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Sunday, November 5, 2023

Zaalouk- Moroccan Eggplant Appetizer

bowl of eggplant dip with olives

Looking for an interesting dip? Perhaps something different? It's fun to try recipes from a variety of cultures such as this delicious Moroccan Zaalouk (pronounced Za'alouk)

With the holidays coming, I'm always on the look out for healthy low calorie ways to entertain.  I was originally introduced to this tasty moroccan recipe at a Moroccan friend's appetizer party a few years ago, and had totally forgotten about it!

Moroccan appetizers in little round platesIt's made with eggplant and tomatoes, lemon juice, garlic and spices; cilantro and jalapeño are optional. After searching the Internet for Moroccan bloggers, I found that every Moroccan cook has his/her way of making this popular Moroccan appetizer.

White flat bowl with Moroccan vegan appetizer

Traditionally, zaalook, is smooth and creamy. Yet, there are those who prefer it a little chunky. I am one of "those".  

Roast or Cook the Eggplant? 
I've experimented with a variety of recipes that I found on some authentic Moroccan blogs. Some of which call for broiling or roasting the eggplant; others that call for cooking the eggplant in a saucepan. Personally, I like the way it tasted both ways.

However, I found the broiling (even in my air-fryer) messier, more time consuming, and it heated up my kitchen. Then I needed to remove skin from the eggplant, scoop it out, and chop it for the saucepan to finish cooking with the tomatoes. 

Therefore, I prefer cooking it on the stove top. 
The stove top method took about 20 minutes of prep including peeling and deseeding the tomatoes. 

Free Eggplant Aubergine photo and picture
Roasted eggplant need to be scooped out, chopped, and added to the saucepan 

Peeling and de-seeding the tomatoes
Ethnic cooking is delicious but can take a little effort. In this case, it is suggested that you peel off the skin and remove the seeds of the tomatoes before adding them to the saucepan to cook with the eggplant cubes, which is an extra step in the process.

I found a Youtube Video here that will teach you how to easily peel and de-seed the tomato!

Free Tomato Vegetables photo and picture

Eggplant is very popular in Moroccan cooking and makes a tasty low calorie base for a dip. Eggplant is cholesterol-free, naturally low in fat, yet provides a nice amount of fiber. 

It is a good source of manganese which is a mineral that works together with calcium and Vitamin D to help support bone health. A deficiency of manganese may reduce bone mineral density (source).

Moroccan eggplant appetizer in a bowl

Finally, I decided to add some Kalamata olives to my za'alouk. I think it gave it a little added texture and flavor. Serve with 
(GF ) crackers or crudités. 

If you are not a fan of eggplant, try one of my other Moroccan  recipes: Moroccan Quinoa, Moroccan Carrots, or Moroccan Chickpea Olive Salad

Recipe for Zaalouk 

4 cloves garlic, pressed 
2 tablespoons of water for sautéing garlic (see notes)
1 med/large eggplant, washed, peeled, and cubed
3 tomatoes, peeled and seeded and chopped
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup of freshly chopped cilantro (or parsley if you dislike cilantro)
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin 
Himalayan salt
Cracked pepper
1/4 cup of sliced Kalamata olives
*extra seasoning if needed (taste and decide-cumin, salt, garlic powder, pepper, lemon)

Add pressed garlic to a 3 qt. saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water. Cook slowly over a low heat for about 2 minutes, stirring. Add eggplant, tomato, lemon juice, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook on a low heat until the eggplant and tomatoes cook down and are very soft. Using a spoon, stir and make into a chunky paste. Add the olives and extra seasoning if needed.

My Notes: 

1. I like to keep my recipes oil-free. If you prefer, sauté in olive oil instead of water.

2. The addition of olives is my idea and not traditional to this recipe. 

3. I also saw a recipe for Zaalouk last week on a blog that I enjoy called Cocoa and Lavender. The author recently published a post featuring Moroccan appetizers that included zaalouk. You can see his recipe and his other Moroccan appetizer recipehere 

4. Keep this wonderful dip in mind for holiday entertaining. 
  •    Can be made a day in advance before serving
  •     Freeze (omit the olives) add them after defrosted
  •     Defrost in refrigerator and pour off any extra liquid
5. If you try making the zaalouk and make adaptations to the recipe, please share in the comments. 


  •                  Amazing Prayer for Israel:Sung so beautifully by a Cantor In a Florida, it brought tears to my eyes! Avenu Shabashamayim- means our father in heaven.


  1. I like zaalouk because eggplants are one of the few veggies that I can eat :-) Yours looks good.

  2. Never heard of Zaalouk but since I love eggplants I know I would like this recipe.

  3. What a unique, flavorful dip!!! It sounds delicious!!!!

  4. I've never tried Moroccan food. Looks yummy 😋

    Hugs and blessings, Judee

  5. I am not a lover of eggplant but this looks delicious!

  6. I love zaalouk because I love eggplants...it looks delicious!........Abrazotes, Marcela

  7. Thank you very much for the video, Judee. I just sent it on to my friend in Israel. I know she will enjoy it.

  8. I made a roasted eggplant and pepper dip yesterday and might try this during the week as I have another eggplant to use.
    from Tandy I Lavender and Lime https://tandysinclair.com

  9. I hate to be the wet blanket but I do not eat eggplant or any kind of olive. I do love tomatoes! But you are willing to work much harder than me in the kitchen, Judee! I admire you for that. I cook fresh, real food every day but we do eat meat and our meals are super simple. To each his own; however I admit to mentally looking down on people who are too lazy to cook without relying on pre-made foods plucked from the freezer section at the grocery, hahaa! I'm a little bit of a food snob I guess. We stand with Israel! xoxo

  10. After reading your post I am very hungry, it all looks soooooo very good. Hugs, Valerie

  11. I've never had Moroccan food before. It looks delicious. The zaalook sounds really good. You know, my dad used to grow eggplant in his garden, and my mom would cook it for supper. She dipped it in a flour batter and fried it. They both loved eggplant. The quote you shared is a special one. I've been thinking about that much lately. I will write that one down, thank you.

    Have a good November week.


  12. This sounds fantastic! I love eggplants and don't cook with them nearly enough. Plus, anything with olives gets my vote.

  13. Sounds so good Judee. I must remember to try it so will pin it. Saw it at Inlinkz-286-senior-salon-pit-stop. My posts this week are #108 through 111. Please take a look-see. Nancy Andres @ Colors 4 Health

  14. Sounds delicious. Are all your recipes gluten free? Thank you for the prayer for Israel.

  15. Something new to try out. Thank you for sharing your links with us at #286 SSPS Linky. See you again next week.

  16. I love eggplant and eggplant dips, but I don't think I've ever had Zaalouk. It's on my agenda now! And I'm for a chunky version, too!

  17. That is a wonderfully relevant quote from Martin Luther King. It's sad that so many seeming friends have turned out to be antisemites.
    best, mae at maefood.blogspot.com


Your comments are appreciated. I love knowing who is stopping by to read my posts! Have a great day.