Eggplant Caviar


Terrific smoky eggplant caviar dip! Perfect to spread over crackers for an easy, healthy, delicious appetizer.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Please forgive the exalted name of this simple dish. Like its black-eyed pea cousin Texas caviar, “eggplant caviar” has nothing to do with salty sturgeon eggs.

It is so named I suppose for several reasons. You place a dollop of it on a cracker to eat, it has somewhat of a tiny bumpy texture, and the taste is exquisite. It’s not remotely fancy, but one can pretend, right?

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Eggplant Caviar

My friend Kathi brought this eggplant caviar to a dinner I hosted this summer and if not for the fact that there were several people to be served, I could easily have eaten the whole batch. (I got my wish the following week when we made another batch together. Amen for recipe testing.)

It’s paleo. It’s vegan. It’s amazing.

It looks like baba ganoush, but without the sesame tahini. Just roasted eggplant, roasted red bell pepper, garlic, basil, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.

Eggplant Caviar Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 2 to 3 cups of dip


  • 2 medium globe eggplants (about 2 pounds or 900 g total)
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1 Roast (or grill) the eggplants: Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). (Alternatively you can grill the eggplant, in which case, prepare the grill for medium high direct heat.)

Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. Score the cut side of the eggplants in a crosshatch pattern with a sharp knife, in lines about an inch apart. Poke the skin sides of the eggplants with the tines of a fork all over.

Line a sheet pan with foil. Spread 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the bottom of the sheet pan, and sprinkle evenly with salt. Place the eggplants cut side down on the foil lined pan. Place in oven and cook for 35 minutes, or until completely cooked through and very soft.

If grilling, cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, and poke the skin sides with the tines of a fork. Brush the cut side with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill cut side down until lightly browned and cooked all the way through. If the eggplants brown too quickly, turn them over and finish the cooking on the skin side.

Once the eggplants have cooled to the touch, peel off the tough outer skin and discard.

2 Roast the red bell pepper: While the eggplant is roasting in step 1, roast the red bell pepper. There are three ways in which you can do this. Coat the bell pepper lightly with olive oil first.

You can put the bell pepper under a broiler in a broiler pan and broil on all sides until the skin is completely blackened. OR you can place the bell pepper directly on the grates of a gas stove and roast over the open flame, until blackened on all sides. OR you can grill on high direct heat, turning, until blackened on all sides.

Once blackened, place the bell pepper in a bowl and cover with a plate to steam for several minutes. Once the bell pepper has cooled to the touch, peel off the charred outer skin. Remove the stem and seeds.

3 Purée garlic, roasted eggplant and bell pepper: Place garlic, peeled eggplant, peeled roasted bell pepper in a food processor and pulse until smooth.

4 Mix with oil, vinegar, salt, basil, pepper: Transfer the eggplant mixture from the food processor into a large bowl. Whisk in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, minced basil, and pepper.

Serve with crackers, pita chips, crostini toasts, or for gluten-free option celery or cucumber sticks.

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Eggplant Caviar (Caviar d'Aubergine) from David Lebovitz

Russian Eggplant Caviar from Sassy Radish

Eggplant Caviar

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

23 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Adam Hertz

    Great recipe! I had two red peppers, so I decided to use them both.



    I want to perserve my Japanese eggplants from the summer harvest. Can this be canned or frozen? I would like to make several batches to have on hand later in the year…

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  3. Lourdes Bada

    How long will it keep in the refrigerator? We have company this weekend and would like to make ahead.

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  4. Jpp

    I thought the raw garlic taste really overwhelmed this dish. If I ever make it again, I will be sure to roast the garl ic.


  5. Jaqueline

    What can I substitute the red pepper for? Thanks :)

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