Moroccan Zaalouk (Cooked Eggplant and Tomato Salad)

Moroccan Zaalouk (Cooked Eggplant and Tomato Salad)

The Spruce / Ashlae Warner

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
492 Calories
15g Fat
78g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 492
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1157mg 50%
Total Carbohydrate 78g 29%
Dietary Fiber 8g 30%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 22mg 111%
Calcium 219mg 17%
Iron 6mg 35%
Potassium 654mg 14%
*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.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.

"I loved the smell and combination of spices in this Moroccan Zaalouk. It's versatile as well, you can eat it as a dip, a spread, or as a side dish. You can also make it ahead and enjoy cold or warm. " —Jacqueline Tris

Moroccan Zaalouk/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Salad:

  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and coarsely chopped

  • 4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

  • 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, more to taste, optional

  • 1 lemon wedge, optional

For Serving:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, or chili oil

  • 1 loaf crusty bread

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Moroccan Zaalouk (Cooked Eggplant and Tomato Salad) ingredients

    The Spruce / Ashlae Warner

  2. 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.

    Eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, parsley, paprika, cumin, salt, oil, water, and cayenne in a pan

    The Spruce / Ashlae Warner

  3. With a spoon or potato masher, crush and blend tomatoes and eggplant.

    Tomato and eggplant mixture cooking in a pan

    The Spruce / Ashlae Warner

  4. 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.

    Tomato and eggplant mixture in a pan with a lemon wedge

    The Spruce / Ashlae Warner

  5. The zaalouk is ready when liquids are reduced and mixture can be stirred into a heap in the center of the pan.

    Moroccan Zaalouk (Cooked Eggplant and Tomato Salad) cooking in a pan

    The Spruce / Ashlae Warner

  6. Drizzle olive oil—or chile oil if you like spicy food. Serve with sliced crusty bread.

    Moroccan Zaalouk (Cooked Eggplant and Tomato Salad) in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Ashlae Warner

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:

  • Halve 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.
Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1.  U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, "Eggplant, Raw." 30 Oct. 2020.