A creamy dreamy dip to serve as a starter on any occasion, this eggplant ricotta dip comes together in less than 30 minutes and delivers a delicious combination of flavours. Soft baked eggplants are mixed together with ricotta, tomato paste and chili oil. Top with roasted shaved almonds for a flavourful and crunchy finish.
Eggplants are so versatile, and baking is my favourite way to prepare them. A good roast in the oven will bring out their flavour at the fullest while also delivering a wonderfully creamy texture.
In this eggplant dip recipe we are cheating to cut on the preparation time. Before finishing off our eggplants in the oven, we pan fry them for a few minutes. This way we can get our eggplant ricotta dip on the table in less than 30 minutes! Find the recipe with step by step instructions and pictures below.
The perfect baked eggplant
My favourite Japanese dish has neither fish nor rice. It’s an eggplant dish. When I visited Australia (and New Zealand) I got the chance to explore many Asian dishes that we just don’t get here in Sweden. One of them was Nasu Dengaku – Japanese miso-glazed eggplant. I loved it from the very first bite. The flavour of the miso glaze was completely novel to me, but what sold me was the perfect texture of the eggplants. Oh, I love eggplants.
As soon as I came back from Australia I’ve been replicating this eggplant recipe at home many times. I swear by the nasu dengaku recipe by Pickled Plum. It is perfect, and I strongly recommend it if you want to make nasu dengaku at home. It is also the recipe that taught me the combination of pan frying and roasting eggplants! A quick way to get the most from both the flavour and the texture of this vegetable. Just what we want in this eggplant ricotta dip recipe!
Loving ethnic cuisine? Try nigvziani badrijani, Georgian eggplant rolls!
What you will need
The ingredients to make this eggplant ricotta dip are:
- Eggplants – we are aiming for 300 g when cooked (2 medium eggplants)
- Vegetable oil – to pan-fry the eggplants
- Tomato paste – double or even triple concentrate
- Chili oil – I discard seeds and chili bits, but it’s your preference if you want to include them
- Ricotta – this is what gives the creamy dreamy factor
- Salt – just to enhance the flavour of this otherwise pretty sweet dish
- Roasted sliced almonds – as a nice finishing touch
The addition of chili oil gives flavour and a kick to a dip that would otherwise be very mild. I am not a huge fan of hot spicy dishes, but a hint of chili marries so wonderfully with the flavours of eggplant and tomato. Basically, you get a very traditional flavour combination from the south of Italy.
If you’re not in for too much of a kick, just add less chili oil. If you want to skip the chili oil altogether you will have a very mild dip. I’d recommend adding a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or a dash of crushed oregano just to give it an accent.
Eggplant ricotta dip step by step
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F) so it gets to the right temperature by the time the eggplants are ready to go in. Cut the eggplants lengthways and score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern.
- Set a skillet on high heat and warm about 2 tbsp of vegetable oil. Place the eggplants in the pan, skin facing down. Cook them for a few minutes, until the skin begins to brown. Flip the eggplants so that now the cut is facing down. Lower the heat to medium-high and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Move the cooked eggplant to an oven tray with the cut facing up (picture above, right). If you can not fit all 4 eggplant halves in the same pan, repeat the same procedure with the second eggplant. Once you have both eggplants on the oven tray, place it in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes at 200°C (390°F).
- Take the eggplants out of the oven and pat them with kitchen paper to absorb any water that may have built up in the flesh. Gently scoop out the flesh from the skin, it should come off very easily. Transfer scooped up eggplant flesh to a bowl and roughly mash it with a fork.
- Stir the chili oil and the tomato paste in a small bowl aside. I prefer to discard chili seeds for a milder flavour, but the choice is yours to keep them if you wish to have a spicier dip.
- Add the tomato paste and chili oil mixture to the mashed eggplants and stir. Next add the ricotta and salt and stir to combine.
- Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and top with roasted sliced almonds. Besides adding a nice finishing touch, almonds pair incredibly well with eggplants!
Related: grilled eggplant bruschetta with mint and cherry tomatoes.
Eggplant ricotta dip serving suggestions
This eggplant dip is a great feature on a starter platter together with grissini, pita or crispbread. I like to dip bread, but this dip is lovely also as a low-carb snack option together with carrots and celery sticks.
When I’m making grazing boards with snacks and dips to enjoy in front of the TV or as finger food paired with cocktails, I like to make several types of dips and have them all in various bowls. Here are some favourites to serve alongside this eggplant ricotta dip:
This dip works very well also as a spread. Try it on warm toasted bread to serve as crostini topping. Alternatively, this eggplant ricotta mixture doubles also as great pasta sauce!
What is your favourite healthy dip? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to pin this eggplant dip recipe for later.
Eggplant ricotta dip
- Mixing bowls
- Cutting board and knife
- Oven tray
- 2 eggplants medium-sized
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp chili oil
- 100 g ricotta cheese
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sliced almonds roasted
- Halve the eggplants lengthways and score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern. Warm up the vegetable oil in a pan on high heat and place the eggplants with the skin facing down. Cook a few minutes, until the skin starts to brown.
- Flip the eggplant halves (careful as they may release water that could make the hot oil splash), cover the pan with a lid and lower the heat to medium-high. Cook covered for 3-4 minutes. When cooked, place the eggplants with the cut facing up on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven at 200°C for 15 minutes.
- Combine tomato paste and chili oil in a bowl.
- When the eggplants are done, pat them with some kitchen paper to absorb any water that may have collected within the flesh and proceed to gently scoop up the cooked flesh separating it from the skin. Add cooked eggplant flesh to a bowl.
- Gently mash the eggplant flesh with a fork, then stir in the tomato paste and chili oil mixture.
- Add the ricotta and salt and stir to combine.
- Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and top with roasted shaved almonds.