You'll love this easy menemen recipe of soft, perfectly scrambled eggs with tomatoes, peppers, and onions! This simple one-pan dish comes together in 20 minutes or less, and makes the perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Just add your favorite crusty bread to serve along!
If you're into savory, perfectly scrambled eggs for breakfast (and yes, eggs for dinner!), you'll want to try this delicious and extra hearty variation from Turkey known as Menemen.
I was first introduced to this delicious dish while on a trip to Istanbul back in 2006, and have since been making variations of it. I can't believe it has taken me this long to share it!
What is menemen?
This hearty egg scramble gets its name from the Turkish market town of Menemen, a small town located just off the main highway of north Izmir.
Menemen is basically scrambled eggs with tomatoes, peppers and, sometimes, onions. The seasoning is quite simple and often includes a dash of dried herbs (I used oregano) and a touch of heat from some chili flakes. I used a combination of Aleppo-style pepper, which adds depth and a subtle sweetness, and a dash of hot red pepper flakes for some heat.
Menemen is a simple and versatile one-pan dish that comes together in 20 minutes or less! I serve it often for brunch or dinner with potato pancakes or some crusty bread (thick slices are best to sop up all the goodness).
Menemen vs. Shakshuka
Some wonder if menemen is the same as shakshuka. I consider them close cousins. The two popular egg dishes are quite similar since they share some key ingredients (eggs, tomatoes, peppers, and onions), but the seasoning and preparations differ.
Aside from flavor, probably the most obvious difference between today's menemen recipe and my earlier shakshuka (or even green shakshuka) is the way the eggs are cooked. Here the eggs are scrambled whereas with shakshuka, the eggs are braised undisturbed in the chunky tomato mixture, so the result is more of a sunny-side-up look.
Three Important tips
I've made these scrambled eggs a number of times, and two tips make all the difference when it comes to making Turkish menemen at home:
- Start with quality ingredients. This is one humble dish that is truly greater than the sum of its parts, so it is important to start with quality produce. Look for firm green bell peppers without smooth skins and no blemishes (or other green peppers such as Anaheim or Holland peppers). Select smooth skinned tomatoes that are firm but have some give when you apply a bit of pressure. They should be fragrant and feel heavy for their size, which indicates they are juicy and delicious. For me, I also make sure to use quality extra-virgin olive oil, which will add richness and flavor to this dish.
- Do not overcook the eggs. The key to the best menemen recipe is to scramble the eggs very gently over medium-low heat until just set. The eggs should be moist and pillow-y and never dry or overcooked.
- Serve with thick slices of a hearty, country-style bread. Find a loaf of bread with great texture and a crisp crust to serve along; this is a must for dunking into the sauce and pillow-y eggs.
How to make menemen?
The print-friendly recipe is just below, but here is how to make it step-by-step for those of us who are more visual:
- Cook the onions, peppers and tomatoes
The first step is to make the chunky tomato mixture. Chop up 1 green pepper (I used mild bell pepper) and 1 yellow onion. Grab a good 10-inch pan (I use cast iron, but you can use any skillet or pan of this size). Heat up some good extra-virgin olive oil and sauté the onions and peppers, seasoned with a good pinch of kosher salt, for a little bit until softened (about 5 minutes).
- Add tomatoes and tomato paste
Add chopped tomatoes (2 vine-ripe tomatoes) and 3 tablespoon of tomato paste. Season with a little more kosher salt. Add black pepper, ½ teaspoon dried oregano and 1 teaspoon Aleppo-style pepper, which is not super hot but adds a nice kick with some subtle sweetness to this dish. Cook over medium heat until the tomatoes soften, for about 7 minutes.
- Add the eggs and cook gently
Keep the tomato mixture in the skillet, but push it to one side. Lower the heat to medium-low, add 4 beaten eggs and cook gently until the eggs are just set.
- Fold the tomato mixture into the eggs
When the eggs are just set, use a wooden spoon and fold the tomato mixture into the eggs and mix gently (don't linger too long here so you do not overcook the eggs).
- Finish with olive oil and more seasoning
As soon as the tomato mixture and eggs are incorporated, immediately remove the skillet from the heat. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add a good drizzle of some excellent extra virgin olive oil and a dash more Aleppo-style pepper. And, if you're looking for more heat, a good pinch of hot red pepper flakes. Serve immediately with some good hearty bread (thicker slices of bread are best).
More recipes to try
- Breakfast Egg Muffins
- How to Make Labneh (Middle Eastern Yogurt Cheese)
- Turkish-Inspired Fried Eggplant
- Za'atar Manaqish (za'atar flatbread)
- Kofta Kebab
Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients.
Menemen Recipe: Turkish Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 green bell pepper (Anaheim or Holland peppers will work as well), cored, seeded and chopped
- Kosher salt
- 2 vine-ripe tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- Black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, more for later
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- Crushed red pepper flakes, optional if you like spicy
- 1 French baguette for serving thickly sliced (optional)
- In a 10-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and season with kosher salt. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring regularly until softened (being careful not to brown the onions).
- Add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Season with a little more kosher salt, black pepper, oregano, and Aleppo pepper. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften but still hold their shape (5 to 7 minutes).
- Push the tomato and pepper mixture to one side of the pan. Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the beaten egg, and cook briefly, stirring gently as needed, until the eggs are just set. Fold the tomato mixture into the eggs.
- Finish with a little EVOO and more Aleppo pepper and crushed red pepper flakes, if you need a little kick. Serve immediately with thick slices of bread.