|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 14g||18%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||11%|
|Total Carbohydrate 78g||29%|
|Dietary Fiber 8g||30%|
|Total Sugars 14g|
|Vitamin C 22mg||111%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Dishes featuring eggplants and tomatoes are very common in the cuisines of Northern Africa, Southern Europe, and the Middle East, where these ingredients are mixed with local produce and spices to become wonderful cold and hot salads. Better known eggplant dishes such as baba ghanoush or moutabel are a beautiful example of what these types of dishes can be. Moroccan zaalouk is no exception to the quality and bold flavors one can achieve when using simple ingredients in the right proportions. This cooked salad is made with eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and spices and served as a side dish to many meals but is usually presented as a dip alongside crusty bread.
Technically speaking, both eggplants and tomatoes are fruits, although they're usually grouped within the vegetable family. Both belong to the nightshade family, along with peppers, and potatoes, and both offer great nutrition, especially regarding their vitamin content. Eggplants offer significant amounts of fiber, vitamins A and C, magnesium, and niacin. They are also a good source of potassium—with 1,140 milligrams per pound of eggplant, this fruit offers almost a third of the recommended adult daily intake of the mineral.
Zaalouk is a delicious and nutritious preparation that can be served hot or cold. Because eggplants and tomatoes are the stars of the dish, we recommend buying organic ripe produce for the best flavor. The same goes for the olive oil, as this ingredient is what will bind together the salad and might also be drizzled on top before serving. Although it's simply delicious with bread, use zaalouk as a side dish to fish, chicken, or meat, or top rice or potatoes with it for a saucy addition to your everyday dishes.
For the Salad:
1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped
4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup water
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 lemon wedge
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 loaf crusty bread
Gather the ingredients.
Combine eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, parsley, paprika, cumin, salt, oil, water, and cayenne in a large deep skillet or pot. Cover and simmer over medium to medium-high heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
With the help of a spoon or potato masher, crush and blend tomatoes and eggplant.
Add lemon wedge to the pot, if using. Continue simmering mixture, uncovered, for 10 minutes. The lemon will give a tangy nuance but is not necessary.
The zaalouk is ready when liquids are reduced and mixture can be stirred into a heap in the center of the pan.
Drizzle olive oil—or chile oil if you like spicy food. Serve with sliced crusty bread.
Variations on Zaalouk
There is no one recipe for zaalouk. The main variation is in the way you cook the eggplant. Some cooks prefer to boil it separately first, and others to grill it, roast it, or place it under the broiler. These extra steps add different nutty or charred flavors to the salad, but ultimately it is up to you to experiment and decide which version you'd like the most:
- Slice the eggplant lengthwise and place it skin-side up under a broiler. Let it roast for about 15 minutes, or until the skin is scorched and the eggplant is very tender. Scoop out the roasted eggplant from the skin, puree it with a vegetable masher, and proceed with the recipe.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the chopped eggplant, cook for 12 to 15 minutes until very soft. Drain and add it to the pot with the rest of the ingredients. This version will yield a very soft pureed version of the salad.
- Cut eggplant in slices rather than cubes. Preheat the grill or pan, drizzle the eggplant with olive oil, and grill it for a few minutes on each side until slightly charred and marked. Remove from the grill, cube, and proceed with the recipe.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, "Eggplant, Raw." 30 Oct. 2020.