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Mama Living Abroad

Matbucha Salad

This Matbucha Salad is a total crowd-pleaser! Serve it with Challah, artisan bread, pita, or on sandwiches. YUM.

Matbucha- Salad in a jar
Matbucha- Salad in a jar

I love matbucha salad so much, especially when I make it for Shabbat. I enjoy soaking my Challah in it – perfection! Matbucha is also a versatile dish that can be enjoyed either warm or cold. It serves well as a salad, dip, spread, sauce, or even as a base for Shakshuka. You need patience to make matbucha, but it’s worth it.

What is Matbucha Salad? 

Matbucha is a classic Middle Eastern and North African mezze (similar to tapas) dish. The magic of Matbucha lies in its preparation. The vegetables are sautéed until they soften and then simmered until they break down, forming a luscious, thick, jam-like sauce.

Ingredients Overview: 

Tomatoes: Ripe, juicy tomatoes, peeled and chopped. Tomatoes form the base of matbucha, providing a rich and juicy texture.

Fresh garlic: Garlic adds a robust and aromatic element to the dish. Feel encouraged to incorporate as much garlic as desired.

Peppers: Red or green bell peppers. Optional: If you like a spicy kick, adding hot peppers like Jalapeños can provide heat to the matbucha.

Roast peppers for depth (optional): Roasting the bell peppers before adding them to the dish adds depth and smokiness to the flavor. You can do this by placing them under a broiler or on an open flame until the skin is charred, then peel and chop.

Spices: Paprika, sugar, cumin, salt, and pepper. Optional spices: Hot paprika and chili powder.

Uses for Matbucha:

  1. Right out of the container with fresh pita bread or Challah
  2. A base for shakshuka
  3. With tortilla chips like salsa
  4. Add it to your sandwich or wrap
  5. Add it to your falafel sandwich


Choose ripe tomatoes: Use ripe, juicy tomatoes for the best flavor.

Peel the tomatoes: Peeling tomatoes for matbucha is particularly important to achieve a smooth and uniform texture in the final dish. The skin of tomatoes can be tough, and when making matbucha, you want a jam-like consistency where the tomatoes have broken down and blended with other ingredients.

Control the spice level: Adjust the amount of chili peppers or hot paprika according to your spice preference. Remember that the spice level can intensify as the matbucha sits, so it’s often a good idea to start with a bit less and add more if needed.

Cook to desired thickness: The longer you cook matbucha, the thicker it will become. If you prefer a chunkier texture, cook it for a shorter time. For a smoother, more concentrated flavor, cook it longer.


How long does Matbucha last?

Matbucha can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. You can also freeze matbucha for longer storage; it typically stays good in the freezer for a few months.

Can I use canned tomatoes for Matbucha?

While fresh tomatoes are commonly used for matbucha, canned tomatoes are a convenient alternative. Make sure to drain excess liquid from the canned tomatoes to achieve the desired jam-like consistency.

What is the difference between Matbucha and Shakshuka?

Matbucha and Shakshuka are both Middle Eastern dishes but differ in their primary ingredients and preparation. Matbucha is a tomato and pepper salad or spread, while Shakshuka is a dish with poached eggs in a spicy tomato and bell pepper sauce.

Can I make Matbucha ahead of time?

Yes, you can make matbucha ahead of time. In fact, the flavors often develop more fully when allowed to meld over time.

More Recipes You’ll Love

Fattoush Salad with Feta

Pickled Red Onions

Ptitim (Israeli Couscous)

Israeli Hummus From Scratch

Potato Bourekas with Mushroom Sauce

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Matbucha- Salad in a jar

Matbucha Salad

Author Rachel
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Yield 2 cups
Print Pin Recipe


This Matbucha Salad is a total crowd-pleaser! Serve it with Challah, artisan bread, pita, or on sandwiches. YUM.
Kosher, Pareve, Vegan



  • 6-8 large tomatoes ripe and juicy
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
  • 4-6 garlic cloves peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 large green or red bell peppers chopped
  • Optional 2 jalapeño peppers (or more for heat) chopped. To mellow the spiciness, remove the seeds and membranes by using a spoon or knife to scrape them out.
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • optional spices: Hot paprika and chili powder.


Prepare the tomatoes:

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Make sure it's large enough to accommodate the tomatoes comfortably.
  • Score the bottoms of the tomatoes with a shallow "X" using a sharp knife. This will help the skin to peel off easily.
  • Carefully, using a spoon, place the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. You will notice the skin starting to loosen.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomatoes immediately to a bowl of ice water. This stops the cooking process and makes the skin contraction, helping it to separate from the flesh.
  • Once the tomatoes are cool, use your fingers or a knife to peel away the skin starting from the scored "X." The skin should come off easily.
  • Dice the peeled tomatoes.

Make the Matbucha:

  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or pan.
  • Add the chopped peppers and jalapeños and cook for 5-7 minutes until they start to soften.
  • Add the sliced garlic and continue to sauté for another minute until fragrant.
  • Stir in the diced tomatoes, paprika, sugar, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring about every 10-15 minutes.
    The matbucha should have a jam-like texture. Taste the matbucha and adjust the seasoning, sugar, or spice levels as needed.
  • Once cooked, let the matbucha cool to room temperature before serving.
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Hi, I’m Rachel.

Welcome to my little corner of the internet! I’m happy you’re here. I am the food blogger and photographer behind “Mama Living Abroad.”

In this space, I am sharing flavorful Israeli and Jewish recipes that I love to make and have my family and friends approve. My blog is 100% Kosher.

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