Mechouia Salad literally translates from Tunisian to “Grilled salad” and it is exactly what it says on the tin: grilled tomatoes and peppers roughly grinded and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, perfect all year round.
Learn about its variations and how to make your own, for an authentic taste of Tunisia.
At its core, Mechouia salad is made of fire-grilled peppers, tomatoes and garlic, which are peeled off their skin, roughly chopped and mixed with caraway seed powder, coriander seed powder, salt and a loving helping of extra virgin olive oil.
Depending on the region, the recipe is additioned with onions, and sometimes seasoned with a spoon of vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice. Known to love a bit of heat in their cuisine, Tunisians also mix pepper varieties between sweet to mild to the odd chili pepper to mirror their fiery characters.
Different versions of Mechouia salad exist over North Africa with minor alterations here and there, although they have more in common than one might think.
Called “flefla” in Algeria, it is made of peppers, tomatoes, garlic and extra virgin olive oil as Ramadan spread staple, served with traditional breads such as “kesra” or “matlouh”. Meanwhile, Moroccan “taktouka” is flavored with cumin and fresh parsley and coriander herbs.
Tunisian Mechouia salad is also a staple of Tunisian meals and is frequently eaten in the summer when peppers and tomatoes are plentiful and grilling is in season. It is also typically enjoyed during Ramadan with an assortment of breads, from “Tabouna” to “m’bassess”.
If you are looking for an authentic flavor, we highly recommend investing in an outdoor fire grill to get the highly sought-after charred flavor that gives the Mechouia its name.
However, we do understand that it is not always possible which is why we would like to suggest other alternatives:
Remember that you can control the heat to make sure that your vegetables get evenly roasted, as well as how deeply you want the charred flavor. If you are trying this recipe for the first time, we recommend rotating your peppers, tomatoes and garlic to achieve an overall darkened outside skin.
No matter which method you choose, one thing is for sure: Mechouia salad is not a “set it and forget it dish”. Make sure you closely follow the roasting of your vegetables to avoid any accidents.
As for peeling the chillies, we recommend to sufficiently steam the peppers after they are grilled: this will make the process easier and quicker. We also advise you to use the back of a knife to carefully scrape off the charred skin or to wear gloves to avoid pepper burn.
At the off chance of getting burned, avoid washing with soap! Instead, apply aloe vera gel on the injury and give it time to cool.