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Roasted Eggplant Spread

Party season is upon us. It’s that time of year when you’re asked to contribute a dish to a festive pot luck, or perhaps you’re the one providing the whole spread. One thing I love and that’s always a hit at parties are warm gooey dips. You know, the cheesy spinach artichoke kind (sounds deceivingly good for you), or the chicken wing dip (which doesn’t sound good for you in the slightest). I often can’t stop once I’ve started with those. But, I can’t tell you how many times people have tasted this Eggplant dip I bring to parties and have been pleasantly surprised by their satisfaction from the flavor, especially knowing it is void of fattening products. It really does stand up against the others. You won’t feel like you’re missing out, and you’ll be fueling your body at the same time. As Ina says in her Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, “This is not only good, it’s good for you.” It is the perfect alternative to the dips that are hard to say no to, but leave you feeling bloated and severely clog your arteries. Serve with whole wheat pita chips, or if you want to go completely guilt free, serve with raw veggies for dipping. So, wow your health conscious friends (and, really any friends) with Ina’s dip, or do as I do and keep it all to yourself for lunch or dinner at home. I will often skip the processing step and enjoy these roasted veggies right out of the oven. Sometimes I can’t even wait until they are off the pan!

1 medium eggplant, peeled
2 red bell peppers, seeded
1 red onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp good olive oil
1  1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp tomato paste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplant, bell pepper and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread them onto a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking. Cool slightly. Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Taste for salt and pepper.

(Original recipe found here:http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-eggplant-spread-recipe.html )

*Food Pictures by: Rebecca O’hara Photography

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