I had never heard of Zaalouk until John Gregory Smith made it on Sunday Brunch a few months ago. It is a Moroccan salad of cooked aubergines, or eggplant, and tomatoes often served at room temperature as a dip or a side dish. And it is absolutely delicious! You can see his original recipe here.
My love for aubergines is a relatively new thing. I used to think they were greasy, spongy and tasteless, but obviously I just didn’t know how to cook them correctly. And it’s a good thing I learned as this Zaalouk is healthy but also very moreish. It is so filling and being very on trend, it is also vegan. I set about researching various Zaalouk recipes and now have this version which I am very happy with. While delicious served simply with toasted flatbread or pitta bread, it is also fab spread on toast with a fried egg for a quick snack or with crispy halloumi as per John Gregory Smith’s recipe. As a side it goes very well with Lamb Tagine.
Useful tips & links:
- Don’t stress about weights etc. I have given the weight of the food I use but you have a larger or small aubergine and that’s fine. Just taste as you go and adjust the different flavourings to suit what you have.
- In this recipe I cook the aubergine under a hot grill to give it a slightly charred flavour. The ideal way to cook it is to prick some holes in it and hold it over a gas flame or barbeque until it is soft. You could also simply chop it up small and cook it directly in with the tomatoes.
- Traditionally it is made with fresh tomatoes. However, tomatoes are really only at their best here in the Summer so I use tinned tomatoes. If you want to use fresh, use approx. 300g of tomatoes and peel and deseed them before dicing them up small. You may not need to use sugar when cooking with fresh tomatoes.
- I use harissa paste to add flavour, if you don’t have it or the sumac, add a pinch of chilli flakes and more smoked paprika or some Aleppo Pepper instead.
- This Zaalouk is best made ahead to allow the flavours to develop. It will keep for approximately 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Make sure you bring it up to room temperature before serving.
- Click here for more recipes using aubergines or have a look at this Couscous Filled Aubergine from I Can Has Cook.
Zaalouk or Moroccan Aubergine and Tomato Salad
- 2 Aubergines, weighing approx 500g-600g
- Olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes, drained
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- ½ a teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon of harissa paste
- A pinch of sumac
- Salt and pepper
- A pinch of sugar
- A small bunch of fresh parsley roughly chopped
- Lemon juice
- Turn on your grill or broiler to high and line a baking tray with aluminium foil. Half the aubergines lengthways and brush all over with some olive oil. Place them cut side down on the tray and heat under the grill for 15 – 20 minutes until the skin has charred slightly, collapsed and the flesh is completely soft. Allow the aubergines to cool.
- Meanwhile heat more olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Crush the cloves of garlic and fry them for a few minutes until soft, taking care not to let them burn. Add the cumin, paprika, harissa paste and sumac and cook for another minute. Pour in the drained tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and add a little sugar if the tomatoes are acidic. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
- When the aubergines are cool enough to handle use a spoon to scrape the flesh away from the skins and roughly chop it up. Discard the skins.
- Add the chopped aubergine flesh into the tomato sauce and mash it all in together. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and most of the chopped parsley and taste for seasoning. You can add a little more spice here if you like.
- Allow the salad to cool and then serve with the remaining parsley on top and a drizzle of olive oil with some toasted pitta or flatbread.
- Store the Zaalouk in an airtight container in the fridge.