Easy Moroccan matbucha salad recipe (2024)

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Moroccan matbucha (pronounced mat-boo-ha) is a popular cooked tomato salad made from summer tomatoes, red peppers, garlic, spices, and sometimes, eggplant. This rendition is for the busy home cook, 30 minutes on the stove, without skimping on that rich and jammy flavour.

Easy Moroccan matbucha salad recipe (1)

🍅 Matbucha is a cooked salad or sauce made from ripe summer vegetables – juicy heirloom tomatoes, sweet red bell peppers, and sometimes, glossy dark aubergine. Spices such as garlic, chili and paprika are a must. The dish originates from Morocco and parts of North Africa, is widely enjoyed in Israel, and often features on a meze platter as a rich and flavourful appetizer.

Matbucha is also known as matbukha – Arabic for ‘cooked’, or salade cuite in French. This dish really is a celebration of summer tomatoes. It can be prepared more akin to a sauce, or slightly thicker like a dip.

Traditionally, matbucha is cooked low and slow, and often involves blackening the peppers, chilies and eggplant first, concentrating the flavour. It’s a labour of love, and patience!

My matbucha recipe is suited for the busy home cook, taking just a few shortcuts, without skimping on flavour. Eat it by the spoonful, or slather it on bread, either way, you won’t be disappointed.

Jump to:
  • 🍅Matbucha ingredients
  • 🍆Health benefits
  • 🌶How to make matbucha
  • 🥙Serving suggestions
  • 🙋FAQ's
  • 📖Recipe
Easy Moroccan matbucha salad recipe (2)

🍅Matbucha ingredients

Matbucha non-negotiables include –

  • Fresh or canned tomatoes
  • Red bell peppers
  • Onions or shallots
  • Paprika powder, chili flakes, garlic, sugar and sea salt
  • Olive oil

I’ve included eggplant as I love the flavour.

Traditionally, making matbucha is a lengthy process. When my Nana would prepare it, she would stand at the kitchen bench for hours, coring, scoring, boiling, cooling, peeling, chopping and finally slow cooking homegrown tomatoes with all the other ingredients.

It takes quite a mass of them in order to yield a modest amount of matbucha sauce this way!

For this reason, I’ve chosen canned, and have reduced the cooking time to make it a practical mid-week affair.

Easy Moroccan matbucha salad recipe (3)

🍆Health benefits

Most of the key matbucha ingredients fall into the nightshade family – bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, chili and paprika.

Nightshades contain glycoalkaloids (such as solanine in eggplant), which can cause reactions in very sensitive individuals.

Solanine can be neutralized to some degree by cooking with the addition of salt. For the rest of us, in moderation, alkaloids in plants from the Solanaceae family have actually be found to confer some protective benefits, with studies suggesting an anti-tumour effect [1].

The cooked tomatoes will provide the antioxidant lycopene in abundance, while extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) provides phytochemicals with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

🌶How to make matbucha

Ok let’s get this matbucha underway!

Step one. Peel the eggplant and cut it into 1cm cubes like the image below. De-seed the bell peppers and cut them into smaller pieces also.

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Step two. Add olive oil to a heavy-bottomed large saucepan to disperse the heat evenly. Add diced shallots, eggplant and bell peppers, finely sliced chili and a sprinkle of salt.

Cook over low-medium heat for a good 15 minutes until the vegetables have softened greatly, stirring often to avoid them sticking to the bottom of the pan.

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Step three. Add spices, cooking them for a few minutes to intensify the flavour – sliced garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, paprika.

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Step four. Add a can of crushed and sieved tomatoes – along with a teaspoon of coarse sea salt, coconut sugar and black pepper.

Let this simmer for a further ten minutes, evaporating off the tomato juices and letting the mixture develop a more jam-like consistency.

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Step five. Remove from the heat, and mash half of the matbucha before serving.

This is the texture you want to aim for – less of a salsa, more of a dip or a thick paste.

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Full permission to devour spoonfuls of matbucha as is!

🥙Serving suggestions

This is a great dish to cook the night prior to having guests – the next day, simply toast up some flatbread or sourdough, and top with avocado, chilled matbucha, and a few basil leaves. Impressive and so easy.

Other ideas – use matbucha as a base for thistagine, add to sandwiches, fold through pasta (reduce the salt to half a teaspoon), serve as a side dish, spoon a little bit over cooked vegetables or enjoy it as it.

Easy Moroccan matbucha salad recipe (9)


How long does matbucha keep?

Store it in the fridge and enjoy within the week.

Can you freeze matbucha?

Yes you can freeze matbucha in air tight containers or a silicon pouch.

Easy Moroccan matbucha salad recipe (10)

🌿Enjoyed this recipe? Leave a comment below, better yet - share a snap with me on instagram@ascensionkitchen.If you're after personalised health and nutrition advice,contact my clinic,I'd be happy to work with you.


Easy Moroccan matbucha salad recipe (11)


Naturopath Lauren Glucina

This matbucha cooked salad is rich, juicy and delicious - the perfect Moroccan appetizer! Made with eggplant, bell peppers, shallots, tomatoes and spices. Just the right amount of heat and sweetness.

5 from 6 votes

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Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 30 minutes mins

Total Time 40 minutes mins

Course Appetizer

Cuisine Moroccan

Servings 8

Calories 130 kcal


  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, or 1 red onion diced
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 red chili de-seeded, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or honey
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • liberal amount black pepper
  • 1 400g/14oz can of chopped tomatoes


  • Peel the eggplant and cut into 1 cm cubes. Remove the stems and seeds from bell peppers, slice into 1cm strips.

  • Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, medium temperature. Add shallots, eggplant, peppers, sliced chilli and a good sprinkle of salt. Cook for 15 minutes until the vegetables have softened considerably.

  • Add garlic, sweet paprika powder and dried chilli flakes, cook a few minutes.

  • Add chopped tomatoes, sea salt, coconut sugar, and liberal amounts of black pepper. Cook a further 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the juices have evaporated off and the mixture has thickened.

  • Remove from heat, mash half of the matbucha mixture for a jam-like texture before serving.



  • Use a heavy-bottomed saucepan to evenly distribute the heat and avoid burning
  • Both the eggplant and the bell peppers can be blackened over a barbeque or in the oven prior for a smokier flavour - I have omitted this step for the sake of time and truly the end result is spectacular without it
  • You can omit the eggplant and use more bell pepper
  • Honey can be substituted for the coconut sugar
  • Mash with a potato masher or fork to get the ideal consistency
  • Serve matbucha with flatbread or toasted sourdough
  • Store in glass jars in the fridge for up to a week
  • Freezes well
  • Nutrition panel is an estimate only, and reflects one of eight serves


Serving: 1gCalories: 130kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 2gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1.25gSodium: 120.5mgFiber: 3.25gSugar: 7.25gVitamin C: 39mgIron: 0.6mg

Keyword Matbucha

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Easy Moroccan matbucha salad recipe (2024)


What is matbucha sauce made of? ›

Matbucha is made with tomatoes, peppers, garlic, olive oil, and paprika. It's traditionally a spicy dip, its heat coming from either jalapeño peppers or other fresh hot peppers, or by adding dry hot pepper like Aleppo pepper (Affiliate link), hot pepper flakes or cayenne.

How do you thicken matbucha? ›

Final Touches Matbucha Cooked Tomato Recipe (Salade Cuite)

Add the sugar at this point. It helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes and thickens the sauce as it continues to cook. Cover and lower heat to simmer for another 30 minutes until the matbucha reduces and there is hardly any liquid remaining.

How do you eat matbucha? ›

To start a meal Israeli-style, serve matbucha with a selection of salads and dips, such as homemade hummus, the roasted eggplant and tahini dip baba ghanoush, a cool cucumber and tomato salad, and freshly baked pita bread.

Why is it called Romesco sauce? ›

Origins of Romesco Sauce Romesco originates from Tarragona in Southern Catalonia. The term 'romesco' comes from the Mozarabic “remescolar,” meaning "to mix." This sauce was first made by fishermen in the 15th century using simple ingredients like garlic, dry peppers, olive oil, dry bread, and wine.

How do you pronounce matbucha? ›

The process of bringing to life a product that most people have never heard of, let alone how to pronounce it (mat-boo-HA) is a tough one.

How can I thicken fast? ›

Use these tips and tricks to fix thin, runny soups and lackluster gravies without thinking twice.
  1. Flour. ...
  2. Cornstarch or arrowroot. ...
  3. Tomato paste. ...
  4. Reduce the liquid. ...
  5. Swirl in a pat of butter. ...
  6. Add an egg yolk. ...
  7. Puree some vegetables.
Apr 9, 2019

What can I use to thicken? ›

Here are ten options to help you condense your soups, sauces, and thicken gravy!
  1. Tomato Paste. If your soup or stew is watery, adding tomato paste may help! ...
  2. Arrowroot. You might prefer to avoid gluten in your recipes. ...
  3. Flour. ...
  4. Reduce Your Liquid. ...
  5. Puréed Vegetables. ...
  6. Egg Yolk. ...
  7. Yogurt. ...
  8. Rice.
Jul 15, 2022

How much cornstarch to thicken? ›

If you're cooking hot liquids like sauces, stock or broth, 1 tablespoon of corn starch per cup of liquid will give you a thin to medium consistency that's appropriate for soups or very thin sauces. 2 tablespoons per cup will give you a thicker, more gravy-like consistency.

What is the origin of the matbucha? ›

Matbucha likely originated in the cuisines of the Maghreb region in North Africa, which includes countries like Egypt and Tunisia, but it's most strongly associated with Moroccan cuisine.

What is the history of matbucha? ›

Matbucha's Origins

The origin of matbucha can be traced back to around the late 18th century, when tomatoes were introduced to North Africa by the Brits. Much like their Italian counterparts, cooks in North Africa started cooking down the bountiful harvest in order to preserve the tomatoes.

What is Skhug made of? ›

Skhug sauce is the hot sauce of choice in the Middle East, made from chili peppers, cilantro, and various spices. It can be red or green, depending on the color of the chilis.

Is hoisin sauce made of? ›

Ingredients. The key ingredient of hoisin sauce is fermented soybean paste. Some hoisin sauce ingredients include starches such as sweet potato, wheat and rice, and water, sugar, soybeans, sesame seeds, white distilled vinegar, salt, garlic, red chili peppers, and sometimes preservatives or coloring agents.

Where does Creole sauce come from? ›

Creole sauce, also referred to as "red gravy", creole tomato sauce, and sauce piquant in New Orleans, is a Creole cuisine, Haitian cuisine, and New Orleans cuisine sauce made by sauteeing vegetables in butter and olive oil. It is used in the American south.

Is hoisin sauce like? ›

Hoisin sauce tastes salty and tangy. It has a similar flavor profile to barbecue sauce, but with distinctly different flavors. It may taste slightly meaty or sweet.

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