Recipe: Mediterranean Eggplant Dip

This dip is one of the most frequently requested dishes when I’m cooking for a party or bringing something to a potluck. It’s vegan, gluten and dairy free, and can sit out at room temperature. Even my friends who don’t really like eggplant in other dishes love this dip. It’s easy to make and keeps very well in the fridge. In fact, I usually try to make it a day or two ahead because the flavor only deepens when everything has a chance to meld together in the fridge.

To present, I drizzle on some nice olive oil, and sprinkle the top with chopped parsley and a handful of toasted pine nuts. I like to serve it with pita chips, sliced cucumber (my absolute favorite), and crunchy radishes. I also eat it plain with a fork or swirled in with hummus. It’s also nice as a side dish for grilled seafood.

A note on miso paste: I know many people like to avoid soy, and I usually do too. I found an amazing producer of artisan miso that has no soy in it at all. South River Miso makes some amazing products, and I love their white miso made from chickpeas and brown rice. I highly recommend their products. You can find them online and in some Mom’s Organic Market locations. A spoonful of this chickpea miso is my secret ingredient in so many dishes! It just adds a little extra oomph to sauces, dips, braises, and soups. I love it in this dish for the added depth of flavor and umami it brings to the party. However, feel free to leave it out – you might want to add in a bit more tomato paste and salt to boost the flavor. Your dip will be delicious no matter what!

Recipe: (printable version here)

Ingredients

2 large eggplants (2 lbs total), peeled

1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper

½ of a red onion (1 cup, diced)

1 small zucchini (0.3 lbs)

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 cup fresh parsley leaves – reserve 1 Tbsp for garnish

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 ¼ tsp sea salt

1 T white miso paste (optional)

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Large dice the eggplant, bell pepper, red onion and zucchini – it doesn’t need to be perfect since the dip will be pureed. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 1 hour, until the vegetables are brown on the edges and completely soft. Let them cool on the pan for at least 20 minutes.

Once the vegetables are cooled, put them all in the food processor. Add the tomato paste, parsley, vinegar, salt, and miso paste, if using, to the bowl of the processor too. Pulse the processor until everything is finely chopped and combined, but isn’t pureed so much as to be like baby food. You want a fairly rustic but homogenous dip. Taste the dip and adjust the seasonings to your taste. It’s best to make this a day ahead and let in sit in the fridge overnight.

To serve: bring the dip to room temperature. Spoon it into a large, shallow bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle over the reserved parsley (chopped) and the pine nuts. Enjoy!

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