Zaalouk (or Zalouk) is a Moroccan salad usually made with cooked aubergines against a backdrop of a fragrant tomato sauce.
It is also, popular throughout Magherb (Northwest Africa) with many incarnations and adaptations using peppers, cauliflower, courgettes, or pumpkin instead of aubergine.
In Arabic, zaalouk means ‘purée’, or literally translated to as ‘something soft’. It is sometimes spelled zaalouka, za3louk or الزعلوك in Arabic.
Often served at the beginning of the meal as a salad or dip, it can also accompany grilled meats or fish, kebabs, tagines and mezzes.
Zaalouk is almost always eaten with flat bread such as matlou3, khobz tajine, or kesra matlou3. There are numerous versions of this salad, in fact every household has its own take on Zaalouk, with recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.
This is our take on this classic Moroccan salad – we roasted the aubergine to intensify and showcase its flavour as part of an Arabic inspired healthy vegan lunch.
1 Large Aubergine – small dice
4 Ripe Tomatoes
1-2 Cloves Garlic – Minced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Tomato Puree
1/2 Tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tsp Sweet Smoked Paprika
1 Tsp Sea Salt
Garnish: Chopped coriander and a drizzle of olive oil. (optional)
Lightly coat the diced aubergines with some of the olive oil, salt, cumin and paprika.
Roast in the oven for 10 mins. Set aside.
Cut the tomatoes in half, lengthwise and grate using a box grater face down until the only thing your left holding is the skin. (Be careful not to hurt yourself!)
Heat up a sauce pan on medium heat and add olive oil, tomato pulp and juice, tomato paste and garlic. Cook for for 5 minutes. Then add roasted aubergine.
Using a potato masher, or the back of a fork crush some of the aubergines, leaving a few chunks.
Add cumin, salt and paprika – cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Add a little water if the sauce thickens up too quickly or until you get the desired consistency you like.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.