Melitzanosalata is a traditional Greek vegan and gluten-free dip / appetizer made with eggplants which have been charred over charcoal or over an open flame, until the skin blisters, to get a smoky taste.
The skin is then removed, as well as the seeds, if any, and the flesh is either finely chopped, mashed with a fork or pureed in a food processor.
Traditionally, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice or vinegar are added to the dip but as you will see below, I have made a lots of twists to the traditional recipe.
How to char an eggplant
There are several methods of roasting an eggplant and I have tried almost all of them. In the past, I had wrapped them in aluminium foil and baked them or I have cut them into slices and grilled them but my favourite method is to char them over an open flame as it imparts a smoky flavour to the flesh.
If you have metal skewers, use two parallel skewers to thread the eggplant to keep it from slipping off during cooking and turning. If not, you can use a fork.
You will notice that at the beginning the eggplant is hard to pierce but you will know that it is ready to use when it becomes soft and can be easily pierced.
You can also let them sit over the flame and keep turning them using tongs. This method takes about 15 minutes.
Before having a gas stove, I used to grill them in the oven. Preheat the oven to 180oC / 350o F and put the eggplants whole (without poking them) 10 cm / 2 – 3 inches under the grill and turn them regularly until they char. This will take about 30 minutes or more depending on the size of the eggplants.
You can also bake them in the middle of the oven until they blacken. Place them in a baking tray, without poking or wrapping them in foill, and cook them in a preheated oven to 180oC/ 350o F, until soft. This method takes about an hour, depending on the size of the eggplant.
Finally, you can char them over charcoal but I have never used this method before.
When I used to cook them in the oven, they did not have the smoky taste, so when I used to do that, I added some smoked paprika (sweet or hot) to get the smoky flavour.
A twist to the traditional Melitzanosalata
Scroll down for the Vegan and Gluten-free recipe
One day when I made melitzanosalata, I had some leftover tyrokafteri. I added it to the melitzanosalata and we loved it.
Ever since, if I don’t have some tyrokafteri, I like adding some feta and some hot pepper, such as some harissa or chili or hot paprika.
Whenever, I have some at home I always love adding them as they add colour and lovely a sweet flavour to this already wonderful dip.
Fiery Melitzanosalata with Tyrokafteri
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes on open flame or 45 minutes in the oven
Yield: 1 cup
- 2 charred eggplants
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 roasted Piperia Florinis
- 200 grams tyrokafteri
- A pinch of sea salt (optional)
- Char the eggplants over open flame until they become soft. When you can handle them, remove the skin.
- Put the eggplants and pepper in a food processor and add the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, garlic salt and pepper and purée.
- Add the tyrokafteri and mix until combined.
- Taste and if needed add some salt and mix.
- 2 – 3 eggplants (depending on the type) about 500 grams (1.1 lb)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 or more cloves minced/crushed garlic
- ½ tsp salt
- Freshly grated black pepper to taste
- ¼ tsp smoke paprika (optional)
- Parsley, dill, olives, roasted sweet peppers and a few drops of extra virgin olive oil to decorate (optional)
- Cook the eggplants on open flame until the flesh has charred and the interior is tender, for about 15 minutes.
- Alternatively, you can either grill or cook the eggplants in the oven as explained above.
- Allow to cool and carefully remove the charred skin.
- Pound the garlic with the salt using a pestle and mortar. Mash the flesh of the eggplants using a fork. Add the garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper and paprika and olive oil and mix until creamy.
- Garnish with finely chopped dill or parsley, olives, red roasted peppers and a few drops of extra virgin olive on top.
- Serve with Pita chips or vegetable sticks.
If baking them in the oven, add smoked paprika to get the smoky flavour.
For a non Vegan Dip:
You can add 50 grams of feta and 2 - 3 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt and puree them with the rest of the ingredients.
Nutrition InformationYield 1 cup Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 280Total Fat 28gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 23gCholesterol 0mgSodium 1223mgCarbohydrates 10gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 1g
"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,