The eggplant and chiles in this Middle-Eastern spread can be roasted in the oven, or grilled outside. To keep the recipe dairy-free/vegan, use more tahini and/or olive oil in place of the yogurt.

INGREDIENTS

2 eggplants (about 2 lbs total)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste), more to taste
2 Tbsp plain whole-milk or Greek yogurt
2 – 3 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and black pepper
1 – 2 tsp Aleppo pepper, or Hungarian Hot or Smoked Sweet Paprika
1 – 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh parsley, minced, for garnish

STEPS

Turn on oven to broiler setting, or prepare grill for use at medium-high heat. Poke each eggplant 5-6 times with a fork. Put eggplants in a foil-lined roasting pan, or on the grill. Broil or grill, turning the eggplants a couple times, until the eggplants are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Cut off the stem-ends of the eggplants, and then halve the eggplants lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp from inside the skin of the eggplant, and transfer to a colander. Let any residual liquid drain out, about 5 min. Coarsely chop the drained eggplant pulp; this should yield about 2 cups.

Transfer eggplant pulp to a bowl, and mix in the minced garlic.

In another bowl, combine tahini, yogurt (if used), and lemon juice to make a smooth paste. Add this mixture to eggplant and garlic mixture; add salt, pepper, and Aleppo Pepper (or paprika or cayenne) to taste. (For extra zing, you can also add roasted, diced hot peppers such as Poblano or jalapeno.) If spread is too chunky for your taste, blend in a food processor or blender briefly, adding olive oil as needed, until desired consistency is achieved.

Drizzle top of spread with olive oil and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Can be made up to several days ahead.

Garnish with minced fresh parsley. Serve with pita or other flatbread, and/or with raw or lightly steamed vegetables. Also makes a great spread for bagels.

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