This traditional eggplant and pepper salad, Zaalouk, is brought to us by Mahjouba Ezzammoury, an incredible cook from Morocco who is known by her friends and family as Hajiba.  We have changed up the cooking method a bit for the super busy person making it a 30 minute recipe.  Instead of charring the eggplants and peppers in the oven, we make it all in a Dutch oven or covered skillet.  I added Smoked paprika instead of the sweet paprika used in the original recipe to give it the smokey flavor of being charred in the oven.  If you want to try it the traditional way, the following story of Hajiba, making Zaalouk for her son will tell you how.

Zaalouk is one of the favorite dishes of Hajiba’s son Achraf.   Whenever he visits her, she cooks it for him. It can be either served as lunch or dinner, in combination with bread as a full meal or as a side dish combined with something else.

Like every meal Hajiba cooks, she goes to the souk (market) right after breakfast to buy all of the fresh ingridients. For this dish, she returns with eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, garlic and a bunch of cilantro. In her tiny, but well organized kitchen, she then starts to spread out everything she needs to make the Zaalouk. Now it’s time to actually start cooking!

Hajiba starts by putting the eggplants and peppers into the oven and roasts them at 450 degrees until their skin is burned. While waiting for them to be ready she starts chopping up the tomatoes into small cubes and adds them into a pre-heated large skillet with 3 tsps olive oil. Then she adds the minced garlic to the tomatoes and lets it simmer on medium heat for a while.

Because Hajiba is also busy with baking fresh bread, she sometimes forgets her veggies in the oven. While preparing the dough she smells something burned and remembers that she should turn the peppers and eggplants to get burned evenly on all sides.

Now she adds cumin, sweet paprika and salt to the tomatoes and stirs everything around. A very familiar smell spreads out in the apartment and attracts Achrafs attention. He joins his mum in the kitchen and in combination with the smell of fresh bread in the oven he can’t wait until it’s finally ready.

Now the skin is burned and Hajiba takes the veggies out of  the oven to remove their skin. She chops them into small pieces and stirs everything into the skillet. She then adds a little bit more olive oil, chopped cilantro and also more salt if needed. While she lets it cook for 5-10 minutes more, Achraf and her prepare the table with the freshly baked bread, olive oil and some hot spices. Sometimes it‘s eaten hot, but it‘s also very tasty cold. Enjoy!

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Zaalouk (Moroccan Eggplant and Pepper Salad)

Zaalouk (Moroccan Eggplant and Pepper Salad)

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 6
Calories 178 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 medium eggplants, peeled and cubed (1” cubes)
  • 3 red peppers, chopped (green peppers are fine as well) (green peppers are fine as well)
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt (add more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed and chopped

Instructions
 

  • Add all ingredients except for cilantro to a large skillet or Dutch oven with a cover. Mix everything with a large spoon. Cook on medium heat covered for about 20 minutes or until all ingredients are soft, stirring every few minutes.
  • Remove cover and stir in cilantro. Cook for a few more minutes uncovered.

Nutrition

Calories: 178kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 4gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gSodium: 689mgPotassium: 893mgFiber: 8gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 2436IUVitamin C: 99mgCalcium: 92mgIron: 3mg
Have you tried this recipe? Tell us about it!Click here to rate this recipe in the comments section below.
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12 Comments

  1. Leigh January 17, 2022 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Clarification: The red peppers he is talking about are red (or green) bell peppers.

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. January 24, 2022 at 9:05 am - Reply

      Yes, that is correct, red bell peppers. Thanks for the clarification.

  2. Faye October 10, 2019 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    I wanted to try this recipe as soon as I saw it. What an awesome comfort food. I lined my bowl with couscous, placed the warm eggplant and pepper salad on top, and garnished with grilled chicken. It was simply delicious. Five stars for me! ?

  3. Zach October 9, 2019 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    What kind of peppers? Bell peppers?

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. October 18, 2019 at 9:18 am - Reply

      You can use whichever peppers you have. I used red peppers and they came out great.

  4. Diane October 6, 2019 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    What type of peppers are used in this recipe?

    Also, are Nutritional Facts available for this recipe?

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. October 18, 2019 at 9:28 am - Reply

      Hi Diane,
      I use red peppers for this recipe. The nutrient analysis is now at the bottom.
      Bill

  5. R. Kees October 6, 2019 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    I have been using these ingredients in the same way from my garden’s harvest without realizing this dish had a real name. It’s fresh and delicious. I prefer Hungarian sweet paprika over smoked (but wonderful with either or 1/2 of each) and I never discard cilantro stems. They get chopped and tossed into the skillet. They are very soft and add extra flavor and nutrients. This dish is versatile. I also use it as a “shakshuka” base which is delicious baked with eggs and feta. If that isn’t enough, adding some heavy whipping cream to it for yet a slightly softer, richer flavor that is magnificent over pasta or rice. The recipe can be frozen and reheats easily. Five star rating hands down is my vote!

  6. Catherine L Tarr October 5, 2019 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    1/2 bunch coriander, stems removed and chopped

    Did you mean cilanto?

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. October 5, 2019 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      Yes, thank you! In Morocco, it is called coriander.
      Bill

      • Diane October 6, 2019 at 5:30 pm

        What type of peppers are used in this recipe?

        Also, are Nutritional Facts available for this recipe?

      • Bill Bradley, R.D. October 9, 2019 at 5:31 pm

        Hi Diane,
        I used red peppers which were excellent!

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