When summer comes, I’m all about fresh vegetables and fruits. This Middle Eastern Zucchini Tahini Eggplant Dip is perfect for a party appetizer. Whether it’s a big July 4th celebration or a last minute potluck with a few friends, this dip is sure to please.
It’s great even when you’re not partying. Make a batch and keep it in the fridge for a healthy snack in the late afternoon when the munchies strike.
Zucchini Tahini Eggplant Dip is a variation on an eggplant dish called baba ganoush. My version adds zucchini and uses garlic that is lightly sautéed garlic instead of raw. The result is still flavorful but lighter than the traditional dish.
And if you’re wondering why I gave my dip such a long name, the truth is that I couldn’t resist “zucchini tahini.” I just wish I were musical enough to compose a jingle to go along with it.
In both the traditional baba ganoush and this Zucchini Tahini Eggplant Dip, the vegetables have to be cooked until the insides become mushy and can be chopped into a mixture that resembles oatmeal. You can char eggplant to this point on a direct flame, as I do when I roast red peppers. My mom says that her dad (my Romanian grandfather) used to do this with eggplant, but her memory was that it smelled up their apartment something terrible. I don’t think that roasting method would work with zucchini and it was beastly hot this past weekend. So, instead of using an open gas stovetop flame or heating up the oven, I used the toaster oven (one of my favorite appliances) to roast my zucchini and eggplant. It worked just fine.
Speaking of chopping by hand, you really have to do the parsley that way. The food processor just doesn’t do this job well. Instead it turns parsley into a gooey mess. Hand chopping isn’t difficult; it just takes a bit of patience. First, pull off the stems. Then, grab the leaves and chop them this way and that, moving the handful of leaves around until you have cut them into the tiniest pieces that you can.
Blending the vegetables with the tahini, lemon juice, and lightly sautéed garlic is easy by hand or in a food processor.
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. I’m the host this month and we’re featuring Summer Bounty. Our theme features fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits associated with summer in a menu that we hope you’ll enjoy!
Dill Caprese Bruschetta from Jenni Field’s Pastry Chef Online
Mediterranean Salsa Brushetta from Foodhunter’s Guide
Middle Eastern Zucchini Tahini Eggplant Dip from Mother Would Know
Bruschetta Pizza from The Redheaded Baker
Zucchini, Summer Squash, and Tomato Tart from The Wimpy Vegetarian
Blueberry White Chocolate Tart from Stetted
Mile High Strawberry Pie from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Pretty as a Peach Shortbread (gluten-free) from The Heritage Cook
Blueberry Lavender Shrub Syrup from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Lavender Lemonade Martini from Creative Culinary
Middle Eastern Zucchini Tahini Eggplant Dip
- 1 zucchini medium - large
- 1 eggplant medium - large
- 1/3 cup tahini i.e. ground sesame seeds
- 1/4 + 1 tablespoon cup tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 - 2 cloves garlicof galic mashed or finely diced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley finely diced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt kosher or sea salt
- 1 - 1 pinches cayenne pepper optional
Preheat the oven (or a toaster oven) to 450 F. Lightly oil the zucchini and eggplant and place them, whole, directly on a baking sheet. Bake 30-45 minutes until the skins begin to blacken and buckle and the insides feel soft. Set them aside to cool.
While the zucchini and eggplant are cooking, heat the olive oil in a small pan and add the mashed or finely diced garlic. Lightly sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds, stirring frequently. When it is just beginning to turn golden, add the garlic to the tahini, along with the lemon juice. Blend those ingredients and set them aside.
Once the zucchini and eggplant are cool enough to handle, scoop out their insides and discard the skins. Chop the (squishy) insides in a wooden bowl with a rounded chopper or use a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the parsley and mix thoroughly.
Add the tahini, garlic and lemon juice mixture to the zucchini, eggplant, and parsley mixture.
Blend in the cumin, salt, and optional cayenne pepper. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 1 hour to give it time to cool down and for the flavors to meld.
I'm not a fan of raw garlic. If you're OK with the taste, you can skip the sauté step and just add the garlic to the tahini without the oil.