Moroccan eggplant salad (Zaalouk)

Contributed by Linda Shiue, MD

Moroccan eggplant salad (Zaalouk)

The food of Morocco, in Northern Africa, is known for its use of warm spices in dishes such as tagines and couscous. 

This warm Moroccan eggplant salad (Zaalouk), combining eggplant, tomatoes and classic Moroccan spices, is enjoyed as a side or with bread. This recipe was adapted from the Lands and Flavors blog, and my version includes the sweet touch of ground cinnamon.

Spices are not only wonderful for flavor, but for medicinal purposes. The spices in this dish include cumin and cinnamon, two spices known to have significant beneficial health effects. Cumin is a source of iron, aids digestion, and some studies have shown that it can possibly fight cancer. Cinnamon helps lower blood pressure and regulates blood sugar.

Servings: 8


  • 2 pounds eggplant
  • Olive oil for roasting the eggplant and for finishing the salad
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped


  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. 
  2. Peel eggplant and slice lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices. 
  3. Drizzle a large parchment-lined baking sheet with a generous tablespoon of olive oil and arrange the slices evenly on the parchment. Drizzle another generous tablespoon of olive oil over the slices, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and roast in the oven until the slices are cooked and browned, around 35 minutes. 
  4. Once they are golden brown, remove them from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes on the counter. 
  5. Once the eggplant is cool, cut it into bite-sized chunks. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic and cook for around 30 seconds. Add the paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and hot pepper flakes and bloom the spices in the hot oil for 10 seconds before quickly adding the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, black pepper, and bay leaf. 
  6. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add eggplant chunks, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for another 5 minutes. The eggplant should now be fully cooked and tender but shouldn't have disintegrated.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and the chopped cilantro. Adjust seasonings to taste. 
  8. Serve hot, warm, or room temperature with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 66
  • Total fat: 4 g
  • Sodium: 284 mg
  • Total sugars: 5 g
  • Protein: 2 g