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Aubergine and Red Pepper Dip

I have always preferred aubergine dips to chickpea, although when hummus is homemade it can be utterly delicious, but the advent of tubs of hummus in every supermarket in all their chalky permutations (and dodgy additives) has made hummus a bit of a 'meh' dish for me. I always made mine from scratch, but on my return to the UK stopped making it because it was everywhere.

Not so this gorgeous aubergine dip, based on the Lebanese dish Baba Ghannouj, the addition of roasted and peeled red pepper is delicious. Don't use the pointy Ramiro peppers because once roasted and skinned, the flesh disappears to almost nothing. Use good old Dutch hothouse bell peppers found in every supermarket.

But be sure to use organic peppers, as this is one of those vegetables on the Dirty Dozen List of contaminated vegetables - you can often see the blueish residue of the sprays used on the vegetable caught up in the curves of the pepper. These contaminants permeate the skin and infect the flesh. If you can't find organic aubergines, make sure you wash them well with a vegetable spray. When tested, aubergines were found to contain few contaminants but that is dependent on their source. Some countries use more pesticides than others.

When tested, sweet bell peppers were found by the USDA Pesticide Data Program to contain up to 88 different pesticides, and one single sample was found to contain 15 different pesticides! These pesticides range from substances claimed to be carcinogens, neurotoxins, hormone disrupters, developmental/reproductive toxins and honeybee toxins. So be safe, The Only Way is Organic.

Red Peppers, or capsicums, are rich in Vitamin C - one red pepper provides around 170% of your daily allowance. Also they are rich in Vitamin A, folate and potassium, with useful amounts of B6, K1 and E. Aubergines are a source of B6, B1 and potassium and are a useful source of copper, magnesium, manganese and antioxidants.

Some people however are allergic to both bell peppers and aubergine as they are part of the so-called Nightshade family of vegetables - which includes tomatoes, potatoes, chilli and goji berries. These vegetables are high in solanine, which can cause an inflammatory effect on the body in some individuals, so if you are in the early stages of CanSur treatment, it might be prudent to limit their use in your diet.


Serves 4 - 6

1 medium sized aubergine about 400 g (organic if possible)

1 large organic red pepper (or two small)

60 mls fresh organic lemon juice

2 generous rounded tbs organic tahini

2 tbs organic olive oil

3 cloves organic garlic

1 tsp pink Himalayan salt (or to taste)

sweet paprika

** 1 cup Healing Intent

1. Prick the aubergine and place on a baking tray in an oven set to 180C. (I once forgot to do this, and the aubergine exploded in my oven and took ages to clean.) Halve the red pepper and place skin side down on the baking tray. Cook for around 40 minutes until soft but not burnt.

2. Using the back of a knife, gradually crush the garlic into the salt - this brings out the flavour of the garlic.

2. Leave the vegetables to cool, and when ready remove the skin, stalk and seeds from the red pepper. Pull off the skin from the aubergine and place the aubergine and red pepper flesh into the food processor. Add the half of the lemon juice, and all the tahini, olive oil, garlic and salt and process until smooth. Taste and add more lemon juice to taste - I prefer a lot of lemon. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

3. Pour into a bowl, sprinkle with paprika and coriander leaves.

** Healing Intent: when cooking foods to heal the body it is important to set your intent. The best way to do this is imagine that you are cooking this dish for yourself or for someone you love who is very ill and that this dish is the only thing that will help in their healing. You will find that the way you handle the food will change, and will not only result in a better dish, but you will feel the food actually nourishing your body and spirit.

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