Taramosalata is a creamy Greek dip that is made using just 6 ingredients and the recipe requires only 10 minutes to make. This dip, which is made using carp roe, is a popular addition to a mezze platter and great for dipping pita bread and veggies.
If you are Greek, you have certainly come across a taramosalata or at least 50 (million) in your life time. This dip is frequently served on mezze platters at parties or Greek dining establishments. It is also especially popular during Lent.
If you are not Greek but have dined at Greek restaurants, I’m sure you have also come across this dip. Its safe to say it is one of the most popular dips in Greek cuisine, up there with tzatziki and tirokafteri.
Taramosalata has always been one of my favourite dips. I especially have a weakness for my moms taramosalata recipe, which I am sharing with you today. Traditionally, this dip is pink in colour owing to the red carp roe or tarama that is used to make it but it can be made with white roe as well, resulting in a beige hue. There are also white versions which are made using white roe and you can certainly substitute it in this recipe.
The more red tarama (carp roe) included in the recipe, the pinker the dip will be. My mom’s recipe doesn’t use too much roe as my family prefers a milder flavour, and so it has a lighter pink colour than some stronger versions. It comes down to a matter of taste, so if you like the stronger roe flavour, you can definitely add more!
Tips and tricks to make the best taramosalata
- Remove excess water: After soaking the bread, squeeze out as much water as you can. You don’t want to make your dip watery. If your dip is thick after pureeing it, you can always drizzle in some water.
- Pulse your carp roe: While you can skip this step, to avoid beads of roe in your final dip, be sure to pulse the roe with some water before adding the other ingredients in your food processor. This helps break down some of the roe and produces a smoother sauce. Of course, if you like more texture in your taramosalata, skip this step.
- Use good quality ingredients. This dip is made with only a handful of ingredients and so it is important to use quality ingredients to ensure you have the best tasting dip. Be sure to use good quality Greek olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
- Taste and adjust your dip before serving: I think this goes without saying when cooking in general, but is definitely important here. Taramosalata recipes vary quite a bit and part of that is that everyone has their own preferences. Add more lemon or carp roe if needed to suit your tastes. If you find the flavour too overpowering, you could add more bread.
Ingredients in this Taramosalata recipe
- Bread: day old stale bread, if possible. White bread is preferable.
- Tarama: Tarama is red carp roe (fish eggs) and can be bought at Greek bakeries and some grocery stores. As mentioned above, this makes a pink taramosalata but if you wish to substitute a white tarama, you can.
- Water: to soak the bread and also to thin out the taramosalata, if needed
- Onion: yellow onion is preferable
- Olive oil: use good quality Greek extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon: adds brightness to the dip and cuts into the saltiness of the roe
How to make this Taramosalata Recipe
1. Prepare the bread: Slice the bread in half and scoop out the inside. Place the bread in a large bowl, discarding the crust. Fill the bowl with water to submerge the bread and let it sit for a few minutes. Remove the bread and squeeze out as much water as possible.
2. Prepare the tarama: To the bowl of a food processor, add the tarama and 2 tablespoons water. Pulse a few times to break down the tarama.
3. Pulse everything but the oil: Add the bread, onion, and the juice of half a lemon. Pulse until the ingredients form a pulp.
4. Add the olive oil: With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a slow stream until it is incorporated and the dip is completely smooth. If the dip is too thick for your liking, you can add enough water to thin it out until you get the right consistency (it should be the consistency of hummus).
5. Taste and adjust: Taste the taramosalata and add more lemon juice if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with more olive oil.
Variations and Substitutions
Adjust herbs and seasonings: While this recipe is my favourite as is, you can definitely play around with this recipe. As mentioned above, you can add more lemon juice or more carp roe to strengthen the flavours. You can also add herbs to your dip. Dill and parsley are good options but try not to add too much as they will mask the flavours of taramosalata.
Add artificial colourants: Many restaurants or shops also add artificial food colouring to give the tarama dip a deeper pink colour. I opt to keep it it’s natural colour (well, sort of since red carp roe already has food colour added to it, I believe). The colour of my taramosalata is paler than you can find in shops or restaurants as a result but you can certainly add a few drops of food colour if you want a pinker dip.
Use a different type of roe. Typically tarama is made from cod roe, carp fish roe, or mullet roes. You can use your favourite variety in this recipe. I use red carp roe which is easily accessible in North America but you can certainly use a different fish roe.
Taramosalata should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge until you are ready to serve. It can be stored this way for about 5 days.
What to serve with this taramosalata recipe
While you can simply enjoy taramosalata with some pita bread and veggie sticks, taramosalata is often added as part of a mezze platter along with other popular Greek dips and nibbles. It is enjoyed year round, but it almost always is eaten by Greeks during Lent, with other lenten-friendly bites. I have included a list of Lent-friendly mezze ideas as well as a list that isn’t necessarily Lent-friendly.
Great additions to a Lent mezze platter:
- Baba Ganoush
- fried or grilled calamari
- Dolmades (vegetarian)
- pita bread
- veggies (grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, carrot sticks)
- Greek olives
- French fries (or try these Crispy Air Fryer Greek Potatoes)
Other mezze ideas that aren’t Lent-friendly:
- Chicken Zucchini Meatballs
- Keftedakia – Greek Meatballs
- Zucchini Fries
- Zucchini Fritters (kolokithokeftedes)
I hope you enjoy this recipe! I’m obsessed with this dip and while it is popular to eat during lent, I often enjoy it year-round. I mean, you really can’t beat a tasty treat that requires just 10 minutes prep time!
You may also like these Greek recipes:
- 1 loaf bread (day old bread, if possible), approx. 400g or 14oz before the crust is removed
- 2 tablespoons Tarama (or more if you like a stronger flavour)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 small onion grated
- 1/2 cup olive oil + more for serving
- 1 lemon juiced (adjust amount used to taste)
- Slice the bread in half and scoop out the inside. Place the bread in a large bowl, discarding the crust. Fill the bowl with water to submerge the bread and let it sit for a few minutes. Remove the bread and squeeze out as much water as possible.
- To the food processor, add the tarama and 2 tablespoons water. Pulse a few times to break down the tarama.
- Add the bread, onion, and the juice of half a lemon. Pulse until the ingredients form a pulp.
- With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a slow stream until it is incorporated and the dip is completely smooth. If the dip is too thick for your liking, you can add a little water to thin it out (it should be the consistency of hummus).
- Taste the taramosalata and add more lemon juice if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with more olive oil.