Zaalouk is a simple Moroccan salad made with eggplant, tomato, spices, and olive oil. It’s packed with flavor and can be used as an appetizer, a dipping sauce, or as a spread for bread.
Zaalouk is a Moroccan salad made with eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, spices, and olive oil.
Eggplant and tomato dishes are commonly combined with spices in North African and Middle Eastern cuisines to create salads.
It is very similar to dishes such as baba ganoush (eggplant dip of Levantine origin) or Moutabel (spicy Lebanese eggplant dip).
Zaalouk tastes just as good as these recipes and with just a few ingredients, it can bring out some intense yet delicious flavors.
It can be served hot or cold and is often eaten as an appetizer, a side dish for meat or fish dishes, or as a dip alongside some crusty bread.
Recipe Ingredients (+ Substitutions)
These are the ingredients you’ll need to make this simple zaalouk:
- Extra virgin olive oil: you’ll need some extra olive oil for the eggplant, as well as some extra to drizzle upon serving. Extra virgin olive oil is a better choice than regular olive oil as a
- Eggplant (aubergine):
- The best quality and freshest eggplants will have a skin that’s fairly firm, smooth and shiny with a green stem.
- Large eggplants can be more bitter as they have more time to mature and have more seeds. Choose small or medium-sized ones for a less bitter taste.
- Tomatoes: choose fresh and juicy ones. Tomatoes on the vine are usually more flavorsome. You can choose smaller tomatoes like cherry tomatoes or plum tomatoes, but it will take longer to deseed them.
- Tomato paste: I like adding the tomato paste (or tomato puree if you need a substitute) to add a deeper color and tomato flavor, but it is optional.
- Spices: we’ve used turmeric, cumin and smoked paprika spices in this zaalouk. Different recipes use slightly different spices, but these combine for some great flavors. If you want an extra kick, add some cayenne pepper or chili powder.
- Garlic: preferably you should choose fresh garlic. If you are struggling, you can substitute 1 tsp garlic granules for every 1 garlic clove.
- Herbs: Fresh parsley is used in this recipe, but fresh cilantro (coriander) can be used as well, or a mixture of both.
- Lemon: We’ve used lime juice within this dip to add some acidity and sweetness to the dish.
How to Make Zaatouk
*Full recipe at the end of blog post.
Step 1 – Skin and cook eggplants: remove the skin from the eggplant and cut into cubes. Cook on a pan with olive oil for 15-20 minutes
Step 2 – Cook tomatoes & spices: Add the tomatoes, spices, tomato paste and seasoning.
Step 3 – Mash into a paste: Whilst the eggplant is cooking, press the cubes with a wooden spoon to form a tomato eggplant paste.
Step 4 – Add in the parsley: Add the parsley 5 minutes before the eggplant finishes cooking. and lime and juice to taste.
Step 5 – Serve: Drizzle some olive oil. Keep in the fridge overnight or serve at room temperature.
This zaalouk is a very healthy dip recipe, since it contains lots of healthy ingredients. The eggplants and tomatoes combine for 2 servings of fruit and vegetables.
It has lots of healthy unsaturated fats in the form of olive oil and is low in saturated fats.
Eggplants are very healthy ingredients. They are low in calories and high in antioxidants and fiber. This makes them a great choice for diabetics.
Although they aren’t the most nutritious vegetable, they do contain some vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, potassium, and manganese.
Our recipe method combines everything in one pan, making it really easy to make. However, there are different ways of preparing zaalouk:
- Cooking Eggplants:
- Grill: Roast the eggplant on a gas grill for between 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally. The skin should shrink and darken.
- Stovetop: Either peel the eggplants or peel in stripes on. If you do leave any skin on, it is tougher to mash the eggplant into a mush later on. Cut the eggplant into small pieces, then cook in a pan with water or steam on high heat until soft and mushy.
- Tomatoes: you can also blanch the tomatoes. Cut a cross on the tomatoes, then add to boiling water. After a minute, remove the tomatoes, peel the skin, cut them in half, deseed then chop them into pieces.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the consistency of zaalouk meant to be?
This will change depending on your personal preference. If you mash the eggplant cubes less whilst they are cooking, they won’t form the paste.
Either way is fine, but in that case, it will work better as a side dish and not so well as a dip.
How can I make my zaalouk taste less acidic?
Underripe tomatoes or too much lime juice can cause this. A little bit of sugar or honey can correct this, but not too much as it will make the dip too sweet.
Do you need to use a lime or lemon to make zaalouk?
Not at all, but some cooks like to include a little toward the end of cooking, or they might add a small wedge of lemon to the pot. It can definitely lift and complement the flavor.
How long I can store zaalouk?
You can store zaalouk for 3-4 days in the fridge or freeze for up to 3 months. If refreezing, allow to defrost.
Extra Dip Recipes
We have a number of dip recipes that originate in the North African, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean regions. Here are some of our favorites:
- Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce)
- Baba Ganoush (Mediterranean Eggplant Dip)
- Hummus with Tahini (Chickpea Dip)
- Labneh (Greek Yogurt Dip)
- 2 tbsp olive oil (1 to cook with, 1 to serve)
- 1 eggplant
- 2 tomatoes, cut into strips
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ cup (12g) parsley, chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ lime, juiced
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Meanwhile, remove the skin from the eggplant, then cut it into small cubes. cut the eggplant into small cubes. Cut and deseed the tomatoes into small strips.
- Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, then add the tomato paste and spices and cook for an extra minute until fragrant.
- Add the eggplant cubes and tomatoes and salt and cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lightly press the eggplants with a wooden spoon throughout so that they begin to form a paste.
- Cut the parsley leaves and lime, then add ½ lime juice and parsley to the pan. Mix and cook for a further 5 minutes. Continue pressing the eggplant.
- Add some lime juice and salt to taste, then serve with some extra olive oil on top.
- You can leave the eggplant skins on, but you won't be able to squash the eggplant to a paste-like consistency.
- Rremove the seeds and inner parts of the tomato so you are just left with the firmer parts. This keeps the salad from becoming soggy.
Amount Per Serving Calories 87Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 0mgSodium 200mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 3gSugar 5gProtein 1g
Want More Delicious, Mediterranean Style Recipes?
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- Find more Mediterranean-style recipes on our website.
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