Zaalouk is an amazingly delicious eggplant dish out of Morocco. It’s typically used as a dip or salad, but once you taste it you’ll want to eat it with everything!
The eggplant is accompanied by tomatoes, garlic, warm spices, fresh herbs and a generous amount of olive oil. This is one of those dishes with just a few humble ingredients that somehow come together to create magic.
Like many traditional recipes, zaalouk, pronounced za-alouk, is one of those dishes that vary from town to town and family to family.
Some prefer a chunkier zaalouk, similar to caponata or ratatouille. In this form, it’s considered more of a salad and is eaten as a side dish.
Others mash it to a smooth and thick dip consistency. Perfect for endless scooping with pita bread.
The cooking method can also vary. Many grill or roast the eggplant first, and some boil it. We’re going with the simplest method, putting everything into a pot and simmering it till it’s tender.
- Olive oil – plenty
- Fresh tomatoes & tomato paste
- Herbs – cilantro and parsley
- Spices – smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne (optional)
- Lemon juice
How to make Zaalouk
This method is pretty simple. Heat olive oil in a pan and add peeled and chopped eggplant along with tomatoes and tomato paste, garlic, herbs and spices. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until everything is soft. This will take about 25-30 minutes.
Once cooked, mash the mixture with a potato masher. Simmer uncovered to allow some of the liquid to cook off, until the zaalouk is cooked down to your desired consistency.
Stir in some fresh lemon juice and taste and adjust for salt.
- It’s great as a dip for pita bread or chips, or crostini.
- Zaalouk goes great with grilled meats or seafood, especially fish.
- This is a wonderful spread for sandwiches, pitas and wraps.
- Use it as a base for flatbreads and pizzas.
- How about as a pasta sauce? I can see this going great tossed in with some tortellini!
You can refrigerate leftover zaalouk 4-5 days in an airtight container. Make a big batch, as it goes great with so many things.
You can also freeze it in an airtight container. For best quality, use within a couple of months.
So, are you ready to try these great Moroccan flavors? This easy eggplant dish has become one of our new favorites. If you love it too, please leave a comment and star rating, I love to hear from you!
And be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we’re always cooking up new easy recipes for you!
Zaalouk, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 medium eggplants, peeled and chopped
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1.5 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- Salt, to taste
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add eggplant, tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, parsley, cilantro, smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne. Mix well.
- Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until eggplant and tomatoes are soft, about 25-30 minutes.
- Once cooked, mash the mixture with a potato masher (see note 1). Simmer uncovered to allow some of the liquid to cook off, until the zaalouk is cooked down to your desired consistency.
- Stir in some fresh lemon juice and taste and adjust for salt.
- Garnish with olive oil and more fresh herbs.
- Some prefer a chunkier zaalouk, used more as a cooked salad than a dip. In that case, omit the mashing step.
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