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Recipe for roasted eggplant spread with garlic, pepper and onions {vegan, gluten-free}


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 and onions.

Roasted eggplant spread with garlic, pepper and onions

From the pantry, you'll need: red onion, garlic, olive oil, kosher salt, fresh black pepper, ground cumin, pimentón (smoked paprika), mild red pepper flakes, fresh parsley.

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.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
White bean garlic dip
White bean dip with goat cheese and herbes de Provence
Roasted red pepper and garlic hummus crostini
Cold aubergine salad

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

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


This really does sound fantastic! Perfect for a summer get-together!

Lydia, this is definitely a dip that I would love - it reminds me of caponata without the tang. Pinning this so I can make it soon.

Kalyn, I think this will be wonderful when your garden eggplant comes in!

Jeanette, exactly, caponata without the vinegar (capers), and a bit of smoky flavor from the smoked paprika. I find it really addictive.

Thank you for this recipe. I never eat eggplant because I don't know how to cook with it,What a nice birthday dish this will be for my brother today, as he loves eggplsnt!!

Kathie, my husband isn't a great fan of eggplant, either, but he loved it in this flavorful spread. I made some low-carb pita chips to go along with it.

Well, you made the eggplant look tempting, but it takes a lot to sway me towards eggplant.

I am going to save this for when the eggplant start rolling off Restoration Farm this summer!

Pam, please try it. I know, it's not everyone's favorite, but this spread is just so good.

TW, this will be great with farm eggplant, and if they toss some bell peppers into your CSA box, use those, too. And garlic -- do you get garlic from the farm?

This is veryyy close to an Indian recipe called Baingan Bharta! Try addding tomatoes to the recipe and some freshly chopped coriander leaves at the end! Sprinkle some lime and there you have it!! :)

Could this be made ahead and frozen? I have some leftover eggplant after making eggplant parmesan tonight and would like to use the leftovers for this dip to serve at my book club meeting. Ah, but book club isn't until May 30.

Meenakshi, thanks for the info and suggestions. I'll try it your way.

Judy, I'm honestly not sure about freezing it, as I've never tried it. So I say go for it.

I am definitely on board with this as a sandwich spread--with grilled chicken on ciabatta!! but what kind of cheese....hmmmm...decisions, decisions.

I had two asian eggplants kicking around, the better part of a pepper, and ...voila! The whole thing ended up scaled down a touch (except for the garlic, which I LOVE!) but it's AMAZING! I love that it comes together so fast, too! I'll be making this again! Thanks, Lydia!

Carol, this would be great with grilled chicken, on a sandwich or just on the side. go for a nice melting cheese -- fontina, maybe?

Amy, so glad you made this with your bits and pieces -- and plenty of garlic. I can thinks of dozens of ways to use this spread, or dip. Or, as Carol says, sandwich filling.

Lydia, this makes me think of the Israeli eggplant salad my daughter-in-law makes which is the joy of my daughter and my husband and which brings tears to my eyes - but this sounds like something I can eat - have to pick up eggplant and try it out.

Elle, this does have very Mediterranean flavors to it. And for those who don't love eggplant, it doesn't really scream "eggplant".

I love most foods made with garlic and onions and this spread should be a hit with all my friends :).

I have made a lot of eggplant dishes, but this one is going to convert my eggplant-hater daughter! I love the versatility of the dish as well as all the flavors that go into it:) And my local Persian store always has gorgeous eggplants for pennies:)
BTW, I use Pinterest for my "to make recipes":) Love the visual prompts!

Jane, I hope it is. The flavors are very vibrant.

Lana, this dish has made a fan of my husband, who does not love eggplant, so perhaps it will do the same for your daughter. You are lucky to have a close-by Persian market. Oh, how I wish I did!

I also just made this (and the kale pesto) and it was sooo delicious. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

I did something very similar but felt it needed a little acidity so I added a tablespoon of sweet white balsamic vinegar of modena and used cayenne instead of flakes and I think it came our really good.

This is delicious! I love it so much that my oven is on right now making this and it's almost 90ºF outside... in my defense I had a craving, too many eggplants in the fridge and some vegetarian friends are coming over later, so I used that as an excuse xD
Thank you, and to all the skeptics out there TRY IT ; )

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