This smoky roasted eggplant dip with tahini and lemon is served right in the eggplant! This delicious dip is a fun play on baba ghanoush, plus it’s easier - no food processor involved. Serve it with warm pita bread or challah for a tasty appetizer.
This eggplant dip is so delicious that it’s hard to stop eating it. It’s the perfect combination of smoky, savory, creamy, and chunky. I like to serve this rustic style dish with other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean inspired dishes like Jerusalem Salad, Israeli Chicken Thighs, or Za’atar Roasted Chicken.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This creamy dip is so simple, but delicious!
- Makes a lovely presentation to serve the dip in the eggplant itself.
- A fun twist on traditional baba ghanoush, made easier without a food processor!
This eggplant dip makes for a unique and beautiful presentation because the eggplant shape is kept intact. Often times eggplant dips like baba ghanoush are blended in a food processor and then they look amorphous in a bowl. This dip looks special but is actually the lazy person’s version since no food processor is needed.
It’s meant to be a little rustic and whipped together with a fork, and then prettied up with a sprinkle of chopped tomato and parsley. It’s the kind of dip that’s easy to throw together while there are kids under foot, or at least that’s what Hana did, the lovely hostess who introduced me to this dish.
Hana is the wife of Rabbi Piha, who is a Chabad rabbi who divides his time between Rome and Naples. This past summer I enjoyed an extra special shabbat dinner at their home in Rome, which was filled with excellent homemade food, warm company, and interesting conversation. This eggplant dish was one of the stand out dishes, and I’m grateful that Hana shared this recipe along with the recipe for Rabbi Piha’s grandmother’s Libyan Cod Fish.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
See the recipe card below for a complete ingredient list and measurements.Jump to Recipe
- Eggplants - Large globe eggplants work best because of their size. The smaller varieties don’t have enough flesh inside to make enough dip. Pick fresh ones with smooth, unblemished skin for best flavor.
- Tahini - Using a good quality brand for less bitter and more creamy flavor. I like the Soom and Seed and Mill brands. Make sure it is 100% sesame seeds purée.
- Fresh parsley - I prefer flat leaf parsley, but curly will work if that’s what is available. Possible substitutes include fresh cilantro or mint.
- Tomato - Most varieties of fresh tomatoes work here. I like to taste them first to make sure that they are flavorful and not bitter or mealy. Substitutes include diced red peppers or pomegranate arials.
- Seasonings - Salt, pepper, and garlic powder add extra flavor to the dip. Fresh lemon juice adds acidity for balance.
- Variations - For other flavor varieties, try cumin, or give it a little spice with Aleppo pepper. Add toasted pine nuts for crunch. Top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if needed. Mashing in roasted garlic would be another tasty addition!
Step by Step Photos
See the recipe card below for complete directions.Jump to Recipe
Step 1. Roast
Roast the eggplants over a gas stove or in the oven until charred.
Step 2. Peel
Once cool, peel off the eggplant skin and discard. Keep the eggplant shape intact.
Step 3. Mash
Gently mash each eggplant with a fork, keeping the outer edges in tact.
Step 4. Season
Add tahini, seasonings, and lemon juice to the mashed eggplants.
Step 5. Mix
Gently mix toppings in with the mashed eggplant flesh using a fork.
Step 6. Serve
Top the eggplant dip with chopped tomatoes and parsley.
Serve at room temperature or chilled with challah, pita chips, pita bread, or vegetable dippers such as sliced cucumbers and carrots.
- When roasting eggplant on a gas stove, the juices may drip down and make a mess. Lay down some foil on the stovetop before starting to catch any drips.
- Use a pair of tongs to safely rotate the eggplant over the open flame.
- What makes this dip extra delicious is the smoky flavor that is achieved by roasting the eggplant over a flame. The easiest way to achieve that is over the flame of a gas stove. Alternatively, cook the eggplant with the flame of a BBQ or broiler.
- If you don’t have a gas burner, you can also roast the eggplant in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (205°C). Pierce the skin of the eggplant several times with a fork to prevent the eggplant from exploding in the oven. Roast on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil until soft, about 35-45 minutes. For more options for cooking a whole eggplant, see Tori Avey’s article on How to Cook an Eggplant.
This dip tastes best the day it is prepared. However, the dip can be made up to one day in advance (without the tomato and parsley garnish), cover, and refrigerate. To serve, let it come to room temperature, and garnish before serving.
Storage and Reheating
How to store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to freeze: I do not recommend freezing this dish.
What To Serve With Mediterranean Eggplant Dip
This smoky eggplant dip makes the perfect appetizer or side dish for a Mediterranean meal. Serve it with pita wedges or challah.
Roasted Eggplant Dip Recipe
- ROAST: Roast whole eggplants using the flame of a gas stove. Poke a few holes in each eggplant with a fork so they don’t explode open while cooking. Place foil on the stove top around a burner to catch spills, optional. Place the eggplants next to each other directly over the burner of a gas stove right on top of the grate. Set the flame to medium, and start roasting the eggplants all over. Use long handled tongs to rotate the eggplants, being sure to get the tips of each. Rotate an eggplant when the bottom side is well charred and buckled. The eggplants are done when they’re blackened and soft all over, about 20-30 minutes.
- PEEL: Once both eggplants are cool to touch, peel off and discard the charred skin. It’s ok if a few tiny flecks of char remain. Do not remove the green stems, and keep the eggplants’ shape intact.
- MASH: Place eggplants on a serving dish. If an eggplant split lengthwise, lie the eggplant down with the largest split face up. If there’s not a split, make a shallow cut lengthwise to help reveal the inner flesh. Do not cut all the way through to the bottom. Gently mash each eggplant with a fork, but keep the outer edges intact to keep the general shape of the eggplant. Mash with fork tines cutting across the long strands inside to help break it apart.
- ADD: Next drizzle the tahini on top of the two eggplants, about 2 tablespoons on each. Then sprinkle the lemon juice and seasonings divided evenly on top of each eggplant.
- MIX AND GARNISH: Gently mix the added ingredients into the mashed eggplant with the fork, again retaining the general shape of the eggplant. The outer edge of the eggplant helps contain the dip like a bowl. Wipe the sides of the plate for a neat presentation. Top with sprinkled chopped tomatoes and parsley.
- SERVE: Serve at room temperature or chilled with challah, pita chips, pita bread, or vegetable dippers such as sliced cucumbers and carrots.
- How to cook the eggplants in the oven: roast the whole eggplants in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Pierce the skin of the eggplant several times with a fork to prevent the eggplant from exploding in the oven. Roast on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil until soft, about 35-45 minutes.
- How to store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- How to freeze: I do not recommend freezing this dish.
- This dip tastes best when served right after it has been prepared. Make the dip up to one day ahead (without the tomato and parsley garnish), cover and refrigerate. To serve, let it come to room temperature and garnish before serving.