This take on North African matbucha swaps the traditional red bell peppers for green, and blends in plenty of fresh green herbs and za’atar, giving the dish a verdant hue. Serve it on top of roasted chicken, fish, meat, or veggies. Or add it to a mezze spread, served with crackers or grilled pita for dipping.
plus 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
medium onion, finely chopped
peeled, 1/2-inch eggplant cubes
medium green pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
cloves garlic, finely chopped
dried za'atar, plus more for serving
red pepper flakes, or more to taste
15-oz. can diced tomatoes
fresh basil leaves, packed
fresh, mint leaves, packed
In This Recipe
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion, eggplant, green peppers, jalapeño, sugar, and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, za'atar, onion powder, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, and bring mixture to a simmer; reduce heat to low and cook, partially covered and stirring often, until mixture thickens and the vegetables grow very tender, about 10 minutes. Partway through cooking, mash the vegetables a bit with a potato masher or the back of a spoon.
Meanwhile, place the basil, mint, another generous pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a pesto-like paste forms. Stir green mixture into eggplant mixture and let cook until the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with additional salt and black pepper to taste. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with more za'atar.