Melitzanosalata is a Greek Eggplant Appetizer often served as a mezé platter with pita bread for dipping. It is a super healthy dip that my aunt always makes at our family parties! It is made with roasted eggplant, fresh garlic, oil, and lemon juice! A simple yet delicious small plate starter everyone will love!
What IS Melitzanosalata?
Melitzanosalata is a traditional Greek appetizer served in many tavernas in Greeze. It is a tasty spread or “eggplant salad” that is often served cold or room temperature with many other small plates (and lots of pita bread) for dipping.
Eggplant in Greek is called “melitzana” and salad in Greek is “salata” so putting both together literally means eggplant salad. I like to think of it more as a dip or spread than a salad but who’s judging? This appetizer is great for parties because it’s very healthy, easy to make, inexpensive and will please even your vegan friends!
Other common names for this dip are baba ghanoush, aubergin dip or eggplant “paste”. Baba ghanoush is very similar to this but melitzanosalata has NO tahini in it. I like to think of it as a ‘Greek style’ baba ghanoush but BETTER!
How To Make A Roasted Eggplant Spread
Being Greek, I have had my fair share of Greek salads and spreads. Most often, I’m able to enjoy this authentic roasted eggplant dip at our family parties thanks to my aunt! Her recipe is delicious so I asked her for the recipe.
I did tweak the recipe just a bit by adding fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley. The lemon juice helps keep the eggplant from turning brown AND adds a touch of acidity which I think it needs. And the parsley adds a pop of color and freshness!
Steps For Making Melitzanosalata:
It is so simple to make! Keep in mind that most people use whole roasted eggplants, However, for this recipe, to save time, I cut my eggplant in half lengthwise and roasted it that way. It roasts much faster this way.
- Pierce or poke your eggplants with a fork then roast whole in the oven for about an hour (this is usually done whole). Alternatively, you can grill your eggplants for a smokey flavor.
- Allow eggplants to cool and scoop out the pulp.
- Squeeze out any excess water or liquids using a colander or strainer.
- Chop up pulp with a knife so it is “mashed”. If you want more of a ‘chunky’ eggplant dip, give it a rough chop.
- Add minced garlic, lemon juice and parsley and mix. Add any leftover olive oil from the pan for more flavor!
- Allow flavors to meld for about an hour.
- Serve cold or room temperature with warm grilled pita bread.
Should You Peel Eggplants Before You Cook Them?
No! When you roast them long enough, the skin will be very easy to peel off! I don’t recommend leaving the skin on. The chunks of skin will take away from the smoothness of the dip.
How To Take The Bitterness Away From Eggplant
Eggplant has a tendency to be very bitter and can ruin your dish if not cooked/baked properly. I like to use salt to remove any bitterness prior to cooking. Here are some other great tips for preventing bitter eggplant!
What To Serve With Your Dip
The best and most traditional thing to serve with this eggplant dish is PITA BREAD! Because this dip is more of a ‘spread’, you can serve the dish with a small spoon if you’re expecting company.
Here is a great recipe with a video for how to make your OWN pita bread!!
Almost all the restaurants in Greece, or even in the Mediterranean, serve grilled or charred pita bread OR crusty bread with their dips. The grilled pita bread is my absolute favorite. If you can find a good brand, snag it and freeze it in bulk!!
How To Grill or ‘Char’ Your Pita Bread
Tossing your pita over a fire takes it to ANOTHER level! It is so easy to do and so worth the extra step!
All you do is take the whole pita round and place it directly over the flame on your stove. (This will only work with a gas grill). Keep a close eye on the pita so you don’t burn it! You just want a slight char your pita to give it a nice smokey flavor. Do this on both sides and then cut into triangles and serve!
What Can I Add To My Melitzanosalata?
There are a few different things you can add to your eggplant dip to up the “flavor ante”:
- Grill your eggplant to get a smokey flavor in your dip
- Add some spices like paprika, chili powder, cumin or cayenne
- Add some red wine vinegar
- Add some other fresh herbs like dill or thyme
- Add some Worcestershire. (It is my secret ingredient in a lot of dishes!)
- Add some liquid smoke. (This stuff allows you to get that smokey flavor without touching a grill.)
- Add tomatoes or roasted peppers
- Add some feta cheese
- Add chopped olives
- Add shredded onion
Turn Your Melitzanosalta Into A Crowd-Pleasing Greek Meze Platter
“Meze” means small dishes in Greek. A fun thing I love to do is add other items with this dip to create heavy appetizer spread or even small meal. Just serve it alongside a few other Greek dips to keep the flavors in the ‘Mediterranean ballpark’.
Here are some other dips I recommend serving with it:
Other ingredients you want to throw on your platter:
- Kalamata olives
- Roasted Peppers
- Feta cheese
Can You Make This Ahead of Time?
Yes! In fact, I recommend it so the flavors have a chance to infuse. You can make it 1-3 days ahead of time and keep it stored in a sealed container. Try making it at least a few hours ahead of time, if not, the night before serving works well.
Can You Freeze Your Dip?
Yes! You can freeze it for up to 12 weeks. Just make sure you seal the container very well. What I do is place the dip in a plastic container. Add a layer of plastic wrap directly over top of the dip. Then seal it closed with the lid. It will help prevent freezer-burn. You should defrost the dip in your refrigerator overnight.
Here are some other Mediterranean inspired dips you may also like!
Melitzanosalata (Greek Roasted Eggplant Dip)
Melitzanosalata (Greek Roasted Eggplant Dip)
- 2 Medium Eggplants ((about 2 1/2 lbs))
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 2-3 Small Garlic Cloves Minced ((or 1-2 large))
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Parsley
- *Salt and Pepper to taste
Charred Pita Bread Triangles (for dipping)
- Preheat your oven to 425° F.
- Cut eggplants in half and place them on a baking sheet. Prick the outside of each with a fork a 6-7 times. Drizzle entire eggplant with olive oil and leave them cut-side down on baking sheet. Cover baking sheet with foil and bake for 45 min-1 hour. (You will know they're ready when you can easily pierce them with a fork). You really can't "overcook" your eggplant for this recipe so don't worry about leaving them in too long.
- When eggplants are cool enough to handle (about 20 minutes) remove skin and chop up with a knife until you have the consistency you prefer. **If you want your dip to be very smooth, you can simply add all of your ingredients to a food processor and blend together.
- If not using a food processor, add your eggplant, parsley, lemon juice and garlic to a large bowl and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper to your liking! (Eggplant is very bland on its own so don't be afraid to add a good amount of salt!)
- For best results, allow flavors to infuse for at least an hour in the fridge before serving. Serve with charred or grilled pita or naan bread on the side!