Melitzanosalata is a traditional Greek eggplant dip made with roasted or chargrilled eggplants, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar and parsley. It’s easy to prepare and belongs to a staple of Greek recipes or Greek dishes known as “mezze” (small plates) in Greek.
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It’s perfect for sharing. Be like the Greeks and share your food! Variety is the spice of life, and nothing is more inviting than a choice of foods all laid out for everyone to enjoy. Melitzanosalata is the perfect addition with a selection of other Greek dips such as tzatziki and htipiti. Add some Greek roasted vegetables and some crusty bread (or pita bread), and you have a feast fit for a Greek king! If you’re not keen on sharing, I highly recommend serving it as a delicious side with some pork souvlaki or swordfish souvlaki.
It’s a great way to use up eggplants. If you somehow end up with too many eggplants during eggplant season, make this greek eggplant dip. It’s as easy as roasting, peeling and blending. If, however, you’re not a fan of this classic Greek dish - try your hand at some other eggplant dishes. I highly recommend my Pasta alla Norma (Sicilian eggplant pasta) or papoutsakia (stuffed, baked eggplants).
It’s perfect if you’re following a plant-based diet. Greek cuisine might be synonymous with its roast lamb; however, the Mediterranean Diet’s beauty is its focus on greens and plants. Melitzanosalata is a humble, rustic dish packed with flavour and a great way to introduce yourself and others to this eating style.
Eggplants - use the large, purple variety (these are sometimes referred to as American eggplants). These eggplants have a meaty texture and are perfect for roasting or grilling, and hold their shape well.
Garlic Cloves - it’s almost compulsory! The garlic adds an intense flavour and another signature taste to our melitzanosalata.
Red Wine Vinegar - the vinegar provides acidity and rounds out the flavours of the remaining ingredients.
Top tip: use fresh lemon juice if you don’t have any vinegar on hand. It works just as well.
Fresh Parsley - adds an earthy and fresh flavour to the dip
Olive Oil - helps to emulsify and bring everything together. Be sure to use an excellent Greek extra virgin olive oil when making melitzanosalata.
Breadcrumbs - this is entirely optional. I find that adding a tablespoon helps to keep everything together without the dip being too runny.
Smoked Paprika or Liquid Smoke - Melitzanosalata is traditionally made by charring the eggplants over an open flame, giving it its signature smoky flavour. If you don’t have access to an open flame, try cheating by adding ½ tsp of good quality smoked paprika or a few drops of liquid smoke.
Place eggplants on a lined baking sheet and roast in a preheated oven (180 deg C - 350 F) for 1 hour.
Top Tip: Use a fork to prick the eggplant flesh before roasting.
Once the eggplants are cooked, allow them to cool on the baking tray for half an hour.
Very gently peel the skin and place the eggplant flesh in a colander to drain for half an hour.
Place the eggplant flesh, garlic, breadcrumbs, olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Serve the melitzanosalata immediately or refrigerate for a few hours and serve later.
Broil or grill your eggplants. If you don’t have a gas stove and prefer a more pronounced smoky eggplant flavour, you can broil your eggplants instead. (This process should take approximately 20 minutes). Place your eggplants on a baking tray and place them under a hot broiler. Cook until the skin on the whole eggplant is blistered (be sure to turn periodically to get all sides).
Use a fork instead of a food processor. If you prefer not to use a food processor, place all the ingredients for the melitzanosalata in a medium bowl and mash roughly with a fork. Just be sure to finely chop your garlic in advance. The texture will be a little more on the chunky side but still equally delicious.
Add roasted peppers. If you want to make this delicious eggplant dip, “next level” fold through a small chargrilled red pepper once it has been blended or mashed. It adds an extra smoky hit and a delicious flavour.
Melitzanosalata is pronounced meh-lee-tza-no-sa-lata. It is derived from two Greek words - melitzana (eggplant) and salata (salad), which translates as eggplant salad. You’ll often see it in a Greek restaurant labelled as “Greek eggplant salad.”
It is not something I recommend as I find the dip becomes watery after defrosting.
A lot of variations exist in the Middle East, and baba ghanoush is one of them. While these two dips share many similarities, the primary difference is that baba ghanoush has a good quantity of tahini added to it. This delicious Greek eggplant dip focuses on the eggplant allowing it to be the star of the dish.
If you end up with a bitter eggplant, try removing the seeds. This will help remove any bitterness.
Yes. There are no animal-derived ingredients in it.
More delicious Greek dips
Video - how to make it
Melitzanosalata - Greek Eggplant Dip
- 2 eggplants
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1½ tbsp breadcrumbs
- ⅓-½ cup extra virgin olive oil, (adjust as necessary)
- 3 tbsp vinegar, red wine
- pinch salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, loosely packed
- Place eggplants on a lined baking sheet and roast in a preheated oven (180 deg C - 350 F) for 1 hour.
- Once the eggplants are cooked, allow them to cool on the baking tray for half an hour.
- Very gently peel the skin and place the eggplant flesh in a colander to drain for half an hour.
- Place the eggplant flesh, garlic, breadcrumbs, olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley in a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Serve the melitzanosalata immediately or refrigerate for a few hours and serve later.
This post was originally published in February 2015, but was republished with completely new pictures, step-by-step instructions and video in March 2021.