Get ready for a flavor adventure with this classic Moroccan Zaalouk Recipe, a plant-based dish that’s a nutrient-packed masterpiece! Healthy vegetables dance in a fragrant blend of fresh herbs and spices, creating a dish that’s as visually appealing as it is delicious.
Whether you’re a seasoned fan of Moroccan cuisine or just looking to add a burst of flavor to your meals, serve this Zaalouk with crusty bread for a side dish or plant-based main that’s absolutely irresistible.
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Not Your Typical Salad Recipe
Did you know that salads are common in Moroccan cuisine? It’s true! However, they don’t usually resemble the American versions you may be used to. You see, instead of the layers of leafy greens and cold vegetables commonly associated with American salads, most Moroccan salads are cooked and served hot, cold, or at room temperature. As a result, they resemble something we might call a dip. In addition, a typical meal has anywhere from 1 to 3 different salads served with it as side dishes. Each option features a wide variety of ingredients, flavors, and spices. Yet, more often than not, they contain eggplant and tomatoes, both of which are found in Zaalouk as well.
What is Zaalouk?
As you might have guessed, Zaalouk, or eggplant dip, is a type of Moroccan salad that has been cooked. It is characterized by the use of eggplant and tomatoes and features a variety of herbs and spices for a unique flavor combination that is super tasty! The key to making the perfect Zaalouk recipe is to cook the eggplant before you begin, but we’ll get into that later.
Ingredients You’ll Need
We started with simple pantry staples, but the beauty lies in making it uniquely yours. Keep reading for the essentials and a sprinkle of flavor variations to craft your own Zaalouk!
- Smoked Paprika
- Olive Oil
While some cooks add their own spice combinations and adjust the ratio of eggplant to tomato used, to make this dish their own the main differences in how Zaalouk is prepared are in the preparation of the eggplant. For instance, you could roast it, broil it, or even place it on the grill! Each method adds its own flavor and texture to Zaalouk, and all are equally delicious.
How to Prepare Eggplant for Zaalouk (3 Ways)
Roasting: Slice the eggplant, drizzle it with olive oil, and place it on a lined baking sheet. Let it roast in the oven at 450° Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, flipping over halfway through cooking.
Boiling: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Then, add the chopped eggplant, and cook for 12-15 minutes or until it is soft and tender.
Grilling: Slice the eggplant, and place it on a heated grill for a few minutes on each side or until it is tender and charred.
*Note: You can vary your Zaalouk recipe even more by varying the size and shape of your eggplant pieces as well as how much oil you use.
How to Make this Zaalouk Eggplant Dip
Get ready for a recipe so simple it’s a breeze. No fancy tricks, just straightforward goodness. Just follow these easy-peasy instructions:
- Chop your veggies.
- Add all of the ingredients to a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- If you’d like, you can crush the ingredients with a wooden spoon or potato masher for a more pureed-like consistency.
What Should the Consistency Be?
Whatever you like! We prefer a slightly chunkier Zaalouk. So, we do not mash the ingredients much. However, if you prefer a smoother texture, you could completely crush the veggies into a paste-like consistency. It’s totally up to you.
How Do I Serve Zaalouk?
Traditionally, this eggplant dip recipe is served with a side of crusty bread! From time to time, we also like to use naan or pita for dipping.
If you’d like to make this recipe ahead of time, it’s super easy to store! Just place it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Or, store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Then, when you’re ready to eat, thaw it in the fridge overnight. If you’d like to serve it warm, just heat it in a saucepan on the stovetop, and adjust the seasonings as needed.
Should I Include Lemon?
You can finish off your dish by adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for an added tangy taste, but you don’t have to include it. We don’t!
Moroccan Zaalouk Recipe
- 1 large eggplant peeled, chopped
- 2 cups tomatoes chopped
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- Prepare the eggplant and tomato.1 large eggplant, 2 cups tomatoes
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot.3 cloves minced garlic, ¼ cup water, ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, 3 Tablespoons olive oil, ¼ cup chopped parsley
- Cover, and let simmer over medium-high heat for 20 minutes or until the liquids have reduced, stirring occasionally.
- Use a spoon or tomato masher to slightly crush the eggplant and tomato, if desired.
- Serve with crusty bread.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Have you ever tried Zaalouk before? If you give our version a shot, we would love to know what you think in the comments below!