Zaalouk (Moroccan Eggplant Salad)
By Lee Jackson ↣ Published on: February 25, 2022
This vibrant Moroccan eggplant salad is all you need to bring a burst of flavour and colour to your table. Cooked with tomatoes into a rich, creamy texture, it’s tangy and irresistibly fragrant. Are you ready to dip into the wonder of Zaalouk?
One of my most favourite ways to cook eggplant (other than baba ganoush) is THIS spectacular Moroccan salad/dip. A tangy and creamy delight that’s a great partner to many other North African, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods. Zaalouk is a versatile and incredibly satisfying dish to have on offer. Great as a side dish, a simple dip for breads or vegetables and even spread over toast as a healthy, hearty snack. See for youself how simple it is to make at home yourself.
What is Zaalouk?
Zaalouk is a Moroccan Eggplant recipe - a melding of creamy eggplant (aubergine) and tart, sweet tomatoes. It’s cooked until soft then mashed into a yummy, chunky dip or salad - It’s a simple and incredibly satisfying marriage of colour, flavour and fragrance. It’s the most perfect little treasure on any dinner table.
Why it works
The rich, luxe texture of cooked eggplant is heightened when further with the earth spices of Morocco. Tomatoes finish the dish and create the final rounded tangy sweetness. There’s flavour in abundance and Zaalouk delivers a wonderful combination of texture and taste.
Stuff you'll need
My Zaalouk aubergine/eggplant recipe features a few key ingredients to get that delicious authentic Moroccan flavour. Get the full recipe and video below.
- Eggplant/Aubergine - for ease, I peel and cube, then fry my eggplant. It ensures a one-pan cook to keep things simple.
- Garlic - for a depth of flavour
- Tomatoes - bring their sweet, tangy red hue to the dish
- Spices - cumin and paprika bring that quintessential Moroccan flavour
- Harissa - a little kick of spice comes in the form of this deliciously hot Moroccan pepper paste. Harissa is completely addictive!
- Cilantro - a little injection of fresh and fragrant
- Extra virgin olive oil - best quality oil gives the best quality flavour.
- Lemon - a last minute spritz lifts the Zaalouk to greater heights!
Step by Step
This Zaalouk recipe is easy to follow! I've stripped out any pre-cooking or soaking so that everything gets the 'one-pan' treatment. You can even serve it FROM the pan if the fancy takes you. Your Zaalouk is ready in a few simple steps:
- Fry the eggplant in a little olive oil until browned and soft.
- Add the salt and garlic and fry briefly
- Add all the other ingredients with a little water and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Mash the Zaalouk with a fork to get that creamy, rustic texture then take it off the heat.
- Add the lemon juice and you're done!
Pro Tips to make your life easier
For my zaalouk recipe I wanted to keep things simple, so made it a one-pan method. If you want to change up the cooking method and flavour a little, try these options.
- Roasting your eggplant and tomato. This will intensify the tomato favour and also give a creamier eggplant texture. Half the tomatoes and prick the eggplant and roast until soft. Peel off the skin or scoop out the flesh, whichever is easier.
- Grill/BBQ the eggplant. This will impart a rich, smoky flavour to the zaalouk, which is something very special! Just grill the eggplant until it’s charred on all sides and soft. Carefully peel off and discard the charred skin and chop the flesh.
Serving and storing suggestions
- I prefer to eat Zaalouk at room temperature - the flavours seem more pronounced - hot or warm is just fine too. You can prepare it in advance and refrigerate, but DO let it come up to room temp for 1 hour before serving - you’ll notice a massive difference in flavour!
- If so inclined (I always am) drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil just before serving.
- Zaalouk will stay fresh in the fridge for 4-5 days.
- It freezes well and will stay fresh for 3-4 months. Be sure to defrost thoroughly and eat at room temperature.
Leftovers? Let's go
I tend to make a lot of Zaalouk, so have a couple of alternative uses under my belt to use up what’s left if I’m not freezing it.
Zaalouk Eggs - The next morning, I’ll add about a cupful of Zaalouk to a small frying pan with about 1/2 cup water. Once simmering, I’ll break an egg or two into it and pop on the lid until they’re just cooked. Scatter over some fresh herbs and you're done. A Moroccan style shakshuka if you will!
Zaalouk Toasts - A couple of crunchy sourdough toasted bread slices is the perfect vehicle for Zaalouk. Spread on a generous helping of the salad and top with sharp and salty Bulgarian feta cheese and a scattering of fresh mint or parsley. Drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle some Aleppo pepper and you’re good to go!
Ready to get cooking?
I LOVE this Moroccan aubergine recipe (I’m English, so still feel a little weird calling it an eggplant.). It’s so full of flavour, sooooo good with crusty sourdough or flatbreads (always a win in my book). It’ll fast become your go-to dip for all occasions – and because it freezes successfully, you can be sure to have some at your disposal whenever suits. Enjoy
Any Questions? (FAQ)
Any questions about Zaalouk? Let me know in the comments.
Where is Zaalouk from?
Morocco. It’s usually eaten with breads as a dip style salad.
How can I prepare Zaalouk?
There are a few ways to get over the line with zaalouk. Grilling, frying or roasting the eggplant is all acceptable, then simply combining the other ingredients to form the silky, smooth texture.
How many calories are in Zaalouk?
My Zaalouk recipe contains only 122 calories per person.
More dips and salad recipes like Zaalouk
If you liked Zaalouk, you’ll be sure to love some more recipes just like it from around the Middle East and Mediterranean.
- Turkish Haydari
- Moroccan Matbucha
- Borani Kadoo (Afghani Squash Salad)
- Zucchini & Tahini Salad
- Black Hummus
- Turkish Beetroot & Yoghurt Dip
- Turkish Carrot Salad
Zaalouk (Moroccan Eggplant Salad)
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- 2 Eggplant (Aubergine) (Peeled and cubed - about 1-2inch cubes)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tomatoes (diced/chopped)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp harissa
- ¼ cup cilantro (chopped)
- Extra virgin olive oil (for serving - optional)
- Heat a large deep sauté pan over a moderate heat with the olive oil until hot then add the cubed eggplant. Fry for 7-8 minutes until browned and soft.
- Add the garlic and salt and fry for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the cumin, paprika and harissa followed by the tomatoes, cilantro and a fresh grind of black pepper. Stir well to combine then add about 1 cup water.
- Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered for 40 minutes until everything is soft. Add a little water if it becomes too dry, but be cautious not to make it too wet, the consistency should be rich and creamy. Remove from the heat.
- Using a fork, mash the eggplant chunks to create a creamier, but still rustic appearance.
- Stir in the lemon juice and leave to cool to room temperature.
- Decant to a bowl or platter and sprinkle with more cilantro/coriander and if you wish, a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Serve with crusty bread, flatbreads or Moroccan breads (khobz)
- Roasting - roast in a 450ºF/220ºC oven for 20-30 minutes until charred. Remove the flesh from the skins. Roast the tomato this way too.
- Grilling/BBQ - Roast for 20 minutes on a hot grill/bbq until charred on all sides. Rest briefly, then peel off the skins and discard. Grill the tomato too.
- To reach your desired consistency, you can choose to mash the zaalouk with a fork or blend in a food processor. I like mine slightly chunky so a fork is perfect, but a smoother consistency will be easier with a food processor.
- Leftovers are great spread on toast with other vegetables or a poached egg. Alternatively, pop some of the zaalouk with a little water into a small frying pan and break in a few eggs - pop on the lid and steam the eggs until cooked - like an Israeli shakshuka.
- Zaalouk will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days (cover the surface with olive oil and it'll stay fresh for a few days longer).
- It'll stay good in the freezer for 3-4 months, just be sure to thaw it out completely before eating and eat at room temperature.
My favorite vegetable! I will try this. Looks delicious.
One of my favourite vegetables too… let me know if you try it out.
I love eggplant & I’m always looking for simple delicious recipes. You’re recipe did not disappoint! It was packed with so much flavour. My whole family said it’s one of tastiest eggplant recipes I’ve made!
It’s a winner isn’t it!? I love the tanginess of Zaalouk – you should definitely try my Spanish Eggplant Salad too – I think I like that one even more. Thanks for the comment!