As I mentioned in my last post, for my Creamy Dairy-Free Spinach Dip, I have really been enjoying cooking and baking without dairy. In addition to cooking without processed foods and gluten, it has been a fun and rewarding challenge. However, it is definitely one thing to just be cooking at home for myself and my hubby, but coming up with some fun and unique snacks to share with other people that can eat both gluten and dairy, can be a bit harder. I never ever want someone that is eating my food to feel like they are eating a weirdo diet food or some sort of concoction that only someone that hasn’t had gluten in over 7 years, would love.
When coming up with snack ideas for our little Super Bowl get together, I wanted something everyone could love that was light but still satisfying and with my dips I really wanted to challenge myself to create creamy but without the dairy. In the past, I definitely would have enjoyed some of the healthy snacks that others or likely myself made, but then, of course, indulging a bit in the inevitable cheese that would be there in some capacity. Using the excuse of a holiday or special occasion to eat more cheese than normal sounds all well and good, until you have a terrible cheese-induced tummy-ache later because you have all but cut out dairy in your every day life.
So I came across a version of this recipe on my Pinterest travels and it looked super creamy and delicious, I decided to add in the roasted red peppers because they pack some incredible flavors that I thought would pair very well with the eggplant! The original recipe was just the eggplant and it had a bit more olive oil, the photo I saw with the recipe made it look so insanely creamy, I couldn’t believe there wasn’t any dairy in it. So after making this my way, I am actually looking forward to trying this dip again, the original way, to see which I prefer.
This dip is smooth and creamy and has a bright, almost tart flavor from the roasted red pepper. I really love how the peppery spice from the oregano works with all of the different elements. Feel free to play around with different spices and/or herbs to get this to the flavors you love. The original recipe called for thyme, you could also add in some red pepper flakes or other spices that you love.
I served this dip with a bunch of fresh raw veggies like baby carrots, celery, radishes, bell peppers, etc as well as some crackers. This dip would also make a great spread to put on sandwiches, eggs, even on top of a salad, pasta, etc.
[print_this]Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Dip (gluten-free and vegan)
Adapted from Body+Soul Magazine, July/August 2010
3 medium eggplant (about 4 pounds), halved the long way
4 cloves garlic, peeled and very thinly sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup roasted red peppers, roughly chopped (roast the peppers yourself or jarred will work too)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (roughly chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400º F. Arrange the eggplant cut side up on a baking sheet. Make slits in eggplant and insert garlic . Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake until tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven; let stand until cool, about 20 minutes.
Scoop the flesh of the eggplant into a food processor. Add roasted red peppers, oregano, 1 tablespoon oil, and lemon juice. Puree until smooth. Pulse to combine with salt and pepper, to taste. Will keep refrigerated up to 3 days. Serve with crackers, fresh vegetables or crostini.