Turkish aubergine and yogurt dip

    1 hour 55 min

    Many versions of this creamy aubergine dip are to be found around the Mediterranean. This one is thickened with ground almonds, which add both texture and protein. Served with pitta bread and crunchy vegetable crudités, the dip makes a delicious snack or starter for 8, or a well-balanced lunch dish for 4.

    7 people made this

    Serves: 8 

    • 3 aubergines, about 675 g (1½ lb) in total
    • 2 large garlic cloves
    • 30 g (1 oz) ground almonds
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 150 g (5½ oz) Greek-style yogurt
    • 50 g (1¾ oz) stoned black olives, roughly chopped
    • salt and pepper
    • To serve
    • 3 courgettes
    • 3 celery sticks
    • ½ cauliflower, broken into large florets
    • 8 wholemeal pitta breads
    • To garnish
    • ¼ tsp paprika
    • 4 black olives, halved and stoned

    Prep:45min  ›  Cook:1hr10min  ›  Ready in:1hr55min 

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4). Prick the aubergines in several places with a fork and place on a lightly greased baking tray. Roast for 40 minutes, turning the aubergines occasionally. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves to the baking tray and continue roasting for 20 minutes or until the aubergines feel very soft.
    2. Remove from the oven and leave the aubergines until they are cool enough to handle, then cut them into quarters lengthways. Strip off the skin and put the flesh into a colander. Leave to drain for about 15 minutes.
    3. Squeeze out as much liquid from the aubergine flesh as possible. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from their skin. Combine the aubergine flesh, garlic, almonds, lemon juice, cumin and olive oil in a food processor, and purée until smooth. Alternatively, put the ingredients in a bowl and purée using a hand-held blender.
    4. Stir in the yogurt and chopped olives. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.
    5. Preheat a ridged cast-iron grill pan, or preheat the grill to high. Cut the courgettes and celery into finger-length sticks suitable for dipping and arrange on a platter with the cauliflower florets. Put the pitta breads on the grill pan or under the grill and toast for 2–3 minutes on each side or until just beginning to brown. Cut each bread into 6 wedges and place on the platter.
    6. Sprinkle the aubergine dip with paprika and garnish with the halved olives. Serve with the vegetable crudités and warm pitta breads.

    Plus points

    In most recipes, aubergines are fried and they are notorious for soaking up the frying fat. For this dish they are dry-roasted, which keeps the overall fat content low. * Garlic is not just a valuable ingredient in the kitchen, its medicinal properties have been recognised for centuries. Naturopaths and herbalists use it to treat dozens of ailments, from athlete's foot to colds. * Olives are low in calories – just 30 kcal in 30 g (1 oz), which is about 10 olives – and most of the fat they contain is the healthy monounsaturated type. They are also a source of vitamin E.

    Some more ideas

    The aubergine dip can be made 1–2 hours in advance and kept in the fridge. Let it return to room temperature before serving. * For a Moroccan white bean and yogurt dip, drain and rinse 2 cans of cannellini beans, about 410 g each. Put them in a food processor with 2 tbsp tahini, 1 tbsp lemon juice, ¼ tsp ground cumin and ¼ tsp ground coriander, and process until smooth. Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a bowl and purée using a hand-held blender. Stir in 150 g (5½ oz) Greek-style yogurt, 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint, and serve with sesame breadsticks or Arab flat bread, and crudités of cucumber and carrot sticks, and red and yellow pepper strips.

    Each serving provides

    C * A, B1, B6, E, folate, niacin, calcium, copper, iron, potassium, zinc

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