Chemist in the Kitchen

January 7, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Eggplant & Tahini Dip

Eggplant & Tahini Dip

The new year is all about making resolutions, and I have decided that the perfect resolution for me is to finally break my mini-hiatus from CITK. First it was that I was in Israel visiting my family, then it was the packing, and then the relocating… Next thing I know it, two months have passed. But I am glad to report that I am officially back, reporting live from our beautiful new home in Austin, Texas, and today’s recipe is one of my lifelong favorites.


This blog post’s recipe star is none other than: the eggplant.


In Israeli cuisine, the eggplant is absolutely essential. It’s versatility and fantastic ability to act as a meat-like substitute has made it a quintessential ingredient in Mediterranean recipes. The eggplant has come in handy at times of meat shortages, being the perfect ingredient to make meatless “chopped liver” that is, surprisingly, hard to differentiate from the real thing, or sliced thick, breaded, and fried as a way to make vegetarian schnitzel when chicken or veal was not available. This incredible vegetable has gotten us through hard times in the past, and is still enjoyed as a vegetarian option to this day.


Male and Female Eggplants


Although the eggplant’s value is hard to argue against, did you know that not all eggplants are equally good for cooking? Look at the picture above showing the ends of the eggplants (some people refer to this as the eggplant’s “belly button”, although in reality, it’s the eggplant’s derriere). The left eggplant’s belly button is elongated and rod-shaped, indicating that it is a female eggplant, while the one on the right has a circular belly button, indicating that it is a male. Female eggplants tend to be a bit heavier, which may make you choose them when you’re picking eggplants at the grocery store, but the heaviness is actually attributed to its high seed content. Due to this fact, female eggplants are very high in seeds and low in actual meat, and often have a much more bitter taste. Male eggplants, on the other hand, have less seeds and more meat to them, and tend to be a little bit sweeter. When choosing eggplants, it is highly suggested to steer clear of the female eggplants and stick with the male eggplants for the best quality eggplant dish.


Cooked Eggplant


In this recipe, the eggplant is roasted in the oven until cooked through and juicy, then mixed in the food processor with tahini and other simple ingredients that will highlight the eggplant’s sweet, meaty texture rather than cover it up as is the case with heavy spices. Use this eggplant & tahini dip as a delicious appetizer with pita bread or veggies, and don’t be afraid to get experimental with food pairings (Nate’s favorite dipping vessel so far: pizza).


Eggplant Dip


Without further ado, here is my lifelong favorite recipe for eggplant & tahini dip. Happy new year’s, and see you next week!


With love,




Eggplant & Tahini Dip

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: Approx. 3 cups

Eggplant & Tahini Dip


  • 3 lbs male eggplant (circular "belly button", not rod-shaped)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
  • 1/4 tsp paprika, for garnish
  • Pita or vegetables for dipping


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash and dry the eggplants. Pierce each eggplant 3-4 times with a paring knife. Place the eggplants in a shallow baking pan lined with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, turning the eggplant with tongs approximately every 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the eggplants from the oven. Carefully slice the eggplants in half and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.
  4. In a food processor, spoon out the meat from the eggplants and discard the skins. Add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and mix for 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  5. Transfer the eggplant & tahini dip to a bowl and garnish with parsley and paprika as desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

0 likes Appetizer , Dairy-Free , Gluten-Free , Make Ahead , Paleo , Side Dish , Uncategorized , Vegan , Vegetarian # , , , , , ,
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