Roasted Tomato and Aubergine Dip
This Middle Eastern inspired Roasted Tomato and Aubergine Dip is packed full of flavour. It’s sweet and smoky and ever so moreish! Get the recipe below.
A dish of many names
I’ve seen similar Roasted Tomato and Aubergine Dips go by names such as Zaalouk, Matbucha and Abagannuc. Whilst I have a huge love of Middle Eastern cuisine, I won’t admit that I understand the regional variations of dishes such as this and I’d hate to use a name incorrectly.
What I do know is that roasted aubergines (or eggplants) make a fantastic dip. I can happily eat a whole batch of baba ghanoush to myself. So, when I wanted to make baba ghanoush but didn’t have quite enough aubergine, I took inspiration from variations that also used roasted tomatoes.
I roast both the tomatoes and aubergines before pulsing them very briefly in my blender along with just a little garlic and lemon. If you want to keep it more chunky then you can simply mash the ingredients together. I prefer to use the blender as I don’t remove the skin from my tomatoes. I’ve included both options in the recipe card so the choice is yours!
I’ve also made some suggestions for other dishes you might serve alongside this dip, but honestly it’s best simply scooped up with a nice, warm flatbread!
As with any simple recipes that requires just a handful of ingredients, you want to make sure you are using the best possible quality. Here are some top tips for buying the best tomatoes and aubergines for this dip.
Tomatoes are one of my absolute favourite ingredients. But, there’s a caveat to that. I’m not a big fan of supermarket bought tomatoes. Why? They are rarely as juicy and flavourful as home grown tomatoes or those bought from small growers and farmers markets. And there’s good reason for this. They are picked while they are still green but just starting to ripen. they do this so that the tomatoes ripens while in transit and is then the perfect shade of red (or yellow) when it lands on supermarket shelves.
The tomato season in my back garden is so short that I can’t possibly grown enough tomatoes to last me all spring, summer and into the early autumn. Instead I buy my tomatoes from The Tomato Stall which is supplied by Isle of Wight Tomatoes.
Because of the climate on the Isle of Wight their growing season is extended which means I can enjoy aromatic tomatoes for longer. They also stock a wide range of different heritage varieties. For this recipe I’d recommend the San Arrantino Plum Tomatoes or the Piccolo Tomatoes.
I’ve mentioned them a few times on my blog and whilst I’m not sponsored by them in any way they do operate a refer a friend scheme so if you do choose to buy their tomatoes using one of the links in this post we will both get 10% off!
Wherever you buy your tomatoes from I do recommend trying to get tomatoes that are still on the vine. You’d be amazed at how much of that distinct tomato flavour actually lives in the stem!
There aren’t many aubergine growers in the UK (though The Tomato Stall have recently started selling a few varieties). I’ve tried myself a few time and got quite a low of baby aubergines but never any that got as large as those you see in the supermarket. If, like me, supermarket aubergines are your only option then follow some of these tips for picking a good one!
Aubergines should feel heavy in your hand and be relatively firm. This is a good sign that the flesh inside is still in good condition. If you squeeze it and its soft and mushy it’s overripe.
The skin should be smooth and glossy. Lots of dents or nicks are not a good sign. And any aubergines with visible bruising should be avoided. But it’s not just the look of the skin that matters. The stem should also be nice and green. If it no longer looks fresh, but is drown and dried out then it’s probably been in storage for quite a while.
Last but not least, when it comes to aubergines bigger isn’t always better. The larger they are the more bitter they are likely to be so pick small to medium sized aubergines.
Top tips for roasting
Roasting is a method that super charges flavour. When high heats hit the delicate flesh of tomatoes and aubergines magic happens. They caramelise creating crispy bits of intense flavour and the insides soften and become super sweet. With aubergines the texture is also transformed from spongy to silky smooth.
The tomatoes can simply be roasted in an oven with a good drizzle of olive oil and a healthy amount of salt, pepper and garlic.
The aubergine, however, tastes best if it is roasted over a flame. You can do this by turning your gas hob up high and holding the aubergine directly over the flame with a pair of kitchen tongs. This method isn’t quick. Depending on the size of your aubergine it can take between 15 and 30 minutes before the skin goes black and the flesh has properly softened. But, in my opinion, the only way to get a really smoky flavour in the aubergine is to roast them directly over a flame.
Alternative roasting methods
- If you didn’t want to roast the aubergines over your hob you could also do it on a BBQ. Make sure your grill is nice and close to the coals so that the aubergine can experience high temperatures. I wouldn’t recommend adding them directly to the coals as you don’t want ash in the finished dip.
- To roast aubergines in the oven, simply brush with a little oil and then roast on a foil lined baking tray or oven dish for up to 30 minutes or until the flesh is soft.
- Another method is to use a pressure cooker. You can read more about that technique in my baba ghanoush recipe.
Roasted Tomato and Aubergine Dip
- Pre-heat your oven to 200 C / 400 F / gas mark 6.
- Place the tomatoes and garlic in a roasting tin with 1 tbsp of olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the skins of the tomatoes are blistered and they are bursting. The garlic should also be nice and soft.
- Holding the aubergine with kitchen tongs, turn on your gas hob and keep the aubergine just above the flame. Roast them for 15-20 minutes, rotating them occasionally to ensure all of the skin blackens and the flesh is soft. (Alternatively roast them in the oven along with the tomatoes, please note however the aubergine will take longer).
- Place the roasted tomatoes and aubergines in a bowl and leave them to cool.
- Once they are cool enough to handle, peel the skin off of the aubergine (you can also remove the skins from the tomatoes if you wish).
- Either roughly chop the flesh of the aubergines, tomatoes and the softened garlic or pulse just 2 or 3 times in a blender or food processor.
- Put the aubergine and tomatoes back in the bowl and stir in the lemon juice and remaining oil before seasoning well.
- Serve with a scattering of fresh, chopped coriander
More mezze dishes
This dip is best served as part of a mezze platter. Here are some of my other favourite dishes you might want to serve alongside.
If you do make a mezze feast using this, or any other recipes you’ve found on the blog, do leave a comment! I love to hear from you.