When we think of eating eggplant, we often think of eggplant parmesan–breaded and smothered in melted cheese. Not exactly the healthiest choice. But there are other ways to enjoy eggplant. Its spongy, satisfying texture can be roasted and pureed into a silky, smooth dip which can keep dieters feeling full for a longer period of time due to its high fiber content. This recipe is a lighter version of the classic baba ganoush, and it can be served as an appetizer or spread on slices of bread. Eggplant peaks in summer, and it goes very well with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.
When you buy an eggplant, its skin should be shiny, not shriveled or wrinkled. Stems should be green. Avoid those with brown areas or soft spots. In order to avoid bitterness, choose the smaller ones because they have fewer seeds and a sweeter taste.
- 2 medium eggplants
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 of red onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 spoonful of chopped basil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Position oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Line a baking pan with foil. Put the whole raw eggplant directly on the foil. Broil the eggplant, turning with tongs every few minutes, until the skin is charred and crispy. A fork inserted into the dense flesh should go all the way in smoothly when it’s done. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes. The eggplant should become soft, and liquid will come out when you poke the skin.
Alternatively, you can just put the eggplants directly on a gas burning stovetop until they turn soft and their skin crumbles. This method will take about 10 minutes.
2. On a cutting board, let the eggplants cool down until they can be handled, then peel off the burned skin and let them sit (preferable at an angle) to dry for 45 minutes. The liquid is bitter. The longer you drain them, the sweeter they’ll be.
3. Mash and cut the eggplants with a large knife until they become a paste. (Don’t use a blender because it will decompound the eggplant seeds and make the salad bitter.)
4. Place the paste into a bowl and mix the olive oil in slowly, one drop at a time, while stirring.
5. Add the lemon juice and stir.
6. Finally, add the onion, basil, salt, and pepper. Mix them all together until you get a well-blended paste.
7. You can enjoy right away or refrigerate and eat after it’s cooled. The dip will last about three days in the refrigerator.
Serving ideas: Spread on a piece of whole wheat bread, and add sliced tomatoes and cucumbers on top. Or, you can dip carrots and other vegetables in the eggplant dip.
Nutritional Information: Entire recipe makes a medium-sized bowl with 360 calories, 15.5 g fat and 10 g protein. Serving size is 1 Tbsp.
It is best served cold. Enjoy!
Recipe and preparation photos by Mihaela Blaga, social media and blog contributor at Lucille Roberts.