Roasted Eggplant Spread

Recently on a Trader Joe’s shopping day I picked up a beautiful eggplant for under $2. A recipe from Ina Garten for a roasted eggplant spread intrigued me so I got busy in the kitchen. This recipe contains all things that equal deliciousness – is that a real word?  Roasted red bell peppers, red onion, garlic cloves, olive oil, said eggplant and just a smattering of tomato paste.

OMG! This recipe exceeded my expectations. I could have sat and eaten the entire bowl of spread all by myself. I kid you not – it’s that amazing.

It’s one of those foods that doesn’t photograph well, but don’t let that stop you from making it. Serve it as an appetizer with whole grain crackers, pita bread, endive or a baguette. Spread it on a sandwich or a wrap. Top a cooked chicken breast or a piece of white fish with a generous spoonful. Stir some into a half cup of black beans or garbanzo beans and serve over rice. It’s healthy, low calorie and bursting with flavor.

Since you are using just one tablespoon of tomato paste what do you do with the rest of that can? Here is my kitchen tip – cover a plate with plastic wrap, measure out tablespoons of tomato paste onto the plastic. Put in freezer until frozen, place each frozen tomato paste blob (that’s a technical term you know) into a freezer bag. The next time you need a little tomato paste just pull it out of the freezer bag. No waste! I tried that tomato paste that comes in a tube and I found it to be kind of strange – watery and I happen to prefer the stuff that comes in a can.  Call me old fashioned – that’s okay. 🙂

Roasted Eggplant Spread

  •  1 eggplant – medium size
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded
  • 1 red onion, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbs olive oil – garlic olive oil would also be good
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt – I didn’t use this much salt, maybe 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. I didn’t peel the eggplant. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking.

3. Cool slightly.

4. 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.

Yield: 8 servings

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1/8 of a recipe

Amount Per Serving; Calories 78.09,Total Fat 5.32g, Saturated Fat 0.74g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 371.93mg, Potassium 233.79mg, Total Carbohydrates 7.35g, Fiber 3.09g, Sugar 3.13g, Protein 1.24g  WWPP 2

Tami’s Notes: I think this could be made with less olive oil and still taste amazing.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Nutmeg Notes

Getting Ready For Surgery

Last week I had my annual physical, EKG and blood work results. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to use any body lotion prior to having an EKG – the little sticky things didn’t want to stick so the nurse had to tape everything down. OOPS! We both had a good laugh about it and the results of the test were awesome. My ticker is working just fine thank you. 🙂

Bad LDL 

I wish I could say the same for my blood cholesterol. Despite my healthy diet and all the things I have done to try and keep the LDL down (or in my wishful thinking ways – go lower) it has risen yet again! We talked about statin drugs but I don’t want to go there yet. My doctor agreed to give me some more time to get it down naturally. We are hoping that after my foot surgery when I can resume daily exercise that it will help to lower my numbers. There are still some dietary adjustments I can make and I am currently doing research on that. Increasing the Omega 3 foods and taking Omega 3 supplements on a regular basis might also help counter my genetics. Taking supplements is a hit and miss for me – I’m not fond of taking pills and I will do well for a a few weeks and then drop off for no real reason. This is a work in progress. My little weekly pill box is filled – now I just have to remember to take them. Did you know there is a smart phone app for that? RxmindMe Prescription/Medicine Reminder and it’s free.

One For The Road

Before I left the doctor office I got a flu shot. I don’t usually get one but he suggested that I do with my surgery coming up, going to a hospital, being around sick people – okay – I’m in. The nurse said she gets a flu shot every year and she never gets the flu. I know a lot of people get a sore arm from the flu shot but I didn’t have side affects.

Random Thoughts

Last night for dinner we had an old fashioned Sunday dinner with an oven roasted organic chicken (we brined it first), oven roasted acorn squash,sweet potatoes and a huge salad of baby greens. Lots of leftovers for today so no cooking at my house. Hubby Tom was a big help in the kitchen as my foot was killing me last night. It had been feeling pretty good so I decided to go for a 3 mile walk yesterday and that was a mistake. I’m taking it easy today as it’s still quite painful and swollen. Sometimes I can go for a walk and have no increase in pain – it’s so random.

Whole Foods had Diestel turkeys on sale for 40% off on Saturday morning so I headed over there early to get one. People were putting three and four of them in their shopping carts! They are range grown turkeys from a California farm. We have never had this brand before but are looking forward to trying it on Thanksgiving day.

We are having a little burst of warm weather here. I love it – the sunshine always makes me happy! Did you all remember to set your clocks back on Saturday? I hate that its dark at dinner time now. It makes for awful food photography and makes me feel like we should be getting ready for bed instead of eating dinner. Over the weekend we saw the movie Perfect Pitch, it was cute – light hearted and you felt good at the end of it. I love a happy ending.


Join the fun – leave a comment.

Do you get a flu shot?

Do you like eggplant?


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  1. Helen says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever made an Ina Garten recipe that wasn’t absolutely delicious – I’m on track to own all of her cookbooks lol!

    I have been sooooooo tempted to try a walk or light jog this week and that’s after doing my pre-test on Saturday sans boot and feeling a bit of ache by the end. So I know I’m not completely healed up but I think my foot just feels so much better that my brain, which is screaming for endorphins is playing the devil’s advocate and trying to get me to try just a little something. I go back to the doctor on Friday and it’ can’t come soon enough.

    My job brings a flu clinic right to the office and the shots are free to us so I get one every year.

    1. Tami says:

      I know its tempting to resume your running Helen but don’t do it until the doc says you can! You are so close to being healed and back to normal. 🙂 I hear you about he brain screaming for endorphins – that’s why I went for a walk Sunday.

      I hope you get good news at your Dr appt Friday. 🙂 I’m praying for you!

  2. Tish says:

    Hey Tami! That eggplant spread looks deelish! And thanks for the tip about the tomato paste–I’d never seen that suggestion before, but I almost never need a whole can of TP, just a tablespoon or two, so this is a good oone for me.

    So sorry your foot is hurting you. Hope the surgery comes up quickly and does the job so you can get back to your normal active lifestyle.

    I have high LDL’s too. My HDL are super high, but the LDL’s put me in the wrong bracket. My parents, both normal weight and quite active had high LDLs too. I am still trying to reduce them to an acceptable level, but my doctor suggested that I control it with statin drugs in the mean while. I’ve been taking them for a year, lost 40 pounds, exercise a lot and my LDL’s went UP at my recent test. [the doc told me to stop taking the statins a month or so before my app’t to get a good reading]. Looks like I’m on them for good. Fortunately no side effects.

    1. Tami says:

      Hi Tish,

      I got tired of tossing the rest of the un-used can of tomato paste so one day I just decided to try and freeze it. Works like a charm.

      Thanks for the well wishes. Surgery is scheduled for the first week of December. It was the earliest they could get me in.

      You are like me, I have great high HDL and it does help counter the high LDL but I am now in the high range for LDL even though I eat so healthy and have a low cholesterol diet. It’s genetics at play. Good to know you don’t have any side affects from the statin drugs, I am concerned about that.

      Congrats on that weight loss! Wow, 40 pounds – isn’t that amazing?

  3. Karen@WaistingTime says:

    I am on cholesterol medication, have been for years, thanks to familial high cholesterol. But in the past year, even with meds, my LDL was above what my doctor liked to see. This summer however it was the lowest it had been in ages! Some of the things I was eating more of that might have helped – flax meal, chia seed, and Smart Balance Spread.

    I think you are very smart to try everything you can to lower it naturally.

    1. Tami says:

      Hi Karen – long time since I have heard from you. I often think of you and wonder how you are doing. Are you still working?

      Thank you for the feedback about what worked for you to lower your cholesterol. I have the flax meal and chia seeds just need to use them daily instead of once in a while like I have been. The Smart Balance spread is on my grocery list -not sure how I will use it as I don’t usually use a butter type spread but I know I have to change things up.

      It was so nice to see your comment. Hope all is well with you and your family. I miss your blog. 🙂

  4. Jody - Fit at 54 says:

    Tami – glad you are healthy!!! I have always had higher total cholesterol but my good was so good that t made all else fine.. even as good as I eat… sometimes it is just our bod – UGH!

    Your poor foot!!!!! I can’t wait till you can be all better – I know – you too! 🙂

    No flu shot here. I rarely get sick & I know others that end up getting the flu from the shot so…

    Warm here too!

    1. Tami says:

      Hi Jody! Yep its all about the gene pool! I shall let you know if the flu shot helps or hurts me this season. 🙂

      It was so nice outside that I sat out on the patio for awhile this afternoon – soaking up that Vitamin D.

  5. Sharon says:

    With an already compromised immune system from active Rheumatoid Disease, getting a flu shot is a no-brainer. I get one faithfully every year. I have never had the flu.

    Yes, I also like eggplant although more in a recipe than just on its own.

    1. Tami says:

      Awesome to know that the flu shot works for you Sharon! 🙂 I agree that eggplant is better when combined with other ingredients – its rather bland on its own.

  6. Lori says:

    I have never had eggplant, can you believe that? I also never get a flu shot. I did once a few years ago during that H1N1 scare, but I so rarely get sick. Once a year at the most.

    The cholesterol thing. I have a lot of different thoughts on the LDL. Too many doctors rush the statins. If your HDL and triglicerides are good, I would not be taking a statin just to get the LDL down. Of course, this is totally my opinion.

    Here is an interesting blog of a researcher who devotes most of his studies to cholesterol. It’s interesting reading. http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/

    1. Tami says:

      My HDL is also high which does help with the overall look of things and my Triglicerides are really low so I think I can get a handle on this with a few tweaks of the diet and regular exercise once my foot is fixed. Well once it’s done healing I should say. I know the road back to regular calorie burning exercise is a ways off but I am looking forward to it. Thanks for the link I will read it. 🙂

  7. Jenn @ Cooking Aweigh the Pounds says:

    I love the tube of tomato paste for the convenience factor, but you are right about it’s consistency. No matter how tightly I put on the cap, some sort of strange sticky liquid eventually leaks out into my fridge storage bin. It’s icky, but I’ll live with it.

    I insist that everyone in the family gets the flu shot every single year. My daughter even got the flu mist this year (she’s terrified of shots) and no one ever has any issues.

    BTW…we are enjoying a huge pot of your Melt In Your Mouth Sausages! I mixed in tons of veggies, pasta, and cheese and the boysscarf it down happily. It’s a big hit around here!

    1. Tami says:

      Hi Jen. I didn’t even know there was a flu mist! So glad to know you like the Melt in your mouth sausages. I haven’t made those in ages – son David is fond of those as well. Love the idea of adding tons of veggies. Yum.

  8. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    I have the opposite cholesterol problem–my HDL numbers are generally too low. I go for my physical on Wednesday, and I’m hopeful they’re up a little this year.

    I haven’t decided on the flu shot this year. A lot will depend on whether it’s covered by insurance and also on how much of the upcoming doctor’s visit isn’t covered by insurance. LOL Fortunately, I don’t get sick that often. I’m hoping it’s a trend that continues. 🙂

    1. Tami says:

      I hope your numbers have improved Cammy! I know around here flu shots are available at Sam’s Club, Costco and lots of drug stores. Our doctor office holds flu shot clinics so you can stop by just for the shot and not have to pay for an office visit. Health care is so expensive!

  9. Veronica says:

    When I saw the title, I expected baba ghanoush but what a pleasant surprise! I pinned this, it’s something I definitely want to try. I LOVE dips and usually will replace a meal with them when I make them so it would be nice to have one that is actually healthy so my meal would still be healthy-lol! I think I want to try to make this for our family’s Christmas party too. It does look festive to me!

    I bet you’ll be so glad once your foot is truly on the mend! That must be so frustrating. I’m sorry to hear about your cholesterol, it’s so surprising when someone who lives a healthy lifestyle has trouble with it. I hope you can handle it naturally. And I’m not loving the early sunsets either-I had to rush today to get a photo of dinner and barely had enough light! booo

    1. Tami says:

      Veronica I hope you like this dip! I could eat the entire bowl all by myself as a meal! Genetics play a big role in my chol levels! My doctor said to just imagine what my numbers would be like if I didn’t already make so many healthy choices. Hope you are having a good week!

  10. Reen says:

    I am off to buy an eggplant! I grew them in the garden this year and had great success. Wish this recipe had come along sooner. I can just imagine it smeared over a piece of crusty italian bread. Yum!

    1. Tami says:

      Hi Reen! This dp would be so good on some crusty bread! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

  11. Dr. J says:

    Never have gotten the flu shot! They did make it mandatory at my hospital this yeart, but do give exceptions for refusal.

    You might try eliminating any added oils to your food. I really wish you would do this to see if it helps.

    I do not believe in adding things to get lower numbers for the most part as long as your fiber is enough. I think I just read that taking fish oil does NOT help with LDL. You will have to look that up if you want.

    1. Tami says:

      No added oils!!! I hardly use any as it is and when I do it’s olive oil. I eat tons of veggies and when I do have grains I go for the whole grains, sprouted bread, rarely have pasta and when I do it’s whole grain, brown rice and so on. I will have to read about the fish oil – just when I thought I had some good things in place!

  12. laura meador says:

    Oh My! Made the eggplant spread today and it was wonderful! I had to add a little salt but probably did not add enough during prep. It is so flavorful that I think you could leave out the oil all together and not miss it a bit…..Yum thanks for posting!

    1. Tami says:

      Glad you enjoyed the eggplant spread! It’s a keeper. 🙂

  13. mia says:

    Hi Tami!

    I just discovered your blog and love it.

    This dip looks absolutely delish. How big is the serving size/how many cups of spread does the recipe make?

    1. Tami says:

      Hi Mia and welcome to Nutmeg Notebook.

      The yield for the eggplant spread will vary depending on the size of eggplant, peppers and onion that is used. Since the recipe doesn’t specify specific measurements for the vegetables everything is just a good guess really. Having said all that I got about 2 cups of spread so my servings were about 1/4 cup. Remember that the yield will vary depending on the size of your vegetables. When you make the spread just measure your finished product and divide it by the number of servings you want. I hope this information is helpful.

      Happy cooking!


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