This smoky, savory roasted eggplant dip with carrot and tahini is a delicous make-ahead appetizer perfect for the holidays. Dotted with fresh pomegranate seeds and flavored with harissa, tahini and smoked paprika, it’s also vegan and gluten free.
The Flavors of Smoky Eggplant Dip
We absolutely adore this roasted eggplant carrot tahini dip. It’s smoky, slightly sweet, and nutty. Here’s how you can build the robust Middle Eastern flavors in your easy appetizer:
- Use plenty of tahini. Tahini is the paste of ground sesame seeds. Tahini provides the rich, nutty undernote in this roasted eggplant dip. Plus, it helps the dip become smooth and silky.
- Harissa powder brings some subtle heat. Harissa is a classic middle eastern spice that you can find in a paste or powdered form. It’s made from red chile peppers but it doesn’t pack too big of a kick. You can certainly add more harissa than we call for if you like a bit more spice in your eggplant dip.
- Pomegranate molasses has become easier and easier to find at most grocery stores. It’s also readily available online. It’s a must in our pantry for the sweet-tart brightness it brings to all kinds of dishes. If you don’t have any near you, you can substitute with a a bit of high-quality, syrupy balsamic vinegar.
- We complement the pomegranate molasses with fresh pomegranate arils to top the eggplant dip. They’re a beautiful decoration. But they also provide a lovely sweet pop in the creamy dip. Here’s how to get the seeds out of a pomegranate without looking like a murder scene.
- Plenty of fresh parsley brings crunch and clean note to the nuttiness from tahini.
How to Roast Creamy Eggplant
Before you get to all those spices and flavors, start making this eggplant dip recipe with, well, an eggplant. To make this festive holiday dip extra creamy, remove the skin.
First, cut an eggplant in half lengthwise. Then, use a large spoon to remove the white flesh from the purple skin. When you add this loose eggplant flesh to a baking sheet with the carrots, it gets the direct oven heat.
This helps the eggplant flesh get meltingly soft and creamy. Which means it will whip up into a lusciously silky dip for crudite. Also, without the skin, the eggplant will take on a nice smokey flavor in the oven.
That smokey flavor goes well with the smoked paprika. Together, they make this dip taste like it was made outside over an open fire.
How to Serve Creamy Eggplant Dip
Ultimately, there are dozens of delicious ways to enjoy this roasted eggplant tahini dip. You can easily make it ahead of time. Simply store the dip in an airtight container in the fridge for several days. For that reason, it’s always a winner for parties. And while its flavors are welcome all year long, we find it especially popular around the holidays.
- It makes a lovely addition to any holiday appetizer spread. Adorn it with pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of olive oil with some fresh veggies for a beautiful arrangement. For our tips on creating the perfect appetizer platter, see here.
- Or, try the roasted eggplant dip with fresh pita or toasted bread – yum!
- The middle eastern flavors in this quick and easy roasted eggplant dip pair very well with our vegan shawarma sheet pan dinner for an upgraded weeknight dinner.
If you’re planning a festive holiday party this year, here are a few more crowd-pleasing vegan appetizers to add to your menu, along with this roasted eggplant dip:
- Pumpkin Sage Hummus
- Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Vegan Caramelized Onion Dip
- Loaded Nachos with Vegan Queso
And finally, don’t forget to show us photos of your beautiful appetizer creations! Tag us @crowded_kitchen on Instagram.
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Slightly smoky, sweet, nutty – this dip has it all!
- 1 medium eggplant
- 3 large carrots
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup tahini
- 4 cloves garlic (roasted, preferably)
- 1 tbsp harissa powder
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 tbsp freshly parsley
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Slice eggplant in half lengthwise. Score the eggplant and scoop out the flesh using a spoon. Wash and peel carrots and slice into equal sized rounds. Drizzle eggplant and carrot with olive oil, put on sheet tray and roast 20-25 minutes, or until fork tender and slightly browned.
- Remove from oven and let cool. Add all ingredients except water to food processor or high speed blender. Blend until all ingredients are well combined. Slowly stream in water while blending until it reaches desired consistency.
- Garnish with fresh parsley, pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of olive oil and serve with fresh vegetables, crackers, pits, etc.
If you can’t find pomegranate molasses, we suggest leaving it out altogether instead of using a replacement.