Roasted Eggplant Artichoke and White Bean Dip

creamy dip

If you’re looking for an easy and delicious appetizer or snack to serve up this summer, I have just the thing! My roasted eggplant, artichoke and white bean dip.

This wonderful dip is like an Italian version of hummus.

It’s full of flavor and quite healthy and comes together quickly using canned cannellini beans and a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, with no tahini required! ( I never was a fan).

 

pricked eggplant

The only cooking you’ll be doing is roasting your eggplant, this can be done a day ahead of time, just pierce the skin and roast it whole.

roasted eggplant

The eggplant will eventually collapse and become soft, when it cools down you’ll be able to slice and scoop out the nice creamy flesh inside, which is a key component in your dip along with the artichoke hearts, white beans.

dip

Perfect for entertaining with a beverage of your choice. Serve it swiped on crusty bread, crackers or even veggies.

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Roasted Eggplant Artichoke and White Bean Dip
 
An easy to make summer dip, snack or appetizer!
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Ingredients
  • 2 medium/ small eggplant left whole, roasted with flesh scooped out
  • 1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 can of cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 or 2 small garlic cloves
  • small handful each of basil and parsley
  • ¼ cup olive oil, extra for top garnish
  • lemon zest
  • a small pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Small jar of roasted red peppers drained, which you will use for garnish only
  • TO GARNISH THE TOP
  • a few olives
  • a swipe of roasted red pepper paste easily made by draining a jar of roasted red peppers and swirling them in a food processor into a thick consistency.
  • olive oil
  • extra chopped herbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  3. Poke fork holes all around the whole eggplant skin, then roast until eggplant is soft and collapsed.
  4. Let the eggplant cool down and then scoop out the flesh.
  5. In a food processor add the artichoke hearts, the beans, the eggplant pulp, olive oil, basil, parsley, garlic cloves, lemon zest and pulse slowly to desired consistency. ( I like to see some of the artichoke bits). Taste for salt and pepper.
  6. Place dip into a serving bowl and make a swirl on top with a small spoon, drizzle in some olive oil into the swirl, add the red color of the roasted red pepper.
  7. Sprinkle with herbs.
  8. Serve with toasted bread, crackers or veggies

 

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Roasted Pepper Salad with Castelvetrano Olives

roasted peppers

You’re in for a real treat when you make this smoky flamed roasted pepper salad. It tastes nothing like the peppers that you can buy in a jar, not in the least!

The salad is sweet as well as smoky with just a few ingredients such as garlic, olive oil and herbs, and it’s perfectly accompanied by buttery, mild and lightly brined Castelvetrano olives.   Aaah… Have you ever tried them? Even olive haters are won over by their incredible taste.

blistering peppers

To start out making this you have to prepare the peppers. The skin has to be removed by charring all the sides and it can be done a few different ways.

Blistering the skin takes a little time and you don’t want to hurry the process.

You can use a grill pan inside, a grill outside or you can even place them directly onto the burner of your gas stove while the flame is going.

broiler blistering peppers

Another way which is pretty easy, especially if you’re making quite a few is to stick them onto a foil lined baking sheet and place the pan right under the broiler. Any of the methods you chose you have to be watchful with constant turning making sure all sides of the peppers are blistering.

You’ll know when they’re done, they’ll feel tender to the touch with charring all around.

covered peppers

Then you’re going to place them into a bowl putting plastic wrap over the top so they can steam a bit while they’re still hot, maybe 15 minutes.

seeding peppers

When they cool down the outer skin will peel right off, if you need a little help grab hold with a paper towel. You’ll be left with the meat of the pepper.

Open up the pepper and scrape out the seeds, you might have a few lingering but that’s ok. Now all you have to do is cut them into slices.

peppers and olives

Now here’s the easy part. Grab a bowl, add the sliced peppers and start adding in the rest of your ingredients.

roasted pepper salad

For six peppers I added roughly a third cup of olive oil, 4 finely chopped garlic cloves, a good handful of chopped parsley, ( you could add basil too)  salt and pepper to taste and a generous amount of Castelvetrano olives. Some people add in capers, pine nuts, garbanzo beans.

I say add what you like but I’m more of a purist and want those olives to shine through all the way.

Keep in mind the flavor just enhances the more it sits and marinates all together. So as the saying goes, the more it sits the better it gets!

 

roasted pepper crostini

Grab a platter and serve up this beautiful, colorful pepper salad as a side to anything you put on the grill, or simply served as a crostini on some crusty bread.

Simplicity at it’s best!

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Memorial Day Weekend Grilling Ideas

veggie kabobs

It’s time to bust out your grills, Memorial Day weekend is around the corner and it’s the start of warm weather and enjoying the outside, and quite frankly I’m tired of comfort foods I’m ready for some serious grilling!

Honesty this post could go on for days because there are so many meals you can make on the grill. Pizza is always fun and so is paella and who doesn’t love a good old clambake on the grill!

Today I’m going to focus on a few of my good old standbys, ones that I make throughout the summer. Starting out with rainbow colored veggie kabobs.

Just skewer your favorite veggies together, I love adding chunks of portobello mushrooms on mine. I usually use wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for a couple of hours so as not to burn, if you have metal skewers, even better.

grilled kabob

I usually do a simple olive oil, salt and pepper that’s brushed all over mine I like the individual veggie flavors to really shine through. I have a basil infused olive oil that I sometimes drizzle over them at the end when plated, simple and delicious!

meat kabob

To go along with the veggie kabobs you might as well do some meat ones. I usually do sirloin steak and chicken breast sprinkled with dry herbs and olive oil of course. I have a Greek seasoning that I love to use but I’ve also done some wet marinades as well, like teriyaki.

That’s the fun part just make them the way you want.

grilled meat kabob

You really don’t use a lot of meat when making kabobs because there’s always some type of veggie stuck in between, so they’re very economical to make and great for a party. Yes, they’re a little time consuming to put together, but all that can be done a day ahead.

kabobs

They’re so pretty on a platter and everyone seems to love them, make a couple of sides and you’re good to go.

planked salmon

I love doing fish on the grill, in fact I prefer it. I often make a cedar planked piece of  gorgeous salmon. Again I’m mostly a dry rub girl, the one I used here had a mix of brown sugar, onion, garlic, paprika, cilantro, smoked salt, chipotle and some other spices, but again make it your own, just be sure to soak your planks for a couple of hours so they don’t burn up on the grill.

I’ve even done a whole sheet pan full of cod with tomatoes, olives, lemons, capers and other spices out on the grill which is super simple to do with amazing flavor.

grilled shrimp

Grilled shrimp always a favorite, for this I make a simple marinade of olive oil, fresh chopped garlic, lemon zest, salt, pepper and fresh chopped parsley. Large shrimp is best to use so that you can put them directly onto the grill grates to get all that good charred flavor.

grilled shrimp

Served with lemon slices these shrimp on the barbie always disappear!

grilled meats

Steaks, ribs, burgers and grilled chicken are all front runners in the grilling department.

sausage and peppers

In my family you can count on Italian sausage on the grill always making a reoccurring appearance, tossed with peppers of course.

grilled veggie tray

If you don’t want to skewer your veggies just grill up a whole bunch of your favorite and arrange them on a platter, a healthy and delicious side to any of your grilled meats or fish.

pasta salad

Throw in a good pasta salad or two, this one has a mix of artichoke hearts, garbanzo beans, olives, tomatoes, red peppers, cucumber, red onion, spinach and feta.

pasta caprese salad

Or do this simple caprese pasta salad. Chop up your tomatoes and let them sit with olive oil and garlic til the juices run out and mingle together, then toss into your cooked pasta and add fresh chopped mozzarella with fresh basil.

potato salad

If you prefer a potato salad, here’s one I posted made with fingerling potatoes and a honey, lemon and Dijon vinaigrette.

Most of us will be homebound this summer so we might as well make the best of it, enjoying our outdoor spaces, nice weather along with good food and drink!

Happy grilling!

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