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Moroccan Cabbage Salad with Chermoula – Zaalouk de Chou

Cabbage salad with two texture served in two separate plates. One texture looks like a coarse mash and the other looks finely chopped.
Moroccan Cabbage Salad with Chermoula served in two textures. Photo: Nada Kiffa | Taste of Maroc

Zaalouk de Chou, Zaalouk or Mderbel Mkaouar are all names for Moroccan cabbage salad with chermoula. It’s similar to a number of other salads in which cooked vegetables are smothered in chermoula during a second stage of cooking or marinating. The resulting salads are then seasoned with lemon or vinegar and served cold or at room temperature. Carrots with Chermoula and Zaalouk de chou-fleur are such variations.

The texture of the cooked cabbage in Zaalouk Mkaouar can be anywhere between roughly chopped to coarsely mashed; I prefer mashed as it absorbs more chermoula.

You can also serve the zaalouk or mderbel of cabbage as a light side dish. It can be made ahead as it will last a few days in the fridge.

Moroccan cabbage Zaalouk, finely chopped texture, decorated with half a slice of lemon, a black olive and a few coriander leaves
Moroccan Cabbage Salad with Chermoula - Zaalouk Mkaouar
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins

Zaalouk Mkaouar or Mderbel Mkaouar is the Moroccan name for this cabbage salad with chermoula. It is another versatile and vegetarian recipe made with basic ingredients. Be sure to make the chermoula ahead of time; the link is in the instructions below.

Chermoula lifts the cabbage's flavor while a final touch with lemon or vinegar adds zingy balance, especially if you choose to make the salad slightly spicy. All these flavors come together nicely at the end.

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Moroccan
Yield: 6 servings
Calories: 97 kcal
Author: Nada Kiffa | Taste of Maroc
  • 1 lb white cabbage (about 1 small)
  • 1/4 cup chermoula paste
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne, or harissa, to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
For garnishing
  • 1 preserved lemon rind, cut into wedges
  • black olives
  • parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice, to taste
  1. Wash the cabbage well and cut into wedges. Discard the inner core.

  2. Simmer in boiling salted water until it becomes al dente. It should take about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the cabbage to a colander to drain.

  3. When cool enough to handle, use a knife or a food processor to coarsely chop the cabbage. You can decide which texture you want to serve at this point.

  4. Over medium heat, heat the oil in a pan. Add the chermoula, the tomato paste and the spices. Cook for 1 minute. 

  5. Fold in the cooked cabbage, cooking and stirring for about 5 minutes to combine. (I use a spatula to break up the cabbage further and allow the chermoula to be soaked in.) Season to taste then set aside to cool.

  6. Once the cabbage has cooled, stir in vinegar or lemon juice to taste.

  7. To serve, transfer the cabbage salad to small plates, drizzle with olive oil, and garnish as desired.

  8. This salads keep will in the fridge for up to a week. It's ideally served at room temperature but can also be served slightly warm or cold.

Nutrition Facts
Moroccan Cabbage Salad with Chermoula - Zaalouk Mkaouar
Amount Per Serving
Calories 97 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Sodium 143mg 6%
Potassium 209mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 2g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 13.5%
Vitamin C 43.4%
Calcium 3.9%
Iron 5.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Nada Kiffa

Nada Kiffa is partner and Editor at Taste of Maroc. A native of Casablanca with strong Fassi roots, she writes extensively on Moroccan and international cuisine at Fleur d'Oranger, Masala & Co.

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