Have you ever eaten a dish at a restaurant so addictively delicious that you tell everyone you know that they must order it the next time they go? That was exactly my experience with the charred eggplant at Aba. And then the eggplant labneh at The Peacock. And then also the whipped eggplant at Elephante. Basically, wherever you go, if there’s a form of eggplant dip, order it immediately. And if you can’t make it to the restaurant? Make this smokey eggplant dip instead.
Inspired by muttabal, this eggplant dip uses smokey aubergine and warming spices that are blended together with creamy dairy to create a luscious spread. It’s just as delicious served over warm bread as it is paired with crunchy veggies and punchy olives. All you need is a sheet pan and a food processor. Oh, and of course, a group of friends to share with.
What goes into this eggplant dip?
All things delicious! But actually, this muttabal-inspired eggplant dip recipe calls for just a few ingredients. (All of which you can find at your local grocery store.)
Eggplant. Our star vegetable gets slow-roasted and charred in the oven. The result is an extra smokey-sweet flavor that will be the main star of this dip.
Garlic. The best part of roasting this garlic is that it all gets done on the same sheet pan as the eggplant. Minimal clean-up for the win! Caramelizing the garlic gives this dip a sweet garlic flavor that doesn’t overpower everything else.
Creme Fraiche. This adds a tangy and creamy element to our dip. Note: I’ve also tried sour cream or Greek yogurt. Both work nicely in a pinch!
Tahini. Another ingredient that lends creaminess and a savory, nutty flavor. Be sure to stir your tahini well before adding.
Lemon. No recipe is complete without a little acidity. The lemon juice brightens up all the ingredients in this dip.
Spices. Salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and toasted cumin, along with some fresh thyme, round out the with a savory smokiness. I go a little more heavy-handed on the paprika and cumin when serving to garnish the dip as well.
Tips For Choosing the Perfect Eggplant
The first time I ever bought an eggplant, I was astonished to slice it open and find so many seeds. While discovering seeds in your eggplant is no big deal (especially in this dip since they just get blended up), there are some things to keep in mind when shopping for eggplant.
Choose an eggplant that is firm and bright with a green stem. No dull and squishy skin! To ensure you’re picking an eggplant with fewer seeds, I’ve read multiple sources that mention choosing smaller to medium-sized eggplants will have fewer seeds and a less bitter flavor. For this recipe, don’t stress if your eggplant has some extra seeds since we’ll blend everything together.
Tips For Serving This Smokey Eggplant Dip
Easy answer: anything that you prefer! While I’m partial to a hot and chewy pita or naan, if I also have crostini or crackers, those will be just as delicious. A selection of fresh and crunchy vegetables are also nice to have, and I love serving olives and pickled vegetables alongside a spread. If you want to add this dip to a larger selection like a charcuterie-style board, feta chunks and artichokes are perfect for dipping as well. Use what you have on hand, and get creative!
How To Store Leftovers
Store leftover dip in an airtight container in the fridge. Top off with additional lemon juice or olive oil to avoid any discoloration and to keep fresh. Eat within three days to maintain the best flavor and texture.
If you don’t want to eat this as a dip for days on end, I have the best hack to use up leftover dip. Make a creamy eggplant pasta! Cook your favorite pasta, add a ladle of pasta water to a pan with a big scoop of this eggplant dip, and stir to combine. Then add your pasta and finish cooking in the sauce. Adjust the salt, add a squeeze of lemon, maybe some extra parmesan, a big helping of kale, and you’ve got the easiest and creamiest pasta dinner ever. I can’t wait for you to try it—and let me know what you think when you do!
Scroll on for the recipe for this smokey eggplant dip. If you make it, be sure to leave a rating and review, and tag us on Instagram!Print
Smokey Eggplant Dip
Inspired by muttabal, this creamy dip is perfect with pita.
- 2 medium-sized eggplants, sliced in half lengthwise
- olive oil
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- salt and pepper
- 2 large stems of fresh thyme, leaves removed
- 2 heads of garlic, sliced in half
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 3 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
- 1 teaspoon toasted cumin, freshly ground
- juice of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- to garnish: olive oil, smoked paprika, toasted pine nuts
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet tray with parchment.
- Place eggplant halves cut side facing up. Drizzle heavily with olive oil, spices, and thyme. Place garlic halves cut side down on the sheet tray. Place tray in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, then flip eggplants to be cut side down, and bake for another 25-35 minutes until eggplant is very soft and skin is charred. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Once eggplant is cooled, remove the skin. It’s okay if some pieces of charred skin are left. Add eggplant to a food processor with the cloves of garlic squeezed out from the roasted and sliced halves, and the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth, taste and adjust as needed.
- Pour dip into serving bowl and top with desired toppings. Enjoy!
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