Life Extension Magazine®

Woman shopping for vegetables for recipes in the Shuk cookbook

Shuk: From Market to Table, the Heart of Israeli Home Cooking

Open-air markets called shuks sell the seasonal ingredients for Israeli home cooking. Of the 140 recipes in Shuk, we feature a flavorful four.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Life Extension Editorial Staff.

True Israeli home cooking doesn’t start in the home. It starts in the shuk—the local open-air market.

Dotted throughout Israel’s towns and cities, shuks are lively mazes of stalls that sell the freshest seasonal ingredients, including fruit and vegetables, meats and fish, nuts and spices, fresh herbs, cheeses and yogurts, and everything in between.

The shuk is a feast for your senses as much as it is for your appetite.

What makes Israeli food unique is its fusion of Middle Eastern cuisine, combined with the recipes of immigrants from many countries.

Celebrating this melting pot of culture and cuisine, Shuk: From Market to Table, the Heart of Israeli Home Cooking contains 140 Israeli dishes that have roots in Persia, Yemen, Libya, the Balkans, and more—and includes favorites such as hummus, tabboulehs, shakshukas, chopped salad, and couscous.

All of the recipes are based on fresh ingredients that could be found in any local shuk.

In this issue, Life Extension® Magazine features four flavorful recipes that bring the heart of the shuk into your own kitchen.


Cauliflower Tabbouleh with Crunchy Seeds

plants growing in a beaker


  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 3 tablespoons hulled sunflower seeds
  • 1 medium cauliflower, cored and cut into large florets
  • 1 tablespoon nigella seeds
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup (60 g) fresh pomegranate seeds, for garnish (optional)

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry medium skillet over medium heat, stirring continuously, for a couple of minutes, until golden. Transfer to a small plate and let cool.

Line a plate with paper towels. Heat a thin layer of oil in the same skillet over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts and sauté, shaking the skillet frequently, until they just turn light golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the paper towels.

Fry the pumpkin and sunflower seeds in the same manner; transfer them to the paper towels as well.

Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor until they are broken down to couscous-size crumbles. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl. If there are any large pieces left, return them to the food processor and pulse until they reach the desired size, then add them to the bowl. Add the sesame seeds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, nigella seeds, cilantro, mint, and parsley to the bowl with the cauliflower.

Add the lemon juice, oil, salt, and some energetic twists of pepper and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, lemon juice, and/or oil as needed to make the salad yummy and bright.

Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top (if using) and serve promptly.


plants growing in a beaker

Whole Chickpeas in Warm, Spicy Tahini Sauce


  • 2 cups (370 g) dried chickpeas
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) boiling water
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) best-quality raw tahini
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • ½ jalapeño chili, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Pick through the dried chickpeas and discard any little stones (yes, that can happen) or peas that look very irregular in color or in shape. Rinse the chickpeas thoroughly under cold water. Transfer the chickpeas to a large bowl and add cold water to cover them by 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm). Add ¼ teaspoon of the baking soda. Soak for at least 12 and up to 24 hours.

Drain and rinse the soaked chickpeas under cold water until the water runs clear. Transfer the chickpeas to a large pot, pour in 3 quarts (3 L) cold water, and add the remaining ¼ teaspoon baking soda. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium, and cook at a lively simmer, uncovered, for 1 to 1½ hours. Use a slotted spoon to skim off any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas are ready when they are completely soft, slightly broken down, and can easily be smooshed with your fingers. Drain the chickpeas thoroughly and return them to the pot.

Add the boiling water, tahini, and salt. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, just until the chickpeas are warmed through.

Meanwhile, make the dressing:

Whisk together the oil, garlic, jalapeño, lemon juice, and cumin in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Ladle the warm chickpea mixture into a large serving bowl or individual plates and pour the dressing over the top. Garnish with chopped parsley and a generous drizzle of oil and serve at once.


Masabacha is delicious only when it is really warm, so many hummus makers keep the cooked chickpeas and tahini over a double boiler until serving and add the dressing at the last moment.

Green Shakshuka with Chard, Kale, Spinach, and Feta

plants growing in a beaker


  • ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white parts chopped, and green tops very thinly sliced
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 small jalapeño chili, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 5 or 6 Swiss chard leaves, leaves coarsely chopped, stems thinly sliced
  • 1 small bunch Tuscan kale (also called lacinato or dinosaur), stemmed, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups baby spinach or trimmed and coarsely chopped regular spinach
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup (120 ml) homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock or vegetable stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 6 to 8 large eggs


  • 5 ounces (140 g) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Crusty bread or challah

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic, jalapeño, and chard stems and sauté until softened and lightly caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes (take care not to brown the garlic). Add the kale, spinach, and the chard leaves and cook, stirring often, until wilted and soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the caraway and cumin, and season very lightly with salt (the feta is quite salty) and several twists of pepper.

Add the stock and the lemon juice and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cook for another few minutes, until the greens meld into a thick, dark green, stewy sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Use a large spoon to create little wells in the greens’ mixture. Carefully break 1 egg into a cup or ramekin, then slip it into one of the wells; repeat with the remaining eggs. (Cracking the egg into a cup first lets you inspect it for any runaway bits of shell.) Cover and simmer until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still a little runny, about 7 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Sprinkle the shakshuka with the feta, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle generously with za’atar. Serve the shakshuka directly from the skillet, with plenty of crusty bread or challah.

Spicy Fish in Cherry Tomato and Harissa Sauce

plants growing in a beaker


  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) vegetable oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 jalapeño chili, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon harissa, store-bought or homemade
  • 3 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 pints (910 g) cherry tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup (120 ml) water
  • 1 large bunch fresh cilantro
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 (7 to 9 ounce/200 to 255 g) fillets flaky white-fleshed fish (grouper, bass, snapper, and halibut are all nice), skin-on, if possible
  • Challah or couscous, for serving

Pour the vegetable oil into a relatively deep, large skillet. Immediately add the smashed garlic cloves and cook over very low heat just until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Watch the pan closely to make sure the garlic doesn’t brown, or it will become bitter.

Increase the heat to medium-high, add the tomato paste, half the jalapeño, 1½ teaspoons of the harissa, and all the paprika, caraway, and cumin and stir for a minute or two, until fragrant. Add 1½ pints (680 g) of the cherry tomatoes (reserve the rest for later) and season with salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes start to break down, 7 to 8 minutes. Pour in the water, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, or until thick and saucy.

Remove about 3 tablespoons of whole leaves from the cilantro bunch and reserve them for garnish. Tear up the rest of the bunch and toss into the pan. Give it a minute to blend with the sauce, then taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and the remaining jalapeño and 1½ teaspoons harissa if you want more heat. Bear in mind that once you add the fish, you won’t be able to stir the sauce and play with the seasonings—make sure the flavor and level of spiciness are to your liking.

Add the fish fillets, skin-side up, tucking them gently into the sauce. Sprinkle the remaining ½ pint (225 g) cherry tomatoes on top of the fish.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, without stirring, until the fish is cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. Thicker fillets, like halibut, will need 2 to 3 minutes more. To check the fish for doneness, make a small incision in the thickest part of the fish and make sure the flesh is opaque and flaky.

Serve straight out of the pan, garnished with the reserved whole cilantro leaves, with a lot of bread alongside or with couscous.

Shuk book cover
Item #34168

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.

Excerpted from Shuk by Einat Admony and Janna Gur (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Quentin Bacon.

To order a copy of Shuk, call 1-800-544-4440.