What to do with so many eggplants?
When the conversation turns to gardening, one question that always comes up is “What do I do with all these eggplants?” Everyone knows about eggplant parmesan, baba ganoush, and roasted eggplant. These are all delicious options, but when you have more eggplants than you know what to do with, there are only so many times you can make these dishes. That’s where my Smoked Eggplant Dip comes in. This dip is seriously delicious, and it freezes well. I always make a big batch at the end of the season, then I freeze it in individual baggies so that any time I want to use it, I just pull a bag out of the freezer, and it’s ready to eat after just a couple minutes in the microwave.
Is smoked eggplant dip the same thing as baba ganoush?
In short, while both dishes have some similar elements, you’d never confuse them on a table. Baba ganoush is a great eggplant dip that pulls a lot of its secondary flavor from tahini, a sesame paste or sauce. In my smoked eggplant dip, I use smoked peppers as the secondary flavor profile. The peppers add a very bright flavor to this dip, not to mention a beautiful red color. And without the tahini, this recipe is sesame-free for those with sensitivities or allergies.
If you don’t have a smoker, try oven roasting your eggplants.
No smoker? No problem. This recipe is fantastic with the smoked eggplants and smoked peppers, but smoke doesn’t have to be a part of the equation. If you’re short on time, or if you don’t want to fire up the smoker, you can just as easily roast the eggplant. Still brush the eggplant with olive oil and salt, but roast in the oven at 450F for 30-45 minutes. The peppers can be roasted at the same temperature, but will likely finish within 20-30 minutes. Then follow the rest of the recipe as written, and you’ll have roasted eggplant dip, instead of smoked. For added ease, you can also substitute store bought canned red peppers, if your pepper harvest hasn’t come in quite yet.
How to process smoked eggplant dip?
One of the benefits of smoking eggplants is that it makes the inside meat of the eggplant soft and easy to scrape away from the skin. The smoked skin is sort of tough and isn’t needed in the dip.
I like to use my trusty food processor to make this smoked eggplant dip. The sharp blade makes quick work of the eggplant and peppers, and I like having the extra space the bowl of the processor offers. However, if you don’t have a food processor, a blender will work just as well.
While the dip is delicious served warm, I most often serve mine cold. I take a bag from the freezer and let it thaw into a bowl.
Olive oil - how much?
In this recipe, I call for 3 tbsp of olive oil. Olive oil is what really holds this dip together, and helps to give it its creamy consistency. But, I know all too well that olive oil is full of calories. So if you’re looking to reduce the calories of this recipe, you can reduce the amount of olive oil. I’ve found 2 tbsp of olive oil is usually enough to get a good consistency. If you’re looking to use as little oil as possible, I recommend using the food processor to puree all the other ingredients, then add 1 tbsp of olive oil at a time, process, and check the consistency. Continue adding olive oil in tablespoon increments until the desired consistency is reached.
How do I serve smoked eggplant dip?
This eggplant dip goes great with all kinds of meals. Really anytime you have a bread that begs to be dipped, this dip is the right call. I like to serve my Shrimp Skewers with this dip and some No Yogurt Naan . The three flavors combine deliciously. This dip is also a great accompaniment to my Easy Moroccan Chicken Couscous, and really any other Mediterranean or Middle Eastern dish.
How to make smoked eggplant dip
Smoked Eggplant Dip
- 1 Smoker
- 1 Food processor
- 4 small eggplants (or 2 medium)
- 5-7 small sweet peppers (or 2 large)
- ½ large sweet onion
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- Remove the top of the eggplant, then slice in half lengthwise. Remove any deformities. Arrange the eggplant in an aluminum tray, and coat with 1 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle it with salt.
- Remove the top of the peppers, and arrange in a second aluminum tray.
- Place the tray of eggplant and the tray of peppers in a pellet smoker at 230F, with an active smoke tube. Smoke the eggplant and peppers for about 3 hours.
- Scoop the innards of the eggplants out and discard the skins.
- Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor, and process until smooth. Add additional salt, pepper, minced garlic, or olive oil to adjust the flavor as desired.