Roasted Eggplant and Smoked Almond Dip

Roasted eggplant and smoked almonds paired with goat cheese, parsley, and a honey-vinegar dressing for a delicious dip-salad hybrid.

This dip.  This dip. I’ve made it three times in three weeks, it’s that good.  If, like me, you tend to associate the phrase “dip” with cheesy, gooey, mayo-filled dishes, please think again.  This is so much more like a salad than a dip, and would certainly be delicious consumed with just a fork – I just happened to choose to serve it with a side of pita chips.  Actually, I think I happened to serve it alongside an artichoke dip with pita chips, and next thing I knew the pita chips were being used to scoop up the eggplant salad and it was such a brilliant paring that this moved from the “salad” category straight on over into a dip.

Roasted Eggplant and Smoked Almond Dip with goat cheese, parsley, and a honey-vinegar dressing. {Bunsen Burner Bakery}

The first time started innocently enough: I happened to have some eggplants from our CSA, a package of mesquite smoked almonds from Trader Joe’s, and an overgrown parsley plant.  I also happened to have a friend over for dinner who loves vegetables and flavorful foods, so I figured it was the perfect time to give it a try.  Before I even had a chance to taste it myself, my husband was mumbling with a partially full mouth “oooh… that’s good.”  Friends, if this man likes something where the majority ingredient is eggplant, you know it’s a winner – while he will dutifully eat his vegetables when they are placed in front of him, it is exceedingly rare for him to deem anything that is not covered in chocolate and peanut butter or a large piece of steak as “good.”

Roasted Eggplant and Smoked Almond Dip with goat cheese, parsley, and a honey-vinegar dressing. {Bunsen Burner Bakery}

He liked it so much, in fact, that he suggested I make it again the following week when we had friends over for dinner.  Our friends keep Kosher and I was planning a meat-based dish, so I went so far as to make a vegan “goat cheese” (soaked cashews, processed with lemon, cider vinegar, and a whole bunch of salt) – while I’d never recommend the cashew cheese for eating plain or on a cracker, it added the perfect creaminess to the eggplant dip that we would have otherwise missed without the goat cheese.  The overall result was a little different, but still delicious.

This weekend, my college best friend – and godfather to our baby – flew up to visit.  He also loves to cook and we decided to grill pizzas for dinner the first night of his stay.  What goes better with grilled pizzas than a fresh, flavorful dip and some pita chips to snack on while we wait for the dough to rise?  Nothing, that’s what.   So I made the dip again and we dug in.

Roasted Eggplant and Smoked Almond Dip with goat cheese, parsley, and a honey-vinegar dressing. {Bunsen Burner Bakery}

The only problem with this dip, as discovered from all three times I’ve made it, is that it doesn’t make enough to have substantial leftovers.  We had no leftovers at all the first time, just a small one-person snack amount the second time, and barely enough to bother bringing for lunch the third time.  So if you’re going to make this for a crowd (or invite me over and serve it), I highly suggest you double or triple (quadruple!) it.  And this weekend, my parents are coming to visit and would probably enjoy this as much as I do…. shall I go for 4 straight weeks in a row? Yes, please!

Roasted Eggplant and Smoked Almond Dip

Roasted eggplant and smoked almonds paired with goat cheese, parsley, and a honey-vinegar dressing.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large, firm eggplants
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 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
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • crackers or pita chips, for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.  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.

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn

Roasted Eggplant and Smoked Almond Dip with goat cheese, parsley, and a honey-vinegar dressing. {Bunsen Burner Bakery}