Sataras is a delightful light vegetable dish from the Balkans with fresh peppers, onions and tomatoes. It’s made from a simple recipe that anyone can cook.
It can be served alone or as a side dish, as a great sauce and a perfect addition to meat. Besides that, it makes a perfect, healthy breakfast when made with eggs. Many times, you’ll find sataras canned for the winter.
It combines the sweet flavor of bell peppers with the tanginess of tomatoes. Whether served on its own or as part of an entree, sataras is definitely your breakfast rock star from the Balkans.
The origin of sataras
Things get quite interesting when searching for the origin of sataras. You’ll find Croatian, Slovenian, Bosnian and Serbian sataras (pronounced as satarash), Hungarian lecso and Turkish menemen, all basically describing slight variations of the same dish.
Croatian sources claim that sataras is a light vegetable stew, originated in Baranja region, bordering Hungary. Preparing sataras was a way to preserve the surplus of summer vegetable harvest, and it was served as a sauce, side dish or very often made with scrambled eggs.
Menemen, a very similar dish, first prepared with eggs by Cretan Turks in Izmir, was probably called after a town with the same name, which you will find both in Turkey and in Greece. It’s a very common simple breakfast meal, cooked over and over in many households. Menemen is as famous in the Middle East as taboule salad.
Why you’ll love it
- It’s very easy to make it and it doesn’t take a lot of time. Sataras with scrambled eggs, served with bread, will make a delicious and healthy breakfast that can be done very quickly.
- Especially when made with eggs, sataras is a delightful, low-calorie vitamin and protein bomb, that is absolutely gluten-free and keto-friendly.
- It can be eaten alone or easily transformed into a sauce or added as a stew. Besides that, sataras will be a perfect addition to grilled meat.
- It’s a great way to store the peppers and tomatoes from the garden in the summer and stock them for the winter. Sataras can be stored frozen or, even better, canned, following an easy canning process.
- Besides authentic beef goulash and ričet, sataraš is one of the most often cooked Slavic food recipes in the Balkans.
TOMATOES – Tomatoes are the main ingredient in the sataras recipe. How much sauce you want your sataras to contain depends on the amount of added tomatoes. If you’re preparing sataras with eggs, then add the same number of tomatoes as peppers.
If you wish to can your sataras, add a tomato or two more. We recommend using fully ripe tomatoes; these contain more antioxidants and definitely make the taste of sataras juicier and deeper.
PEPPERS – Use fresh peppers. Depending on the color of the sataras you wish to see, you can use red, yellow, orange or green peppers. However, the taste of red and yellow peppers is usually deeper and sweeter.
ONIONS – When dicing the onions, make sure you dice them into pieces as small as possible. Cut them right before cooking the sataras. To avoid tears while chopping the onions, keep them refrigerated or chilled in cold water for 30 minutes before working on them.
GARLIC – Garlic is known to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and immune-boosting properties. Furthermore, its strong flavor will enhance the overall taste of the dish.
CHILI – Chili flakes will intensify the spicy note of the sataras. Still, if you skip the chili, the dish will still taste great.
We crush our spicy things with a wooden mortar and pestle right before adding them to the dish. This really boosts the aroma of the cooked goodies compared to using premade packages of spices.
SALT & BLACK PEPPER – The full taste of slowly cooked peppers and tomatoes will be rich enough, so basically, there’s no need to add any other seasoning to the sataras. What goes well together with the delicious vegetable dish is FRESH PARSLEY, and a tablespoon of OLIVE OIL added before serving.
EGGS – The favorite way to prepare the sataras in the Balkans, Turkey and Greece is with scrambled eggs. You can mix the eggs together with the sauce or remove the freshly cooked sataras to one side of the pan and fry the eggs beside it.
Both will result in a vitamin and protein-rich tasty breakfast, excellent for summer mornings. In the same way, you can use your canned vegetable vitamin bomb all year round.
FRY THE PEPPERS
STEP 1: Dice the onions into small pieces. Fry them in hot olive oil (three tbsp) on low heat and often stir until the onions soften, become translucent and start showing a nice golden – yellow color.
STEP 2: Cut the peppers into long, narrow slices.
STEP 3: When the fried onions are ready, add the peppers to the pan and fry them slowly together with the onions for about 5 – 10 minutes.
STEP 4: While frying the peppers, dice the tomatoes into small cubes. If you want your sataras to be less liquid, add the same number of tomatoes and peppers. When you need a sauce or you wish to prepare the sataras for canning, then chop two more tomatoes.
At the same time, peel and cut or crush the garlic cloves to be added to the sataras. We use a lot of garlic for many recipes, and for that, we find that a cheap garlic crusher makes things really a lot easier.
ADD THE TOMATOES
STEP 5: When the peppers are softened, add the tomatoes to the pan, together with the garlic, chili (if used), salt and black pepper.
STEP 6: Cook the sataras covered with a lid on low heat for another 40 minutes. The tomatoes will usually release enough water themselves, so no added liquid will be needed.
STEP 7: The next step depends on what you wish to use the sataras for. If you’ll use it as a sauce or you’ll be canning it, then at the end of the cooking, add a tbsp of olive oil, sprinkle it with chopped fresh parsley, and that’s it.
To make this tasty vegetable stew with scrambled eggs, follow the next steps:
SATARAS WITH EGGS
STEP 7: In a small bowl, mix together four eggs.
Add the eggs to the pan and stir frequently until the eggs are hardened and fully fused with the sataras. Or remove the sauce to one side of the pan and fry the eggs on the other before mixing it all together.
STEP 8: Serve your delicious, healthy breakfast sprinkled with fresh, chopped parsley.
Food nutter’s tips
- Sataras will turn out the most delicious when using cold-pressed organic olive oil.
- Red and yellow bell peppers will add to the deepness of the taste. If you have a garden, canned sataras is a perfect way to store the excess pepper harvest for the coming winter.
- Ripe tomatoes will enrich the taste of the stew. They also contain a lot more antioxidants than young ones. We don’t recommend storing them in the refrigerator as the cold temperature might reduce their aroma significantly.
- Depending on what you wish to use your sataras for, adjust the number of tomatoes accordingly. For canned sataras, or sataras used as a sauce or a side dish, add two more middle-sized tomatoes to the dish.
- Chop the onions right before frying them and fry them slowly. Onions contain organic sulfur components, and over-fried and overly browned onions might make your dish taste a bit bitter.
- When using sataras as a side dish or sauce, adding a tablespoon of olive oil when sataras is already cooked will significantly enhance the final taste of the feast.
Storage and reheating
Sataras can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.
When cooled to room temperature, it can be frozen (without eggs) and stored in the freezer for up to six months, ensuring that it is stored in an airtight container or closed plastic bag.
Thaw it at room temperature and simply reheat it in a pan or in a microwave.
A perfect, thrifty way of storing the excess tomato and pepper harvest from your garden is to use it for canned sataras stew. Following a simple canning process, you’ll be able to feast on it the whole year round.
Pour the sataras (as hot as possible) into the jars using a scrupulously clean ladle or/and tablespoon. Fill the jars one by one all the way up to the top, clean the jars and close the lids tightly.
Turn the closed jars upside down and let them slowly cool down under a thick blanket for the next 24 hours. Store in a cool, dark and dry place for up to six months.
Adding water while cooking the sataras will make the stew more liquid. The same thing happens if you add too many tomatoes and fewer peppers.
Sataras should be simmered on low heat while covered with a lid. If the lid doesn’t cover the frying pan adequately, you can try using aluminum foil to seal the edges of the pan additionally. Besides that, the amount of sauce depends on the number of tomatoes added to the stew.
Yes, adding cooked rice to the sataras instead of scrambled eggs will result in a beautiful, light vegetable rice meal. Rice with sataras tastes perfect when topped with shredded parmesan cheese.
Balkan sataras (or Turkish menemen) is one of the common cheap, traditional dishes cooked with peppers, tomatoes and scrambled eggs that makes a delicious, healthy, very tasty breakfast, popular among students and households with a garden.
Shakshuka originates in Northern Africa, while sataras comes from the Balkans. The two dishes vary in which spices are used and how the eggs are added to the sauce. Sataras is made with scrambled eggs and shakshuka with pouched eggs.
Sataras is described in English as a traditional breakfast dish made of scrambled eggs, peppers, tomatoes and onions.
More traditional food recipes
- cutting board
- frying pan
- 4 fresh peppers
- 4 fresh tomatoes (6 for canning or sauce)
- 2 onions
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- black pepper
- fresh parsley
- Dice the onion into small pieces. Fry them slowy in hot olive oil and stir until the onions get translucent and start showing golden yellow color.
- Cut the peppers into long, narrow slices. When the onions soften, add them to the pan and and fry them for about 50-10 minutes.
- While the peppers are frying, prepare the diced tomatoes and crush the garlic.
- Add tomatoes to the peppers, together with garlic, salt and black pepper.
- Simmer (covered), slowly, on low heat, for about 40 minutes. Stir as frequently as needed.
- Use the sataras as a sauce or add scrambled eggs. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the sauce or fry until the fused eggs are cooked. Serve with fresh bread and sprinkled with fresh parsley.
- Sataras will turn out best if cooked with organic, cold-pressed olive oil.
- Red and yellow peppers will add more depth and sweetness to the taste.
- Use ripe tomatoes for the sataras, as they contain more antioxidants and will enhance the taste of the sauce.
- Store the tomatoes at room temperature; if the tomatoes are chilled, that might affect the fullness of the taste. The most delicious sataras is cooked from freshly picked ripe tomatoes from the garden.
- Adjust the number of tomatoes, depending on what you wish to use the sataras for. If you will use it as a sauce, as a side dish or if you are preparing sataras for canning, add two more tomatoes to the stew.
- Chop the onions right before cooking to cubes as small as possible. Do not use a food processor. If dicing onions make your eyes sweat, place them in the refrigerator or cold water for half an hour before dicing them. Fry on low heat and stir constantly.
- When sataras is prepared as a sauce or a side dish, enhance the taste by adding a tablespoon of olive oil when already cooked.
- Eggs can be added to the sauce scrambled and fused with the stew. Even better, remove the sataras from one side of the pan and fry the eggs on the other before mixing it all together.
- Canned sataras is a great way to store peppers and tomatoes for the winter following a simple canning process. That way, it can be used all year round.
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