Smoky aubergine and feta dip

I love all things aubergine, and this smoky aubergine and feta dip is similar to baba ganoush, however replacing tahini with feta cheese means that it almost has the consistency of a pâté when cool. This smoky aubergine and feta dip is absolutely delicious spread on bread, crackers, oatcakes, with healthy crudités, or on sweet potato toasts like I’ve done!

The heat wave and lack of rain we’re experiencing in the UK has been tough on our natural environment. The grass, usually so lush and green, is yellow and dry, and crispy brown leaves are already falling from the trees. It feels like autumn has arrived early for us, and although I adore the autumnal months, I’m still enjoying summer too much to see nature’s lush bounty pass so soon.

The hot, dry weather provides growers and farmers with a challenge too, as lack of rain causes great stress to our more moisture loving crops. However, the non-native aubergine is one of those to fair well in such conditions, and this delicious aubergine dip celebrates the adaptability and variation found in nature.

Usually I’d char and blacken the aubergine on a gas hob or BBQ because it gives it a super intense smoky taste, however there is no gas in our new flat (oh, I miss it so much!) and the dry weather means that BBQs are prohibited in London parks and outdoor spaces. So, for this recipe I decided to use the grill method (or broiler method for my American friends). This was the first time that I’d tried to grill aubergines, and although the smokiness isn’t as intense, it is still smoky and very delicious!

The time required to char the aubergine will depend on how big your aubergines are and how close they get to the grill element. I recommend having the grill pan 12cm (5 inches) below the element, with the grill on medium/high. Never let the aubergine touch the element, or leave them unattended, otherwise you’ll have a kitchen full of smoke before you know it. Cook the aubergines for 30-40 minutes, turning every few minutes, or until they are completely soft. Always check the ends of the aubergine for tenderness, especially at the stem, as these parts are furthest away from the heat and take longer to cook through.

This dip is as it’s best when completely cool, so let those aubergines cool completely before combining with the rest of the ingredients. For a more rustic style dip with chunky texture, you can simply put all the ingredients on a wooden board and chop to combine. However, for a super smooth, creamy dip, simply pop everything in a food processor – it couldn’t be easier!

This smoky aubergine and feta dip is perfect for Meze platters, picnics or a light supper. This time I had it spread on thickly sliced sweet potato toasts, and garnished with lashings of parsley, beetroot and red cabbage microgreens, and toasted pumpkin and cumin seeds. For me, this is heaven on a plate.

With love and gratitude for adaptibility of nature x

Smoky aubergine and feta dip
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This simple smoky aubergine and feta dip is absolutely delicious spread on bread, crackers, oatcakes, with healthy crudités, or on sweet potato toasts!
Ingredients
  • 2 medium aubergines
  • 100g feta cheese (preferably organic)
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves, or more/less as you prefer - I tend to go by the rule of one clove per aubergine but then I like the taste or garlic very much!
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp greek yogurt (preferably organic)
  • 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper and Pink Himalayan salt
  • Toasted pumpkin and cumin seeds (optional)
  • Beetroot and red cabbage microgreens (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pierce the aubergines and cook until completely soft, using your preferred method. The grill (broiler) method is detailed above and should take around 45 minutes.
  2. Remove the skins, taking care as they'll still be very hot, and leave the aubergine to cool in the fridge.
  3. Put the cooled aubergine, feta, crushed garlic cloves, lemon juice, greek yogurt and half of the olive oil in a food processor, blend until smooth. Or, simply chop to combine on a chopping board for a chunky textured dip.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste, and blend again.
  5. To enjoy at it's best, pop in the fridge until completely cool, or enjoy straight away!
  6. Top with the rest of the olive oil and garnish with any of the optional toppings

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