Once upon a time I thought hummus and pita was the only known dip alternative to chips and salsa.
But then John’s aunt Nadia took us to an authentic Persian restaurant in San Diego where I was introduced to the wonder that is Persian Eggplant dip, also known as kashkeh bademjoon or borani. To keep things simple, let’s just call it Creamy Eggplant and Caramelized Onion Dip, and know that it is my absolute new favorite dip on the planet.
As always, this dip is simple; even more simple – and healthy – in fact, than traditional versions.
You don’t have to fry or even roast the whole eggplant, which douses it in grease and takes time. Instead, you roast it skin on in a little bit of olive oil and the skin peels right off. Easy, easy.
While your eggplant is roasting away in the oven, take a giant onion and some garlic and do the best thing you could possibly do to: Caramelize.
Something about soft, sweet, caramelized onions turn me into a ravenous food hog. I think I could’ve just eaten the whole pan and been in complete bliss. But, thankfully I resisted the temptation.
Once your eggplant and onion are ready just transfer them to a mixing bowl and give the whole thing a mash, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
The last step is to add a dollop of Greek yogurt, which makes it uber creamy. This obviously makes it not vegan, so you could sub tahini instead. But really this dip is so creamy as is you’d hardly miss it if you went without.
Top your dip with a few remaining spoonfuls of caramelized onion and you’re done! Persian eggplant dip in a cinch at home. And can I just tell you how insanely delicious this dip is? It’s:
Loaded with smokey eggplant and caramelized onion
What more could you ask for in a dip?
This dip is traditionally served with some form of pita bread, which I highly recommend. This dip and bread were meant to be together.
You may wonder why I’m posting this dip in the middle of pumpkin and apple season. Well, the answer is it would be the perfect appetizer to take along to Thanksgiving dinners and holiday social gathers as it can be made vegan and gluten free and is absolutely sensational. Even picky eaters will love it. (Not to mention, it would be a lovely sandwich spread the day after with its creamy texture.)
Bring on the parties and social gatherings! I know what I’m bringing. Enjoy!
Creamy Eggplant & Caramelized Onion Dip
- 1 large eggplant (cut into 1/4 inch rounds // skin on)
- 2 cups onion (diced // any kind – I used yellow)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- Olive oil
- Sea salt + ground pepper
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream (optional // omit for dairy-free)
- Pita, toasted bread, or assorted veggies for serving
- Sprinkle your eggplant with salt on both sides and place in a colander in the sink to drain excess water. After 10 minutes, lightly rinse with water and then press dry between two towels.
- Preheat oven to high broil (or medium if you have the option) and position a rack at the top of the oven.
- Arrange eggplant rounds on a baking sheet drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Roast for 5-7 minutes, turning once or twice until eggplant is softened and golden brown. Remove from pan and let cool to the touch.
- While eggplant is roasting, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2-3 Tbsp olive oil. Add onion and stir often until caramelized – turn heat to low if browning too quickly. Add minced garlic in the last few minutes so it doesn’t burn. Set aside.
- Peel away the skin of the eggplant (if a little is left that’s OK) and add flesh to a mixing bowl. It should be soft and tender. Add onion-garlic mixture and mash with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- OPTIONAL: Add 1/4 cup Greek yogurt and stir once more – this makes the dip ultra creamy, but is not necessary if vegan or dairy intolerant.
- Serve immediately with pita, toasted baguette, or assorted veggies. Best when eaten fresh, but it will keep in the fridge covered for a couple of days.
*Recipe makes ~1 1/4 cups eggplant dip.
*Adapted from Family Spice