Warm Tunisian Salad (Salata Mechouia)

Serves: ~4
Approx cost: ~€0.90 – €1.80, depending on the season
Approx calories (per serving): 150 (reduce Olive Oil to make it healthier)
Approx preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes

So – I hate the fact that I’m kicking off 2012 with such horrifically bad photos for my posts. The fondue, this salad, and just wait until you see the next post. Dear, oh dear – I hope that you’ll trust me though when I say that the taste is actually amazing – despite its appearance in the photo :(. This is one of those times when I’m going to have a redux one day I think! (Updated the photos now… hopefully it’ll look a bit more appetizing!) Anyway – I hope you’ve all been having a safe and enjoyable year so far. Two more days of vacation enjoyment for me and then it’s back to the “real world”. We had the option of catching a return flight on the Sunday but I just can’t do that. I need time to unpack, unwind, mentally prepare myself for work again. It’s always said that one of the times when you need a holiday most is right after a holiday. Almost all the vacations my wife and I take are very stress-free. No crazy backpacking across Asia or base-jumping, or whatever that extreme sport is called (can you believe some people find this enjoyable?!), but travelling and changes in country/environment still take it out of you.

Anyway, I’ve had, and am having, a wonderful time. I’ve taken some nice photos and can’t wait to show you all in posts when I return, as well as running a couple of giveaways with a couple of delightfully Swedish things I’ve picked up. In the meantime, I thought I’d post another little “teaser” photo for you to see. What have we here? Well… it’s snow. Oh, if you look straight ahead you’ll see some more snow 😉 There’s nothing like a brisk walk after breakfast before the sun goes down. Incidentally, this was one of the coldest days we had. The temperature was almost -15 degrees Celsius I think, with a vicious wind. I took off my glove for literally 30 seconds to take a video on my cellphone and immediately regretted it because it then took me about 30 minutes to warm it back up again. Still – we did have waffles when we came back, for lunch, so that more than made up for it.


Today’s dish is a fantastically light dish. I hesitate to call it a salad, but apparently that’s what it is, so who am I to argue with a country’s naming conventions. It’s also one of these things that goes with everything – baked potatoes, sandwiches, cold meats, pasta… I do apologise for the poor final photo but believe me – it tastes wonderful, so please consider giving it a try.

Salata Mechouia

Have a wonderful day everyone!


Warm Tunisian Salad ingredients

  • 2 – 3 Red or Yellow Peppers
  • ~5 Tomatoes
  • ~3 – 4 cloves of garlic, with skin
  • Juice from half a Lemon
  • 4 tbsps Olive Oil
  • ~2 tsps Ground Cumin
  • ~2 tsps Ground Coriander
  • Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper


  1. Start off by washing the peppers and tomatoes. Place them on a baking tray with the garlic and place under a hot grill (broiler) for about 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so, until the skin is blackened and charred on all sides.
    Warm Tunisian Salad ingredients
  2. Remove from the grill and allow to cool slightly, before pulling away the skins, which should slide off very easily. Remove the stalks from the peppers, as well as all the seeds, and cut away the woody centres of the tomatoes. Chop the grilled tomatoes, peppers, and garlic as finely as you can and transfer to a large bowl. Add in the ground cumin, ground coriander, lemon juice and a sprinkling of salt and black pepper and stir well to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in the olive oil gently with a spoon before serving immediately while still warm. Enjoy :)
    Warm Tunisian Salad


    • says

      Nice, thanks for the link – I love photo diaries like this! I made the mistake of “straying” off the cleared paths today and found myself in snow above my knees. It’s weird stepping onto such a smooth surface and sinking down so far!

  1. says

    What I’d give to dive into that photograph right now. It’s been boiling hot for the last 2 days after weeks of thunderstorms. Think if I put those peppers outside it’ll grill beautifully 😀
    I love roasted peppers. This’ll be great with some crusty bread or crackers. Yum!

    • says

      I know, I know… It’s been soooo hot here Down Under, I just want to dive into that pic, too!
      I can’t believe those people sleeping in those hammocks! I couldn’t even sleep knowing I was dangling off a wall above ground so high that I can’t even see it..

      Just wondering, could you call this salad a soup? I feel like it’s a bit of a chunky soup…. ??

  2. says

    I confirm it’s dead tasty, especially when the veggies are char-grilled or naked flame grilled! It’s soupy but if you consider you will be spooning it to put garnish bread cut or use it as a dip, the soup/salad might become acceptable..

    The thing is you shouldn’t use a food processor, rather use manual grinder (old stuff), or just cut it finely. That’ll give you a non-soupy consistency. here is a nice video for that http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvHcpiCpilc&feature=related.
    I happen to know because we have the same thing in Morocco and we call it Tektouka.

    • says

      Thanks for the video link Nada – watching it made me hungry again 😀 When I make fricassee I find there are a lot of components to prepare to put into the sandwiches. Usually, I really don’t want to spend the time finely chopping all the things – so a few pulses with a food processor is usually an adequate solution though, but of course I can agree that old school methods are undoubtedly better.

    • says

      Hi Nada, I made this again and this time cut it really finely myself, instead of using a processor… MUCH better result! Updated the photos as well since they looked terrible before :p

  3. says

    Hello, I`m new here but very glad to finally visit your wonderful blog. The snow photograph is marvelous! Scary, but marvelous 😀
    I`ve been hearing about charring bell peppers before peeling off the skin and mashing the flesh, but I`ve never tried it. Now it seems to me that I really have to give it a try because I can very easily get all the ingredients in your list. Thank you for sharing and Happy New Year!

    • says

      Hi Arudhi, thanks for coming by and welcome! I’m glad you like the snow photo – I’ll post some more as soon as I’m back from my vacation so do check back soon! I often buy a lot of red peppers and grill them until the skin is very black. Once done, allow them to cool, peel them and remove the seeds. Cut the flesh into large portions and place into a clean jar. Cover with olive oil and store in the fridge and you’ll have your own stash of grilled peppers ready for cooking pies, salads, sandwiches etc. An excellent sandwich is good white bread, grilled peppers, feta cheese and rocket! SOOOO nice :)

  4. says

    This morning my daughter was asking: “where is that place where they only get sun for a couple hours again.” My family is quite intrigued with your stories about Sweden and the limited hours of sunshine. In any event, your salad sounds like a very interesting flavour combination. It doesn’t sound too “spicy” so maybe the ponytails would like it too.

    • says

      Hi Barb. I’m so glad you’re enjoying my photos and stories – it makes me really enthusiastic about writing some good posts when I return, showing all my photos :)

      For the salad – the only really “spicy” thing inside is the cumin. You can add a bit less (I’m obsessed with cumin, I love it so much!) – I hope your girls will share my love of this amazing spice :)

  5. says

    Didn’t I tell you that Mike, the kids and I hang our sleeping bags from cliffs on nearly all of our vacations. LOL. Wow. And I’m with you on coming home a few days early. We have a trip coming up and we’re going to get home with virtually no time between travel and work. I’m guessing that’s going to wig me out a bit. Now onto this delicious looking salad. It looks wonderful. I love that it’s warm and healthy. I always crave warm dishes this time of year – sadly not many of them are healthy. But this looks like it would be perfect. And I think your last photo is really good. No complaints from me. :) My favorite though is the picture of the snow. It’s just so pretty.

    • says

      Ouch, about coming home and almost going right off to work… – going anywhere nice though? I find it’s worse because on the last day of a vacation suddenly you get this realisation that you need to suddenly cram in all the things you didn’t get around to doing yet which just serves to exhaust you even more!

      I hope you get a chance to give the dish a try at some point. One day I’ll make a post for tunisian fricassee. It’s a street food – fried bread rolls filled with this salad, tuna, olives, hummus, egg etc… Soo good :)

      • says

        Off to Hawaii to hang our sleeping bags from a volcano. 😉 We figured we’d really go out on a ledge this time. LOL. Seriously though, I can’t wait. Although I have no doubt I’m going to need a vacation after an 8 hour flight home on a Sunday with two little ones. Got any bottles of that cherry brandy left?! Ha!

  6. says

    Charles, the dish on your photo looks really appetising (and so did the fondue!), like a perfect warming, but healthy and light stew (ooops! I mean salad 😉 ). I have never heard about it. Do you happen to know the Tunisian name?
    I totally agree about holidays: I hate discomfort (maybe I’m too old to go camping etc.) and even though I don’t need luxury, I must have a clean room and bathroom. I also need a rest after holidays. I find the airplane or car travel the most tiring part. I remember I was once for five days in Prague, in the middle of January. It was -10 or even -15°C and I have taken maybe 5 photos. It was too cold to take out the camera!
    Looking forward to see the giveaway! You are so kind! (By the way the knife from your kind giveaway works perfectly well, it is still as beautiful as new and I’m very grateful you have had this wonderful idea!).

    • says

      Hi Sissi – I asked today for you: the name in Tunisian (well, english-transcribed Arabic) would be “salata mechouia”. A few google searches reveal a number of different variations… some omitting tomatoes, some not and so forth. The way I usually eat it is when I prepare Tunisian Fricassee sandwiches. It’s not something I would usually eat on its own but when piled into the fried bread rolls with hummus, tuna, egg, olives, pickles etc it’s just incredibly good.

      Today we were very lucky… the temperature stayed between -2 and -5 and it was snowing all day… at least 15cm just today and the snow stayed in a state which the Swedish call “kram” snow (translates to “hug” snow), which means it’s possible to form it into a ball and it sticks together well. As a result I spent 2 hours this evening “playing” in the yard with my wife’s father, digging a snow cave. I took some wonderful photos of the cave with lanterns inside, which I’ll upload later :)

  7. says

    Now that is some serious snow. How beautiful! -15 C, you say? Hmmm…. it’s -26 C today in Ottawa, the kind of weather that keeps you housebound and crazy :) There are many things I love about this beautiful country but the bitter cold is not one of them. Ok, enough kvetching.

    This salad is just what the doctor ordered. I love the simplicity and full flavour of the ingredients. The grilled peppers and tomato sound positively divine – my entire family would love this one Charles! If I pluck up my courage, I will venture outside to the grocery store to get the ingredients 😉

    • says

      Thanks Kelly – served with some good grilled lamb or something and some nice bread it’s really delicious. The leftovers make a good dip too… Eat that with hummus for extra noms :)

      -26 is pretty damn cold – I don’t know what the temperature was the other day factoring in wind-chill but that was pretty cold for me. I’m intrigued as to what it’s like when it’s “really” cold here though… I’ll have that in store for me when I move here one day :p

  8. says

    Hi Charles, That is exactly what the temperature is here right now but no snow on the ground. It is sunny and will warm up some. I see nothing wrong with your photos and your “salad” sounds really good.

      • says

        I totally agree, Charles. During the summer, I can cook our dinner…take it outside to do my photos, bring it back inside and usually I don’t have to worry about heating it back up. During the winter, I have to heat my plates as they are so cold just coming out of my cabinets. My food on the dinner plate that I take photos of has to go back on the heat. I can’t wait for long days with light and warm china.

  9. says

    Charles, the best place to enjoy the pictures of your wintry wonderland, for me, is from the comfort of my warm computer chair while drinking a hot cup of coffee. I may spike it (I’ve been spiking my cola drinks for the last couple of days, so what the heck!) with some Malibu (coconut flavoured rum).

    Another interesting dish (warm salad/dip??) though the tomatoes in it would move it farther down the list of ‘make soons’ than a piping hot bowl of minestrone soup at this time of year.

    I think you’re too fussy about your photography … but maybe a sprig or two of mint over a dollop of sour cream/yogurt/creme fraiche would pretty it up and add some zing to the taste and the plating. :) Mint is also a popular herb in Tunisia I found ie mint tea.

    • says

      Thanks A_Boleyn – you’re too kind to say. These photos were ones I took quickly before leaving France and I like to think that I’m slowly improving my food photography with the aid of books and fellow bloggers – not getting worse, so even if someone says this photo is not too bad, I have to admit that it’s still a step backwards for me. I agree with your suggestions though – something to “pretty it up” a bit would be a great idea!

      Glad you’re enjoying the pics – I’m looking forward to posting more :)

      • says

        Speaking of pics … my camera was delivered today but I can’t start taking pictures yet because the storage card that was delivered was not what ‘we’ as in ‘my camera expert’ wanted. It’s annoying when you have to check the product’s web site to get an accurate picture of what you’re getting because the seller’s web site doesn’t have the complete description.

        Even the camera case was a bit snug even though we compared the camera’s dimensions to the product’s web site dimensions and estimated that there should be some ‘wiggle room’. Maybe the case will stretch a bit with use. :)

        In any case, I doubt my pictures will compare in quality to the ones you are posting on your worst day.

  10. says

    Your pictures are just fine and the food sounds delicious! I love the photo of the snow, but being a Florida girl, I’m complaining about the weather being 40F! I cannot imagine cold like that….but I also don’t have any heavy winter gear! I know what you mean about frustrating photos. I made a dinner tonight that was delicious, but….brown! It was all brown. How do you make that pretty?

    Take care and stay warm!

    • says

      Hi Ann! I just hate photographing brown stuff. It’s ok if it’s a beautiful golden colour, but for rich sauces with meat it’s really, really hard. Chocolate is a tricky one too!

  11. says

    Oh the winter photo just looks amazing. Breathtakingly beautiful. I really love that photo. Now onto this Warm Tunisian Salad… the flavors just sound wonderful in this dish.

  12. says

    Now I stay as far away from the cold as possible – I’m such a freeze baby, but that photo is gorgeous! I love when the snow covers all the branches – I’d like to be curled up INSIDE with a fire looking out at that view…while having your “salad”!!

    • says

      Haha, the cold is nice sometimes Linda! The worst is the wind. It can be -15 Celsius and absolutely fine, but throw in an icy wind into the mix and it soon starts getting intolerable!

  13. says

    sounds liek you had a gorgeous time! i’m envious, though kind of glad i’m not surrounded by all that snow >< what a great dish to chase away the winter blues!

  14. says

    This is indeed very odd, I know I posted a comment here yesterday but for some reason it is not here…I know I didn’t write anything offensive ;-)!
    Charles, that photo of the cliff dwellers is outrageous! But your shot of the snow is dreamy. The temperatures are not as cold as I had expected. But it must be depressing to have such little sunshine. We’re on a bit of a get back to health kick right now (the last recipe I posted was still from the holidays), so I could definitely see having this ‘salad’ soon. It kind of reminds me of the Moroccan ‘salads’ we’ve made.

    • says

      Hi Eva – sorry your comment got lost in the ether. I checked the spam filter and everything – nothing :( Thanks for coming back though! I’m preparing a new post with more photos for Tuesday morning – I think I’ll have to spread a few of the shots across several posts. Will mean I can “enjoy” my holiday a bit longer :)

        • says

          Erk – that doesn’t sound like my idea of fun… still – at least you don’t have time to feel glum about the idea of going back to work so fast 😀

  15. says

    Happy New Year 2012 to you Charles!!:) I’m with you on the vacation part; I’d definitely prefer the stress-free type and seriously, no adventure!:p
    Maybe I am just not adventurous, hehe, and as I have also just returned from a vacation, I agree that the best time for a holiday is the one after a holiday, LOL, we’d be spoilt with continuous and endless holidays, don’t you think?
    I love the snow, and don’t worry about your photos, they still looked great and I am sure the quality and taste was never impacted by the photos in your case! -15 degrees Celsius sounds crazy, really, I just got back from somewhere cold myself, and I am embracing the warmth, LOL!:D

    • says

      Thanks Christy – you too! Endless, continuous holidays sounds a-ok by me, lol 😀 I hope you had a great holiday, and readjusting to “normal” life isn’t too hard! Did you take any photos? Hope you will post them on your blog if so!

  16. says

    OH – your picture of the snow is gorgeous but it does make me cold just looking at it! Bet you DID get cold! Warming up with this sweet and spicy salad would be ideal! I love the blend of roasted peppers and tomatoes! Happy 2012!

    • says

      Thanks MJ! I’ll be posting some more pics from my vacation in a couple of days – I hope you’ll enjoy those :) Happy 2012 to you too… I hope you had a great new year!

  17. says

    Charles, you take great landscape photos, and I still remember your beautiful Paris photos too. I’ve never been to a place where it’s -15C…. without going there we can’t get this kind of beautiful snow shot. So thank you for enduring coldness to take this picture so we all could enjoy!

    • says

      Thanks Nami! I just posted a new post today with more photos inside, so I hope you can check them out :) I’m terrible with extremes in temperature though – I spend all summer craving winter and then all winter cursing the freezing cold and begging for summer to come. Talk about silly! 😀


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