I love being invited out to a friend’s house for dinner. “Bring an appetizer” is often the response that I get when asking what to bring. That’s where I find myself stuck in the eternal appetizer dilemma. Choosing the perfect starter can be tougher than picking a restaurant to have dinner. As so the quandary starts. Sure I could run down to the supermarket and buy a bag of tortilla chips and packaged hummus and I am done, but that would be too easy. And it certainly would not help me with my reputation as a foodie. So here is a super easy appetizer to make: roasted eggplant spread.
Besides the fact that it is healthy, and so delicious, it only requires three ingredients, most of which I almost always have in our fridge.
Roasting vegetables in the oven transforms them into crispy, caramelized bites of awesomeness. The edges get all golden and crunchy, while the inside stays tender. Plus, the aroma that fills your kitchen is amazing. Not sure if you have heard the term before, but roasting vegetables in the oven is the lazy chef’s secret weapon—throw them in, forget about them until the timer goes off, and reap the tasty rewards. It is so simple to make and yet it is so delicious!
How To Pick Fresh Vegetables
Selecting the fresh vegetables at your local supermarket should be easy. For the red pepper, go for ones with vibrant, glossy skin, firm to the touch, and heavy for their size. A plump, heavy feel indicates juiciness.
For red onions, choose ones that are firm, with dry, papery skins and minimal bruising. The skin should be shiny, and the onion should feel heavy for its size.
Eggplants should be firm and glossy, with a bright color and a slight give when pressed. Smaller eggplants tend to be less bitter. A fresh, green stem is a good sign.
Getting organic vegetables, or from a local farmers market is always a plus.
- red onion
- red pepper
- red pepper flakes
- extra virgin olive oil
- high-quality balsamic vinegar
Easy Steps To Make Roasted Eggplant Spread
Step 1: Cut the red onion, red pepper, and eggplant up coarsely.
Step 2: Generously apply salt, pepper, and olive oil (about 2 – 4 tablespoons depending on the size of the vegetables).
Step 3: Lay them out on rimmed pan.
Step 4: Roast the vegetables at 400 degrees for 40 minutes – rotating them halfway through the time. Once they are caramelized and soft, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.
Step 5: Put the roasted vegetables into a blender, add the vegetables, and a tablespoon of high-quality balsamic vinegar. On occasion, I have also used flavored balsamic vinegar – using a thick fig balsamic was delicious. You can also add ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes if you want to add a little heat.
Step 6: Pulse until they are chunky and to your desired consistency. Serve cold.
If you enjoy roasting, I must suggest that you look at my roasted Brussels sprouts on the stalk recipe.