is considered a “flagship” breakfast dish across Tel Aviv. But due to a the rising popularity of a plant-based diet across the city, which some consider the “vegan capital of the world,” restaurateurs are getting creative with offering an egg-free version. Even Dr. Shakshuka, a nearly 30-year-old restaurant, offers a vegan shakshuka, made with mushrooms and eggplant.
Every establishment takes a different approach to the traditional dish. One restaurant offers round vegetable dumplings in place of poached eggs. Another serves it with tofu in a roasted red pepper and tomato sauce. Anastasia, a health-focused joint that was voted Best Vegan Restaurant in Tel Aviv, provides a realistic visual experience by swapping eggs for tofu and polenta. It’s served with bread, olives, and a few spreads.
Veganism in Israel
“When veganism began gaining momentum in Israel, around six years ago, breakfast was one of the categories that needed to be seriously addressed because it was always based on eggs and cheeses,” Tel Aviv-based blogger Ori Shavit, founder of the website Vegans on Top, told Forward.
According to data from 2017, Israel has the highest percentage of vegans per capita in the world and many have highlighted Israel as a top destination for vegan tourism. Travelers will find more than just egg-free shakshuka: according to the Independent, Tel Aviv alone is home to more than 400 vegan and vegetarian restaurants. Sultana, a vegan shawarma shop, uses layers of forest mushrooms instead of meat.
“The country is a leader in the switch to vegan eating: plant-based restaurants are thriving and easily accessible to the one million Israelis – out of a population of eight million – who don’t eat meat,” Jason Baker, vice president of international campaigns for PETA Asia, told Intermountain Jewish News.
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