It’s picnic season here in the UK so we’ve been busy cooking up dips, spreads and other forms of transportable deliciousness. This Vegan Aubergine and Roasted Red Onion Dip fits the bill perfectly; we had this along with several other treats for post-race refuelling after the Castle Howard 10k recently. Worth the run for the picnic after!
This is easy to make, tasty as anything and more sophisticated than your average dippy-spready thing (technical term). It’s also full flavour but low calorie, rich in anti-oxidants and high in soluble fibre. Yippee – picnic on, people! This isn’t picnic-specific though. It’s also great as party food – a dip that holds together well so your guests don’t get sticky fingers when they dip their tortillas or crackers in it. You’ll need a blender (I used my fantastic Froothie blender) or a stick blender to mush it all together. Or I guess you could do it a big fork and a lot of patience…
We served this and all the other dips on our picnic table with Paprika Pittas, as invented by our friend Mike Wallis – he’s our Twitter pal really but, hey, it’s the 21st century. We could have a debate about what constitutes a ‘real’ friend but we probably won’t. Suffice to say that Mike invented Paprika Pittas and you’ll want him for your friend too when you’ve tried them. These will change your pitta-eating practice forever. Guaranteed. They’re good hot or cold so great with soup and on picnics too.
- 2 aubergines
- 1 medium red onion
- 4-6 cloves garlic (you decide!)
- Half a teaspoon smoked paprika
- Handful parsley, chopped
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 210C / 200 Fan / Gas 6 / 400F.
- Slice the aubergines in half lengthways and rub the cut sides with olive oil. Place skin-side down on a baking sheet. Cook for 15-20 minutes until they can be pierced easily with a knife and the cut sides start to turn brown.
- While the aubergines are cooking, chop the onion and press the garlic cloves with the flat of a knife, leaving the skin on. Please the onion and garlic on a baking sheet and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the onion starts to brown.
- Place the aubergines, onion, smoked paprika and most of the parsley in a food processor (or a large bowl if you're using a stick blender). Squeeze in the cooked flesh from the garlic cloves too (discard the skins).
- Pulse the aubergine mix until blended but keep some texture.
- Serve drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with chopped parsley.
6 pittas (white or wholemeal)
Smoked paprika (or ordinary paprika will do)
1 Preheat oven to 210C / 200 Fan / Gas 6 / 400F
2 Place the pittas on a baking tray.
3 Brush with olive oil.
4 Sprinkle liberally with paprika.
5 Cook for 15 minutes or so – until they’re starting to get crispy.
6 Cut into wedge shapes and serve.