Melitzanosalata is a Greek eggplant dip that's made with eggplant, garlic and lemon juice. You can serve this eggplant appetizer as a part of a mezze platter with some pita.
If you are familiar with Mediterranean recipes, you know that dips are pretty common throughout the cuisines of the Middle East. Some of our favorite eggplant dips are baba ganoush and kashke bademjan, which are both simple, easy and great-tasting appetizers. Today's recipe is a Greek eggplant dip called melitzanosalata that's extremely delicious thanks to smoked eggplant and extra virgin olive oil.
Mediterranean eggplant dip
Melitzanosalata which roughly translates to "eggplant salad" is a classic Greek dish that's made with charred eggplants. It's perfect as a dip or spread on a Greek mezze platter. This vegan dip is so simple and easy to make and you can make it a couple of days in advance for your party or gathering. For those who are new to eating eggplant and trying eggplant recipes, this is one that you should definitely consider for an easy introduction to a versatile vegetable.
Greek eggplant dip ingredients
To make this roasted eggplant dip, you need the following ingredients:
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
It's all about the eggplant
Choosing the right eggplant for each recipe can be a tricky thing. Sometimes the eggplant you buy turns out to be very seedy and bitter. When it comes to frying eggplant, it's a good idea to salt the eggplant and let it release its "bitter juice". However, for this melizanosalata recipe we cannot salt the eggplant because we are going to char the eggplant. Therefore it's important to get an eggplant that doesn't get bitter when cooked.
Here is how to know an eggplant is a good one:
- It should feel heavy, especially at the bottom for its size.
- The eggplant must have bright and shiny skin.
- There shouldn't be any brown spots on the skin.
- The eggplant should feel firm and not soft at any part.
Same rules go for any other eggplant recipe such as caponata and stuffed eggplant. Make sure you check the eggplants before picking them. To make this Greek eggplant salad I used Italian eggplants but you can also use small globe eggplants as well.
A little note: If you're new to cooking with eggplant, please read this article about how to store eggplant by the Kitchn.
How to make melitzanosalata
- Char the eggplant: Wash and dry the eggplants. Turn on your gas range to medium high and place the eggplant on the range. Char it on one side until it starts getting soft and the skin starts to burn. Turn and char the other sides as well until the eggplant is completely cooked and charred on all sides. If you don't have access to gas range, roast the eggplants in the oven.
- Peel and mash: Let the eggplants cool until you can handle them. Open up the eggplant using a knife and scoop out the flesh. Place it in a colander and squeeze using your hands to get rid of the excess liquid. Let the eggplant sit in the strainer for 30 minutes. Discard the liquid and transfer the mashed eggplant to a bowl.
- Mix: Grate the onion and squeeze it to discard the liquid. Add the grated onion to the eggplant with minced garlic, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Serve cold with some pita bread.
How to serve melitzanosalata
This Greek melitzanosalata can be served as an addition to a mezze platter alongside muhammara, hummus and skordalia (Greek potato and garlic dip) and maybe even some tzatziki. Serve this delicious eggplant dip with some fresh pita bread or homemade pita chips.
Can you freeze eggplant dip?
Raw eggplant doesn't freeze well because of its spongy flesh texture. However, fried or roasted eggplant freezes very well if stored properly. To freeze eggplant dip, prepare the dip and then transfer it to a freezer safe container or bags and freeze for up to three months.
To serve, thaw the dip overnight in the fridge and transfer it to a bowl. Stir well and serve it cold with some fresh warm pita.
Notes and tips to make melitzanosalata
- Like traditional Greek salad, this Greek eggplant salad also uses quality fresh ingredients. Make sure you're using eggplants that are firm and heavy for their size. A good eggplant should not have any brown soft spots on its skin.
- Using quality olive oil is very important in this recipe. Invest in a good olive oil and use a light splash to give this dip an ideal flavor profile.
- Once you transfer the eggplant flesh to a strainer, let it sit for 30 minutes so it releases its extra liquid. Discard the liquid as it's bitter and has no use.
- If you don't have fresh garlic, you can use ½ tsp garlic powder in this recipe.
- It's easier to scoop out the eggplant flesh instead than it is to peel the skin.
Looking for more Greek recipes?
Tools and ingredients used in this recipe:
Melitzanosalata Recipe (Greek Eggplant Dip)
- 2 Italian eggplants about 1 ½ lb
- ½ white onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Wash and dry the eggplant.
- Turn on the gas range to medium high heat.
- Place the eggplant on the range and char on one side until the skin is burned and the flesh starts getting soft.
- Turn and char on the other sides until the skin is burned on all sides, the eggplant is cooked and the flesh is completely soft. This would take about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Place the eggplants in a bowl and let them cool a bit. Open them up using a knife and scoop out the flesh into a strainer placed on a bowl.
- Squeeze the eggplant in the strainer and let it sit for 30 minutes so it releases liquid.
- Meanwhile, grate the onion and squeeze it hard. Discard the excess liquid.
- Transfer the eggplant from the strainer to a bowl and discard the liquid from the eggplant.
- To the eggplant, add grated onion, minced garlic, chopped parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Serve cold with pita or crusty bread.
- You can use Italian eggplant or small globe eggplant for this recipe.
- Use ½ tsp garlic powder if fresh garlic is not available.
- If you don't have a gas range, you can grill or roast the eggplant in the oven.