How do you reform an eggplant hater? Apparently you slather the stuff in tomato sauce and mozzarella, as I learned with James a few years back. After trying eggplant parm once, he went from pushing away any dish that had the vegetable in it to begging for baba ghanoush every week. We eat a ton of eggplant now: fried, baked, or roasted into a dip and mixed with tahini, but even with all of those options he’s been asking me to incorporate it into some new recipes.
(And by recipes, I mean dips. “Everyone loves a good dip,” he always says, and he’s certainly not wrong about that.)
Since eggplant parm was the first dish that got James to convert to an eggplant fanatic, I decided to make a dip using the same flavors for us to enjoy this winter. Creamy roasted eggplant and roasted garlic, fresh basil, tomato sauce, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese is all it took for Eggplant Parmesan Dip to become a delicious reality. Emphasis on the word delicious.
To make the dip, I start off by roasting some sliced eggplant with a head of garlic. Once roasted, they’re soft, creamy and easily pureed to make the base. Roasted eggplant and garlic are plenty flavorful on their own, but to really make it taste like eggplant parm I also add in plenty of tomato sauce, fresh basil, parmesan cheese, and mozzarella and process it in my food processor until it’s well combined.
Then I scoop it all out into a small baking dish or oven-safe bowl in an even layer. Then, I add MORE cheese on top. Never skimp on the cheese.
Then all that’s left to do is bake until the cheese is bubbly and the edges are browned. Since there are no breadcrumbs in the recipe, I serve the Eggplant Parmesan Dip with toasted bread. It tastes just like eggplant parm, in party-ready form!
- 2 large eggplants
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 head garlic, top and excess paper removed
- Olive oil, for roasting
- ½ cup prepared tomato sauce, plus more to taste
- One bunch fresh basil
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Crostini, to dip
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Slice the eggplant into ¼” slices and sprinkle liberally with salt. Place the slices in a colander to drain off any excess liquid. Let sit for 10 minutes, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
- Place the eggplant slices and garlic head on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender, turning the tray once while cooking.
- Remove the cooked eggplant from the oven and let cool. Peel away and discard the skin.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the remaining paper and into a food processor. Add in the roasted eggplant, tomato sauce, and most of the basil. Process until smooth, and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add in half of the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and process again.
- Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread the roasted eggplant mixture in the dish and top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan.
- Bake until browned, about 25 minutes. Serve warm with crostini, to dip.
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