Turkish Eggplant Salsa

4.65 stars average

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This smoky Turkish eggplant salsa made with tomatoes and red peppers can be served hot, cold, or room temperature. 

Dipping pita bread in Turkish eggplant salsa.

My husband and I love eating out at a local Turkish restaurant here in Grand Rapids. In typical Liz fashion, I am always more interested in the appetizers than the entire rest of the menu combined. What can I say? I love a good dip. This Turkish eggplant salsa is inspired by the one we always order. Smoky, charred, slightly sweet and totally addictive, you won’t believe how easy this healthy appetizer comes together. Served warm, room temperature, or chilled, it is delicious eaten as a dip with pita chips, as a side with grilled meat, or on top of quinoa as a hearty vegetarian/vegan main dish.


Ingredients for turkish eggplant salsa
  • Olive oil: Mild flavored and relatively healthy oil to cook the eggplant and other veggies.
  • Garlic: Gives the dip a sweet and spicy, pungent, aromatic taste.
  • Eggplant: Very mild vegetal flavor, it cooks to a very creamy texture and loses most of it’s bitter undertones.
  • Bell pepper: I like to use red bell pepper as it’s the sweetest of the bell peppers, but you could use orange or yellow!
  • Tomatoes: Diced tomatoes really give this dip a salsa like feel, and you can use freshly diced or canned!
  • Warm spices: Cumin, smoked paprika, and cayenne give this dip a mild kick of heat and depth of flavor.
  • Sugar: Balances out some of the acidity of this dip.
  • Lemon juice: Fresh, bright, citrus taste that pairs well with the other flavors.

How to Make Turkish Eggplant Salsa

Liz chopping an eggplant

Start your Turkish eggplant salsa by taking your eggplant and cutting it into cubes, and dicing your bell pepper and tomatoes.

Cooking chopped eggplant

Then heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and add the garlic, eggplant, and a sprinkle of salt, sautéing until eggplant starts to soften.

Adding diced red bell pepper to pan

Then add the red bell peppers to the pan.

Adding diced tomatoes to pan

Followed by the diced tomatoes. Add in the cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir together, reduce heat and simmer until all vegetables soften and flavors develop.

Turkish Eggplant Salsa

Serve garnished with fresh parsley and a side of pita chips, and enjoy your Turkish eggplant salsa!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mutabbal made of?

Mutabbal (or moutabal) is another Middle Eastern dip that is made with eggplant, although I’d say it’s more similar to baba ghanoush or hummus than my Turkish eggplant salsa.

Is it healther to eat eggplant raw or cooked?

Eggplant is good for you whether you eat it raw or cooked, however cooking it usually will make it less bitter.

Do you have to peel eggplant to eat?

The skin of the eggplant is totally edible! Although, depending on the thickness of the skin, you may want to simply based on textural preference.

Turkish Eggplant Salsa wide

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Liz eating Turkish eggplant salsa.

If you’re a fan of traditional salsa, then my Turkish Eggplant Salsa is a another great dip you’re going to love!

No fork required.

Turkish Eggplant Salsa

Turkish Eggplant Salsa

4.65 stars average
This smoky eggplant dip made with tomatoes and red peppers can be served hot, cold or room temperature. 
PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 30 minutes
TOTAL: 40 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 4 cups cubed eggplant ((no need to peel))
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup red bell pepper (diced)
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • minced parsley (optional garnish)


  • Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pot over medium-high heat then sauté garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add eggplant and salt to the pot and fry until eggplant starts to soften, about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add peppers to the pan and continue to sauté until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Pour in diced tomatoes and all remaining ingredients to the pan and increase heat to high. Bring pan to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are soft and flavors develop, about 30 minutes. 
  • Sprinkle with minced parsley to serve.

Last Step:

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Can be served warm, room temperature or chilled. Delicious with pita bread or on its own as a side dish.


Serving: 1gCalories: 60kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 1gFat: 3.6gSaturated Fat: 0.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3.1gSodium: 298mgFiber: 2.2gSugar: 3.8g
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8 responses to “Turkish Eggplant Salsa”

  1. ponyexpressions@yahoo.com Avatar

    The former long time cook at Zeytins (who now has his own restaurant) told me he roasted the eggplants for the smoky flavor. I will try this recipe, sounds great.

  2. Kim Cole Avatar
    Kim Cole

    LOVE Zeytin’s !! I live in Indy but make a trip over to Ada for a meal at Zeytin’s whenever I’m in GR. I can’t find their eggplant salsa anywhere else. It’s so good!!!

  3. Steve Avatar

    Crazy coincidence! I went to Zeytin in Ada today and searched eggplant salad when I got home to find this! My wife is Turkish and we just got back from a long vacation over there. Eggplant has become a regular item with many of our dishes! Thanks for the recipe and can’t wait to try it out!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      No way!! What a small world! Hope you enjoy!

  4. GiGi Eats Avatar
    GiGi Eats

    MMMM!!!! I went to Turkey before and it was SO amazing!!! This reminds me of MEZZES – which were served before all of our meals! SO good!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I’m so jealous I would LOVE to visit Turkey one day!

  5. Susan Avatar

    I’m not big on dips, but I agree that this sounds totally addictive. And I like the idea of using it as a vegetarian main.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I actually love it as a side dish or as a main dish!! It’s really so good on its own. :)