My Melitzanosalata recipe is simple, but its flavor is anything but! Enjoy this earthy, smoky, and creamy dip made with eggplants and other popular Mediterranean seasonings. Scoop it up with pita or serve alongside meat or fish.
One thing that I really love about Mediterranean cuisine is that it’s all about highlighting the natural flavors of produce. Using just the right seasonings, you can elevate and celebrate natural, unprocessed ingredients in the most delicious way. Melitzanosalata is a fantastic example!
Pronounced meh-lee-tza-no-sah-lah-ta, it is a popular Greek appetizer that is enjoyed year-round. The name translates to “eggplant salad,” though it’s more of a creamy eggplant dip or spread than an actual salad.
It does contain many ingredients that you might find in a bright, flavorful Greek salad: red onion, feta cheese, and parsley. We’ll blend it all together with smoky, roasted eggplant into a smooth, creamy, decadent dip.
Looking for more ways to enjoy eggplants? Try out this savory and hearty Moussaka recipe for a dinner party show stopper. Or perhaps you’d like another dippable, shareable appetizer! In that case, my White Bean Hummus is another simple dip that you can enjoy with warm pita or crisp, raw veggies.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Eggplant - This veggie has a spongy flesh and a mildly bitter taste. Once cooked, it becomes pleasantly tender and easily takes on the flavors of accompanying seasonings.
- Red Onion - Red is the best onion to use raw due to its mild and sweet flavor. White and yellow onions could be used as a substitute, but will translate to a sharper and more pungent note in the dip.
- Garlic - When using raw garlic, use sparingly so as not to overpower the dish. To substitute with garlic powder, use ⅛ teaspoon power per every ½ teaspoon of minced garlic.
- Red Wine Vinegar - Very bold and tangy, its distinct flavor bolsters the mild-mannered eggplants. Balsamic vinegar could be used instead for a similar, but fruitier, taste.
- Parsley - a bright and peppery herb that will lift the heavier tastes found in this eggplant dip. It is very herbaceous and a popular ingredient in Mediterranean dips and sauces. You might use cilantro as a substitute.
- Olive Oil - to add aroma and a smooth texture. I would not recommend substituting with another kind of oil.
- Feta Cheese - Use as a tangy garnish for pops of flavor. Goat cheese could also be used for a stronger flavor and creamier texture.
HOW TO MAKE MELITZANOSALATA
1. Preheat and Prep. Shift a rack to the upper third of your oven and preheat to 450°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
2. Slice and Roast. Wash the eggplants and halve each lengthwise. Coat with a thin layer of olive oil to help bake, and place flat-side down on the baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes, until the spongy flesh becomes fork-tender and the skin loosens.
3. Scoop and Drain. After cooling for 5 minutes, spoon the insides out of the eggplants and discard the skins. Transfer the contents to a colander, place over a bowl, and allow to drain for at least 10 minutes to remove excess moisture.
4. Mash and Combine. In a large bowl, mash the drained eggplants with a fork with the remaining ingredients. Alternatively, you could use a food processor or blender.
5. Season and Serve! Add the kosher salt and black pepper to taste, and your dip is complete! Enjoy right away while it’s hot or wait until it cools to room temperature. Sprinkle the feta cheese over top and serve with your choice of chips or veggies.
What is melitzanosalata made of?
This creamy eggplant dip is very simple, with a bit of garlic, onion, parsley, a dash of vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Though mild, it is a full-bodied and flavorful dish that can be enjoyed with pita or alongside your favorite meat or fish-based dish.
Are melitzanosalata and baba ganoush the same thing?
The two are often confused, but they are not the same dish at all! Baba ganoush is more like an eggplant hummus, made with tahini and lemon juice.
Melitzanosalata, however, is much simpler and is creamier in texture. It lacks the distinct nutty flavor that baba ganoush has and celebrates the smoky flavor and tender texture of the eggplant.
How long is melitzanosalata good in the fridge?
Leftover eggplant dip should be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. It is just as delicious after being refrigerated — in fact, many people enjoy it chilled.
You could freeze it for a couple of months, though the texture will likely be a bit less creamy.
Melitzanosalata (Creamy Eggplant Dip)
- 3 lbs eggplant
- ¼ cup red onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ feta cheese
- Preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice the eggplants lengthwise and brush the cut sides lightly with olive oil. Place them cut side down in the pan. Roast until the interior is very tender and the skin is loose, about 35 minutes.
- Let rest 5 minutes to cool. Scoop the flesh out of each eggplant, discarding the skins, and place in a colander or sieve over a bowl to drain for 10 minutes.
- Transfer eggplant to a bowl and mash with a fork along with other ingredients, or food processor for a smoother texture, pulsing several times while drizzling in the oil to thicken.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature topped with crumbled feta, chips of choice (pita chips as pictured).
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.