Roasted Eggplant and Smoked Almond Dip

Looking for a fresh, unexpected dip for your next gathering? This roasted eggplant and smoked almond dip is delicious served on a cracker or as a side or salad.  Unique? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely!

a large white bowl of roasted eggplant and smoked almond dip on a purple cloth kitchen towelThis post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn a fee from qualifying purchases.

Nothing about this dip is traditional.  It doesn’t contain traditional dip-containing things.  (Eggplant, nuts, goat cheese, parsley, honey.) 

It’s definitely not what you’d think of as football food.  (Where’s the cheese and bacon?)

And yet here I am, sharing it the week before the Super Bowl, when I’d normally share lots of delicious football party worthy snacks.

What’s going on?

(This may be a mostly baking-based food blog, but personally, I can usually take it or leave it when it comes to sweets.  Salty snacks, dips, and finger foods, however, are my absolute favorite.)

This year, I’m encouraging you to think outside the normal fare when it comes to party food.  I mean, yes, of course there will be wings.  And cheesy bacon corn dip.  And ham and cheese sliders and roast beef sliders.  Obviously.

But there should also be a big bowl of this roasted eggplant and smoked almond dip.

a white serving bowl filled with roasted eggplant and smoked almond dip with a white cutting board with parsley and smoked almonds in the background

Eat as a dip… or a salad

And if football parties and dips really aren’t you thing?  Serve it as a salad at a dinner party, or as a side in a bowl to pass around the table.  It can just as easily be consumed with a fork, which is how I intended it the first time I made it.

I just happened to serve it next to a bowl of pita chips, intended for this creamy artichoke dip — but next thing I knew, people were using the pita chips to scoop up the eggplant and it was such a brilliant pairing that this moved straight from the “salad” category into the “dip” category and I’ve never looked back.

But it works great as a salad, or a side.  Or a dip.  It’s gluten free (just check the smoked almonds) and vegetarian, so it’s perfect to serve at large parties and gatherings to accommodate friends with all dietary restrictions.  I’ve even made a vegan version using homemade cashew cheese in lieu of the goat cheese for friends who keep Kosher.

a sheet pan full of honey and paprika covered eggplant cubes before roasting

Roast Eggplants for the Best Flavor

One of the reasons this dip is so good is because there are so many flavors and textures.  The eggplant is wonderfully soft and sweet, while the nuts are smokey and crunchy and the goat cheese is creamy and sharp.

Eggplants can often be bitter and tough, so to achieve the mellow, sweet texture for the dip, we’re going to start by roasting it.  Roasting is one of my favorite ways to prepare pretty much any vegetable, and eggplant is no exception.

Not only does roasting vegetables make them soft, it also makes them taste sweeter. (And who doesn’t want sweeter tasting vegetables?)  Why is this?   It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!

Kitchen Chemistry

When dry heat is applied to vegetables during roasting, the vegetable undergoes caramelization, a non-enzymatic brownining reaction.  The naturally occurring sugars in the vegetables break down (around 320 ° for sucrose and glucose) into hundreds of new aromatic compounds, making the vegetables taste much sweeter.

a sheet pan with small bites of roasted eggplant covered in a honey paprika dressing

Tips and Tricks for Roasted Eggplant and Smoked Almond Dip

  1. Roast the eggplant until soft and just slightly charred.  If the eggplant is not soft after 45 minutes, tent with foil and continue to cook until soft.
  2. Smoked almonds can often be found in the grocery store (we usually find them at Wegmans) or purchased online via Amazon (link is affiliate).
  3. Chop almonds into small pieces – it makes the dip easier to scoop!
  4. Serve dip at room temperature; if leftovers are refrigerated, let it sit at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes to warm up before serving.
  5. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

a hand holding a large cracker scooping up some roasted eggplant and smoked almond dip from a large white bowl

More Delicious Dip Recipes:

Roasted Eggplant and Smoked Almond Dip

Roasted Eggplant and Smoked Almond Dip

Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Looking for a fresh, unexpected dip for your next gathering? This roasted eggplant and smoked almond dip is delicious served on a cracker or as a side or salad.

Ingredients

  • 3 large, firm eggplants (about 3 pounds)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon (2-3 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup smoked almonds, roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • crackers or pita chips, for serving

Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F.  Slice the eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes (or smaller – easier to scoop as a dip!) and add to a large bowl.
    2. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, smoked paprika, cumin, and kosher salt.  Stir in the garlic.  Pour this mixture over the eggplant and toss until the eggplant is well-coated.
    3. Spread the eggplant on a large baking sheet, lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and roast for 45 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
    4. Whisk together the lemon juice and soy sauce.  Return the eggplant to the bowl, toss with the lemon juice and soy sauce, and stir in the chopped parsley, smoked almonds, and goat cheese.
    5. Serve alongside crackers for dipping or eat as a salad.

Notes

  • Roast the eggplant until soft and just slightly charred.  If the eggplant is not soft after 45 minutes, tent with foil and continue to cook until soft.
  • Smoked almonds can often be found in the grocery store (we usually find them at Wegmans) or purchased online via Amazon (link is affiliate).
  • Chop almonds into small pieces – it makes the dip easier to scoop!
  • Serve dip at room temperature; if leftovers are refrigerated, let it sit at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes to warm up before serving.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Nutrition information below reflects dip alone, without additional crackers.

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 302Total Fat: 21.4gCarbohydrates: 22.2gProtein: 9.7g
Roasted Eggplant and Smoked Almond Dip: Think outside the typical dip box, with this delicious gluten free and vegetarian dip made from roasted eggplants, smoked almonds, goat cheese, and parsley with a honey vinegar dressing. Also delicious as a side or a salad! #bunsenburnerbakery #dip #salad #glutenfree #partyfood

This Roasted Eggplant and Smoked Almond Dip recipe was originally published on 09/01/2015.  It was republished on 01/23/2020 with new text and photographs.