Just in time for holiday weekend entertaining, here's an easy roasted eggplant spread (or dip, or side dish, or sandwich stuffer or pasta topper) with garlic, red bell pepper and onions, that takes less than ten minutes of work time and can be made in advance. It's vegan, gluten-free, and finger-lickin' good. Who could ask for anything more? The pairing of eggplant and red pepper might remind you of caponata; the addition of cumin echoes the flavor of baba ghanoush. Two Facebook friends suggested using this spread in lasagne or in a wrap -- both great ideas that show off the versatility of the recipe. I've gone with fresh parsley here, because it's always available in my local market, but later in the summer, when I have abundant herbs in the garden, I'll substitute with basil or mint, or some of each.
Roasted eggplant spread with garlic, pepper and onions
Makes 1- to 1-1/2 cups.
1 large eggplant, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large red onion, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large red bell pepper, trimmed, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 large garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, for sprinkling
Olive oil, up to 1/2 cup
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sweet or hot pimentón (smoked paprika), whichever you prefer
1/8 tsp mild red pepper flakes
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
Additional kosher salt and fresh black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Place the eggplant, onion, red bell pepper and garlic cloves on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and the olive oil. With your hands, toss everything together, and spread the vegetables so they are in a single layer.
Roast the vegetables at 400F for 45 minutes. Everything should be soft but not mushy, and slightly browned but not crisp.
Remove the pan from the oven, and transfer the vegetables to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the cumin, pimentón, red pepper flakes and fresh parsley, and pulse until the mixture is a consistency you like. I like mine chunky but spreadable; if you want a smoother purée, keep pulsing.
Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. If you're planning to serve the spread cold, you'll want to add some salt now, and then taste again before serving as it might need additional salt and pepper.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Garlicky roasted red pepper and almond dip, from Food Blogga
Graffiti eggplant with white bean, basil and lemon spread, from Roost
Roasted eggplant tapenade and pasta sauce, from Gluten-free Goddess
Italian grilled eggplant cakes, from Andrea Meyers
Baba ganoush, from A Veggie Venture
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