Slice your eggplant into 1/4-inch rounds and sprinkle both sides with sea salt. Place in a colander in the sink to drain any excess liquid and draw out the eggplant's bitterness for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, place garlic on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Bake for 20 minutes, then remove pan from oven and add walnuts to the baking sheet. Bake both for 7-8 more minutes, or until the walnuts are fragrant and the garlic is light golden brown. Remove pan from oven and set aside.
After draining eggplant for 30 minutes, lightly rinse with cool water. Place between two absorbent towels and set something heavy on top - such as a baking sheet topped with a cast iron skillet - to help draw out any excess liquid.
Heat oven to high broil and position a rack at the top of the oven.
Arrange eggplant on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Roast for 4-5 minutes on each side or until the eggplant is deep golden brown (see photo).
Remove from pan, stack and wrap loosely in foil to lock in moisture – wait 5 minutes.
Peel away most of the skin of the eggplant (a little is OK) and add flesh to a blender or food processor.
Peel your roasted garlic and add to the food processor or blender. Also add toasted walnuts, lemon juice, a pinch each salt and pepper, harissa paste, smoked paprika, 1 Tbsp olive oil (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size), and maple syrup or coconut sugar. Mix/pulse until creamy and smooth.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a bit more harissa paste for heat and another pinch of salt. Add remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) for extra creaminess. Mix/pulse again to combine.
Garnish with fresh mint, walnuts and a pinch more paprika (optional).
This dip is best served with toasted pita chips or whole-grain bread to offset the creaminess, though vegetables are a great gluten-free option as well. Best when fresh.
*Harissa paste can be found at most specialty and standard grocery stores. However, find a recipe to make your own here. *Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional toppings.