Eggplant Walnut Dip is a heart healthy dip that is inspired by a traditional Georgian Eggplant and Walnut dish.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about heart disease, the #1 killer of women, including how to best prevent heart disease, what a heart healthy diet looks like, and what makes nuts heart healthy. In that post, I shared a recipe for Georgian Spinach Walnut Balls, inspired by a feast on the eve of the Georgian New Year. This month, I’ve been adding walnuts to lots of dishes, including Braised Pomegranate Chicken with Walnuts, Dark Chocolate Walnut Pomegranate Clusters, and the Eggplant Walnut Dip recipe that I am sharing today.
Walnuts happen to be one of the healthiest nuts around. Take a look:
- Walnuts are heart healthy, helping to lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation. Reducing inflammation can help decrease the progress of arteriosclerosis, the development and build-up of plaque in the arteries.
- Walnuts contain more ALA omega-3 fatty acids than any other nut, which help reduce the potential for heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and clinical depression.
- Walnuts contain a high level of an unusual form of vitamin E (gamma-tocopherol) that has far more powerful anti-inflammatory actions than the alpha form.
The night of our Georgian feast, we dined on all sorts of dishes made with walnuts, including an appetizer simply called Eggplant with Walnut, which was pan-fried eggplant, stuffed with a mixture of ground walnuts and spices, and rolled up.
I wanted to try recreating this dish at home, but didn’t want to be bothered frying the eggplant, plus I wanted to make a healthier version if possible. I thought about baking the eggplant, but in the end made this Eggplant Walnut Dip with the spices and herbs that are used in the traditional Georgian eggplant and walnut dish.
I came across a post on Everyday Maven (which she actually found at Clean Green Simple) that had an interesting method for roasting eggplant on the stove. I was fascinated by the way the eggplant was charred over the gas stove, then put into a pot to finish cooking. Perfect for getting that smokiness of roasted eggplant without turning on the oven. I had bought mini eggplants from the Indian store, so they did not sit too easily on my gas burner. In fact, they fell into the crevices of the burner a few times and I had to rescue them from the flames. My boys thought I might set the house on fire. Next time, I will try using longer eggplant, perhaps Japanese eggplant.
This Eggplant Walnut Dip can be served with carrot sticks, celery sticks, toast, or sturdy crackers.
Disclosure: I was provided with samples of Nuts.com products for writing this post. However the opinions expressed in this post are my own.
For more heart healthy recipes, check out my Heart Healthy Recipes Pinterest board.
Eggplant and Walnut Dip
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 onion
- 6 small eggplant or one regular eggplant or 2-3 Japanese eggplant
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 in strands saffron soaked a few teaspoons of water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander toasted in a dry pan until fragrant
- 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon tarragon vinegar or wine vinegar
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro minced
Heat olive oil in a small saucepan. Saute onions over medium low heat until browned around the edges.
Trim tops of eggplant. Cook eggplant over gas burner until all sides are browned, using tongs to turn the eggplant. Place in a cast iron pan and cover with a lid. Cook on medium heat until tender, about 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the eggplant. Remove to a plate and let cool. Cut eggplant open and scrape out inside flesh. Place in food processor bowl.
Add walnuts, garlic, saffron, coriander, fenugreek, cayenne pepper, vinegar and salt to eggplant. Process until smooth.
Stir in sauteed onions and cilantro.
Sources/Information on Nuts and Heart Health:
Nuts and your health: Eating nuts for heart health, Mayo Clinic
Eating nuts promotes cardiovascular heart, Harvard Health Publications
Nuts! Heart Healthy Tips, University of Massachusets Medical School
Walnuts May Be Top Nut For Heart Health, WebMd.com
Why You Should Go Nuts For Nuts, Everyday Health
Nuts for Heart Healthy Diet, Smart Heart Living
What Are The Best Heart Healthy Nuts, Healthy Heart Meditation
6 Snack Combos with Heart Healthy Nuts, Health.com
Going Nuts: Georgetown’s Thomas Sherman on Heart-Healthy Nuts, Washingtonian
Walnuts Are Top Nut For Heart-Healthy Antioxidants, Science Daily
If You Are Nuts About Health Try The Top 6 Healthiest Nuts, SixWise.com
Georgian Eggplant Walnut Recipes:
Eggplant and Walnut, Besiki Sisauri’s Web Site
Georgian Eggplant with Walnuts, MyRecipes.com
Georgian Eggplant with Walnut, Cook Eat Share
Walnut Stuffed Eggplant Rolls, Food Perestroika