There are many eggplant dip recipes around and there is definitely a right or wrong way of preparing this roasted eggplant dip dish. It is all depending on tradition, custom or simply how you like it. Make this dish either a vegan or vegetarian version. It is very similar to baba ganoush but this contains no tahini nor any yoghurt whereas the Moutabbal does.
What is certain is that this snack or side dish is an authentic Mediterranean dish prepared in many countries around the world and many love it.
Different types of eggplant dip
There are a few types of eggplant dip depending on where's made.
- Baba ganoush - also known as baba ganouj - is probably the most known and most famous one. It contains eggplant, onion, tomato, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, and generally no tahini.
- Melitzanosalata - the Greek style eggplant dip called melitzanosalata translated as Greek eggplant dip. It is pretty much the one I grew up with but we add onion as opposed to garlic. That is the only difference.
- Moutaball - is a Middle Eastern mezze dish made with eggplant, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and tahini or sometimes yoghurt.
- Salata de vinete - as we call it means aubergine salad. I do not know why it is called a salad but I guess it is just another way of calling it.
Best eggplants to use for this recipe
There are different types of eggplants (aubergines) - there are about 6-7 types of eggplants around the world:
- The Globe eggplant - the most common one used widely across the world
- Italian Eggplant - the large dark purple but smaller than the Globe ones
- Japanese Eggplant - despite their name - they are not a strictly Japanese product - I call them the Asian type ( all Asian shops have them). They are light purple, slim and longer than the usual eggplant
- Rosa Bianca Eggplant - they look the best if you ask me - they have a more delicate flavour
- Thai Eggplant - they look like mini watermelons but unless you remove the seeds, they taste quite bitter and they are ideal for curries
- White eggplant - these look good. I use them for all sorts when I find them - they are fab for white curries, or even Baba GAnoush or this eggplant dip
To be very honest with you - I did grow up eating the Globar or the Italian eggplant varieties but I find the Japanese and the white eggplant varieties to be the best ones for this eggplant dip recipe.
How to prepare the eggplants for this dish?
- Ideally is to grill the eggplants (aubergines)on bbq for the best results especially flavour. The smokey taste is soo good!
- If grilling is not an option, bake them in the oven - turn on the oven and preheat it to 210ºC/420ºF. Pierce the aubergine in a couple of places with a knife, then roast for 25-30 minutes until the skin turns black.
Very Important Tips:
- eggplants must be be cooked on quick fire - directly on flame if possible - this will enable the flesh to remain nice and white - slow fire is a total no-no.
- if cooked on slow heat the flesh will turn dark purple- greenish which is unpleasant both taste-wise as well as aspect. You DO want a good looking and tasting dip.
- place the eggplants on a chopping board straight away and make a longitudinal cut, scoop the flesh out pretty much straight away and place on a colander or a clean wooden chopping board/ in a sieve and allow these to drain all the juices. This way you will have a nice and sweet-tasting flesh and therefore dip/ spread rather than bitterish dark looking one.
Eggplant dip without tahini
You can add tahini to this recipe if you wish for extra depth or even a nice and thick yoghurt. However, to me, this is the way I have had this aubergine dip as a kid and it's the way I love it most.
It's not to say that I don't make other varieties and sometimes I even add walnuts or pinenuts to it. I even like adding long pepper instead of the regular black pepper for a twist in flavour.
Whatever way you chose to make it it is totally delicious and super easy to make.
Is this eggplant dip without tahini vegan?
Yes, it is indeed. It is vegan!
How to make this eggplant / aubergine dip?
Well, I did mention it is easy to make and I mean that.
Firstly, gather all the ingredients needed for this eggplant dip:
- eggplant - see above for the best type of eggplant to use in this eggplant dish recipe
- red onion or regular yellow onion, shallots work really well too - I did try scallions (spring onions) and I loved it;
- olive oil - of course, use a good quality extra virgin olive oil for the best results;
- garlic - you may use fresh spring garlic if you have - it is so nice and crisp;
- salt - use any cave salt like Himalayan or any kosher salt
- black pepper - don't give this a miss
- lemon - a good old squeeze of lemon juice - makes a huge difference -it really elevates this dish;
- paprika - this is just to garnish the dish - it is super nice but optional - I use smoked Hungarian paprika but you may use any you find like a fab Spanish one
- pinenuts - or walnuts if you fancy, almonds or any crushed toasted nuts for a delicious crunch;
- fresh herbs - parsley or cilantro/ coriander for some delicious colour - pomegranate works really well too
There are ways of making this aubergine side dish but in my family, there was always a special wooden chopping tool that was used to chop these eggplants once cooked on BBQ.
If you prefer it chunky, you may use a wooden fork, or a wooden axel to smash the eggplant - ideally is to avoid metal blades so if you happen to have a coated blade or a plastic one to blitz this would be great.
The more you blitz them the smoother the paste will be and more white in colour.
Yes, you may definitely make this well ahead but do not add any oil, garlic or onion until ready to eat. These will oxidate and will make the dish taste rancid and stale.
If planning to grill the eggplants ahead of time, do so, take these out from the skin, and allow them to rest on a reclined chopping board so that all juices drain out nicely.
You may then place these with a generous sprinkle of salt in an airtight container and place them in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to a month.
The dip can then be prepared in no time if stored in the fridge or thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen and use the next day. Just add the remaining ingredients, give a quick whizz and tada!
Other eggplant or aubergine dishes you may enjoy:
- Baked aubergine with cumin and yoghurt sauce
- Cauliflower, aubergine and chickpeas salad
- Miso aubergines - for something more exotic
- Velvety stuffed aubergines (eggplant)
- Tomato and cheese topped aubergines/eggplant
Creamy Eggplant Dip
- food processor
- glass bowl
- 4 large eggplants
- 1 medium red onion or regular onion
- 75 ml olive oil extra virgin
- 2 cloves garlic (small-medium) add more if you wish
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper * see recipe notes for alternatives
To garnish (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons pinenuts
- 2 tablespoons fresh herbs parsley or coriander or cilantro
- 1 tablespoon mixed seeds toasted (optional) *
- 1 small red chilli (dried) or dried red chilli flakes
- Ideally is to grill the eggplants (aubergines) on fairly powerful fire so that the flesh remains nice and white (See recipe notes for some tips) Pierce the aubergine a couple of times with a knife, then grill for approximately 15-20-25 minutes until blackened, softened and collapsing. Allow these to cool slightly.
- With a spoon, scoop the slightly cooled insides from the aubergine straight into a food processor. Do this with all.
- Peel and crush the garlic, chop finely both the garlic and the onion.
- Place the scooped eggplant flesh into a sieve. Allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes so all juices run out.
- Transfer the drained eggplant into the food processor and start blitzing adding the oil, a good and generous squeeze of lemon juice, a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning, oil and lemon as desired.
- Heat up a pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, paprika, mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower) and the pinenuts. Toast for literally 1 min tossing continuously and pour over the aubergine/eggplant dip.
- Place the eggplant dip in a dish pour/ sprinkle over the toasted paprika and pinenuts mix on hot olive oil.
- Serve with a good sprinkle of finely or coarsely chopped fresh parsley or coriander/cilantro. Best to serve with flatbreads, tortilla crisps or any homemade bread or sourdough.
- I like adding long pepper for a twist in flavour
- see notes above
- I have used some toasted mixed seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and hemp seeds) in this recipe but you may leave these out and add extra herbs and some pomegranate seeds.
* The garnishing ingredients were not added to the nutrition in this recipe - these will add an extra amount of calories so, the recipe with garnishing will be: Cals: 395 Carbs: 32g Protein: 6g Fat: 30g Saturated Fat: 4g