Maybe you’re like me and you have a dedicated eggplant and tomato zone carved out in your kitchen right now. It’s summer’s last stand, so I don’t mind eating these things every day, but variation is important. Our eggplant crops are bountiful this year, and because of that you all get yet another recipe for this wonderful nightshade. I know that eggplant isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but! Pretty much everyone loves a dip!
The recipe inspiration here started during my Winter trip to Portland (heading there again in October and I can’t wait). My friend and I had this amazing, slightly tangy and nutty eggplant dip with steaming hot, fresh-from-the-oven pita. We tried to get boomerang videos of the steam escaping the freshly ripped pita a couple times. This didn’t work out for us (lol), but our enjoyment of the dip was still successful. It had a tanginess, detectable toasty cumin and walnuts, and some other key players like garlic and lemon.
It seemed like the natural starting point of the dish was a traditional baba ganoush (of which there are many variations), with all of those typical flavour notes intact, plus some interesting extras. I loved this deep dive on baba ganoush from Cooks Without Borders. It’s possible that a precursor to the famous dip utilized ground walnuts instead of tahini. Relevant to today’s post!
Just from a rough flavour memory, this luscious eggplant dip was really easy to fix up in my own kitchen. We served the first trial run to friends with a casual Labour Day weekend spread of grilled pizza, kale salad, and a suspiciously hot batch of blistered shishito peppers. Proving my point that everyone loves a dip, we snacked on this one well into the night. It has a lush texture that feels almost whipped in a way. Fatty, creamy, toasty, tangy, and bright all at the same time.
So yeah! Make a nice platter with a swoop of olive oil on top of the plated dip, tuck a smear of it into a sandwich, use it as the base of a grain bowl, or just dip vegetables and crackers into it throughout the week. One of my favourite tips for people that are new to the plant-based way of life is to always have some sort of delicious dip or spread around. You can combine that with a whole bunch of things to make a meal in a pinch. Even if you’re kinda “meh” on vegetables, dip can form a crucial supporting role to your upped consumption. My Roasted Carrot & Harissa Chickpea Dip and Velvety Roasted Garlic and Butternut Sesame Dip are also excellent choices
That’s it for this week! I’m heading to Montreal with Mark and our friends this weekend. It’s supposed to be unseasonably hot there and at home, so I’m looking forward to EVEN MORE eggplant on my counter when we get back :)
LUSCIOUS EGGPLANT DIP WITH TOASTED WALNUTS, TAHINI, LEMON & YOGURT
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: Makes 1 ½ cups of dip
NOTES: I use Anita’s coconut milk-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened). It’s my plant-based yogurt of choice, but feel free to use whichever brand you like.
-For my omnivores that may be making this with dairy-based yogurt: start with only 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and see how you like it. Dairy yogurt tends to be tangier, and you can always add more lemon later.
-This dip is naturally oil-free if you omit the little swoop of olive oil as a garnish.
-This dip is best at room temperature. It keeps in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
-To make this nut-free, I would replace the walnuts with the same amount of toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
1 medium-large eggplant
¼ cup walnut halves, toasted
¼ cup tahini
⅓ cup thick yogurt of choice (I used Anita’s coconut yogurt)
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (see headnote)
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
½ teaspoon ground Aleppo chili
sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste
extra Aleppo chili
extra chopped walnuts
finely chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and place both halves face down on the baking sheet. Bake eggplant until quite soft and wrinkly on the exterior, about 45 minutes. Remove eggplant and let cool slightly.
In a food processor, pulse the walnuts until they are finely ground. To the food processor, add the tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, garlic, chili, salt, and pepper. Scoop the soft flesh out of the cooled eggplant and transfer it to the food processor as well.
Run the food processor motor until you have a smooth and luscious dip, scraping the sides down if necessary. Adjust the dip for seasoning if necessary.
Serve the luscious eggplant dip at room temperature with cut vegetables, pita chips, crackers, olives etc!