I am in love with the flavors of the Mediterranean. Having just come back from Greece this summer, I am newly energized to enjoy even more of these delicious, wholesome foods every week! In the Mediterranean, there are a few key ingredients that you see consistently, and I picked out two of them for this simple dip: olives and eggplants.
Since I live in California, I too live in a Mediterranean climate and have these ingredients at my fingertips; I have olive trees and eggplants growing in my garden. California produces some of the best olives and olive oil on the planet. I’m a huge fan of olives, as they contain healthy fats, vitamin E (.25 mg per serving), iron (.49 mg per serving), vitamin A (60 IU per serving), and fiber (.5 grams per serving). You will always find at least a few different types of olives in my pantry—they are shelf stable and so easy to enjoy all year long. Serve this recipe with toasted bread, pita or veggies; as a topping for entrees, such as lentil patties or nut loaves, or as a spread on sandwiches.
Yields 3 cups
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small lemon, juiced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- ¼ teaspoon smoked sea salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 cup California Black Ripe Olives, sliced
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Trim ends of eggplant and slice in half lengthwise. Place cut side down on a baking dish. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Place in oven on top rack and roast for about 30-35 minutes, until eggplant is very soft to the touch.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Scoop out the flesh of the eggplant with a spoon into a blender.
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, and sea salt. Process just until smooth. Season with black pepper as desired.
- Remove dip from the blender and place in a medium bowl. Stir in sliced olives. Serve immediately or chill until serving time.
Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian