Roasted Greek Eggplant Dip – Melitzanosalata, is a simple yet tasty dish of roasted eggplant, red pepper, onion, garlic, oil, and lemon juice. It’s perfect spread on crusty bread, toasted pita, crudités, or as part of a larger Greek meze platter!
Melitzanosalata (meh-lee-TZAH-noh-sah-LAH-tah) is a delicious dip that makes a wonderful snack, appetizer, part of a meze spread or even a delicious side for a meaty dish. It is a classic Greek meze made with eggplant, crushed garlic, onion, chopped parsley, and extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, and fresh lemon juice. With the addition of roasted red pepper, you make the Mount Athos Melitzanosalata. It is quite similar to baba ghanoush but less creamy and lighter. It’s typically served with crusty bread, pita or vegetables and is a real crowd pleaser.
If you were to order a platter of meze (or pikilia, i.e. a variety of appetizers) at a Greek restaurant, it is highly possible that roasted eggplant dip (melitzanosalata) will be included. It makes a great appetizer or you can do as I like to do and pair it with other Greek dips to make a meal (such as tzatziki and taramasalata).
Growing up, I tended to favor other Greek dips like tzatziki, hummus, tahini sauce and taramasalata (a tasty dip made of cod roe). It wasn’t until I was in my late teens or early 20s when I started to appreciate eggplant in any form. Maybe it’s just that my taste buds were maturing, but I really, really like eggplant now, and this became one of my favorite appetizers for a summer gathering.
What is the difference between the Greek Melitzanosalata and Baba Ghanoush?
As most Mediterranean restaurants serve baba ghanoush, it is not surprising that it is more widely known than the Greek roasted eggplant dip, melitzanosalata. Baba ghanoush is of Arabic origin, and the primary difference with Melitzanosalata is found in texture and ingredients. The focal point of the Greek roasted eggplant dip is the eggplant left chunky in its basic form. Baba ghanoush, on the other hand, has a much smoother, creamier texture and is typically processed with a fair amount of tahini. Both dishes are delicious and have distinct differences in the texture and flavor, making them difficult to pick one!
How to make Melitzanosalata from scratch
- When preparing this traditional Greek Roasted Eggplant Dip – Melitzanosalata recipe, make sure you use some fresh purple fat eggplants (not the long ones) and give them enough time to bake until soft and cooked throughout.
- Start by piercing the eggplants all over several times (so they won’t explode while cooking) and roasting them either on the broiler or, for a smoky flavor, on the barbeque. If no barbeque is available or the weather is not permitting the use of one, roasting the eggplants in the broiler is the next best thing.
- Let the eggplant cool until it’s easy to handle then peel it.
- While the eggplants are roasting and/or cooling, prepare your other ingredients: dice the pepper, chop the parsley, slice the scallions, and prepare the mixture of olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and salt.
- Chop the eggplants, add the vegetables and the oil mixture and stir to combine.
- Refrigerate the eggplant dip for at least an hour prior to serving.
Some recipes call for using a blender to puree the eggplants resulting in a dip with a creamy, smooth texture. The method described here is a more traditional way.
What You Will Need
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- Baking Sheet with rack.
- Aluminum Foil.
- Medium Mixing Bowl.
- Cutting Board.
- Mesh Strainer.
- Blender or Mini Food Processor.
Greek Roasted Eggplant Dip – Melitzanosalata
- 2 lbs Eggplants, purple 2-4 depending on the size
- 1 Roasted Red Bell Pepper jarred, diced to 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 Scallions finely sliced, white and green parts
- 2 tbsp Parsley only the leaves, finely chopped
- 1 clove Garlic roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- Salt to taste
- Preheat the grill , if using, or the broiler.
- If using the broiler, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) and place a rack in the prepared pan.
- Using a fork, pierce the eggplants all over, several times, and arrange them on the rack of the pan or on the grill.
- If using the grill, roast the eggplants for about 30 minutes on the grill, turning them occasionally until the eggplants are soft (when pierced with a fork) and their skin is charred on all sides evenly.
- If using the the broiler, roast the eggplants for about 45 minutes, turning them occasionally until the eggplants are soft (when pierced with a fork) and their skin is black on all sides evenly.
- When ready, set them aside for 10 minutes to cool. Place a mesh strainer over a mixing bowl.
- Cut the eggplants lengthwise and using a fork scoop out the flesh and transfer to the strainer. If the eggplants have a lot of large seed, remove and discard the part with the seeds. Discard the skins.
- Let rest for 15 minutes. Using a spoon, press occasionally to drain much of the eggplant juice. Discard the juice as it is very bitter.
- While the eggplants are roasting, prepare the other ingredients.
- Transfer the eggplant on a cutting board a roughly chop them. Transfer the chopped eggplants to a new mixing bowl.
- Add the diced peppers, the parsley, the onions and set aside.
- In a mini food processor, or the bowl of a blender, add the garlic, the vinegar, the olive oil and the lemon juice. Beat until the garlic is completed mashed and you have a thickened, light green mixture.
- Add the liquid to the bowl with the eggplants and stir gently until all the ingredients are combined and the vegetables are spread evenly. Season with salt to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, to allow the flavors to blend.
I hope you will give this roasted eggplant dip a try!
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.
If you are looking for more Greek dip recipes, here is a recipe for tahini sauce.
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