Roasted Eggplant Dip

Mon, 11/04/2011

We’ve been on a bit of an eggplant quick lately in the Sweet Pea family.  Eggplant is full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and very low in calories.  It is a staple in Mediterranean foods, and we’ve begun using it in all sorts of applications.  In fact, if our seeds are successful, we will hopefully have our own home-grown eggplants later this summer (one can hope, right?).

Here’s the thing:  my boys wouldn’t just sit down and willingly gobble up chunks of eggplant, so we’ve taken to using it in sauces, dips and pastas as a way to introduce their palates to this yummy, yet less mainstream, vegetable.

R’s favorite way to eat eggplant is Baba Ganouj, a Mediterranean dip similar to hummus, that uses roasted eggplant in lieu of chickpeas.  Knowing he loves Baba Ganouj spurred me on to try this simple Roasted Eggplant Dip, aka, “Power Dip.”  We call it power dip because it contains some pretty powerful foods, and with this wee bit of marketing, R has become a true devotee of this dip.

Roasted Eggplant Dip

1 (1 ¼ - 1 ½ pound) medium eggplant
2 bell peppers, preferably red, orange or yellow, not green
4 cloves garlic
juice of half a lemon
¼ cup walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ - 1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ cup cilantro

Under a broiler, place the eggplant, cut in half length-wise, and the bell peppers, cut in half, skin side up.

Broil 10-15 minutes, or until the eggplant is no longer firm and the bell peppers are blackened.

Wrap the bell peppers in foil for a few minutes, making sure they are closed in the foil packet air-tight.  They will steam a bit, making the removal of the pepper skin a breeze.

Place the eggplant in a strainer, flesh side down, inside your sink.  This will allow the bitter juices from the eggplant to drip out.  Let sit for about five minutes.

In a food processor, add the eggplant flesh (scoop out from the skin--if you get a little skin too, that is fine).  Peel the bell peppers and add them too.

Add the remaining ingredients.  (Isn’t it beautiful?)

Pulse a few times, scrape the sides and process until smooth.

Serve with vegetables, tortilla chips or crackers, or as a spread on a sandwich!

Makes about 2 cups.

This powerful dip is a great way to jazz up your kids’ usual veggies and dip!