Eggplant and red pepper spread is a piquant ratatouille of soft-cooked eggplant, red peppers, and tomatoes with a perfect balance of spicy-tangy flavors and a hint of sweetness.
The bright flavors of this dip remind me of the Indian Baingan Bharta, the Italian Caponata, and the Mediterranean Ajvar. This flavorful dish captures the complex flavors of many cuisines and is yet so easy to make.
For years, I have made this spread by first roasting the eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes in the oven and then finishing it on the stovetop with the remaining ingredients. Although this 2 step process worked well, it is a bit time-consuming, needing multiple pots, trays, etc. Plus, heating up the entire kitchen with the oven, especially in the summer months is not desirable at all.
So, last year I decided to try this recipe in the Instant Pot. I love the Sauté function to 'roast' the eggplant and red peppers to add just the right amount of smokey flavors.
A splash of white wine vinegar brightens the flavors of the roasted veggies while helping deglaze the pot and losing any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and pressure cook to seal in the flavors and nutrition.
Finish the dish with a generous garnish of toasted pine nuts and fresh basil. This deliciously-tasting eggplant and red pepper spread is ready in just 20 minutes! Serve as an appetizer with a toasty baguette or stir-in with hot pasta, this dish is sure to impress your guests and even the pickiest child will ask for seconds.
Did you enjoy this eggplant dip? Do check out my easy Indian Baingan Bharta Recipe.
Eggplant and red pepper spread - Instant Pot
- 2 tablespoons EVOO
- 3 cups Italian eggplant cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 cup red pepper diced into ½ inch cubes
- ½ cup diced tomatoes
- ½ cup onions finely diced
- 8 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup basil chopped
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts toasted
- Turn the Instant Pot to Saute mod and heat oil. Add eggplant and peppers. Cook for 5 mins, stirring few times, until the eggplant start to become golden brown. Cover with a glass lid to speed up the process.
- Add white wine vinegar and deglaze the pot to loosen up any browned bit stuck to teh bottom of the pot. Add tomatoes, onions, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and mix well.
- Add ¼ cup of water. Close the Instant Pot with pressure value to sealing. Pressure Cook(Hi) for 4 minutes followed by Quick Release.
- Open the Instant Pot and mash the spread with a spatula. Garnish with basil and pine nuts. Serve with toasted baguette or pita chips
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Congratulations on your book! I pre-ordered my copy and look forward to the release. It is an interesting coincidence that I mailed my kid's cookbook to Ten Speed Press just today. Time will tell. I love your featured eggplant and red pepper spread. At first I thpought it might be like a muhammara dip recipe but actually feels more like bruschetta. Loving vegetables as I do, I know it'll be delcious and something new for me to try!
Thank you for pre-ordering my book! And good luck with your kids cookbook. I look forward to hearing more about it. and yes The Eggplant spread can be related to so many dished muhammara, caponata, bruschetta or even Indian baingan bharta.
Blogtastic Food says
This looks perfect for an appetizer (:
This spread looks most flavourful!
Thank you! It is absolutely delicious.
This look so amazing 🙂
Carol L. Pogust says
Do you peel the eggplant first ? (I assume you do not, since the recipe does not state this.)
Hi Carol, I do not peel the eggplant. It cooks really well in the Instant Pot.
Carol L. Pogust says
Thank you. I just made this for lunch, and it was a success ! Always glad for tasty variations to my fairly restricted diet.
So glad you enjoyed this! Thank you for the feedback.
First I wasn't 100 percent sure about how I feel about eggplant because I have had it where I liked it and then there were a few times I didn't(feel the same way about okra). However I had all the ingredients(I used Japanese eggplant) at home so I went ahead and made it today. It's out of this world! I will be having it with pasta tonight for dinner-absolutely love the flavors and simplicity. A small side note: it was a bit unclear when to add red peppers since they are mentioned in step 1 and 2. I added them with the eggplant(as well as the onion) on the saute step. I am making this for my next party appetizer!
Thank you! I am so glad you enjoyed this. I always double the recipe, use half as appetizer and then use half for pasta. And thank you for pointing out the typo in the recipe. In step 2 I meant red pepper flakes.
Hey there, I would appreciate if you can rate the recipe for me. The ratings can be added right on the recipe card. Thank you!
Wonderful recipe and the cover of your book looks amazing!! Congratulations again dear!
Thank you Annika!
Louise Samson says
Absolutely delicious! Thank you Archana. BUT I must be very slow (although experienced, cooking-wise) : it took me 50 minutes of prep time (pealing and finely chopping the garlic was mostly responsible for this). The rest was a breeze and...wonderful.
Thank you Louise for your lovely feedback. I have to agree that I didn't take into account the time to peel garlic. I usually buy pre-peeled container as we go through so much garlic. And I am so glad you enjoyed the flavors.
Great post Archana - red peppers for me are close to the bottom of my list of favourite veggies - but I can just imagine how good they taste here bringing texture and sweetness....
Thank you Laura! The combination of vegetables adds very unique flavors to this dish. Many of my friends who do not like eggplant enjoy this. And red peppers add a nice touch of sweetness in this dish. Hope you try it.
Louise Samson says
I wish i could get my hands on pre-peeled garlic!
This recipe is delicious and totally worth the trouble. 5 stars!
Can't wait to get your book. Thank you, Archana.
Thank you Louise! I buy pre-peeled garlic from asian/korean grocery stores. They do make cooking much faster 🙂
I've been buying eggplants for over 2 months now trying out different versions to see what gets family sign off (trying to use veggies more easily available in grocery stores in the US and reduce dependence on Indian store)..this is the first one that has received universal love (the rest didn't even get majority). Absolutely loved it. Had it with a slice of sourdough for dinner, husband had it with rice for lunch, and i finished the rest plain..and all versions tasted amazing! Followed the recipe to the T except adding a stalk of celery since I have a bunch at home and trying to figure out how to use them. I love the spinach dal recipe as well. Hoping to see lot more vegetarian instant pot options using interesting veggies come up soon.
Thank you for your lovely note. It made my day!! Do rate the recipes on recipe card. I will def post more vegetarian recipes ❤️
Made this tonight and it was delicious! Used a med-large eggplant and a large red pepper and pretty much doubled everything else - a can of fire roasted tomatoes for the tomato. Used an immersion blender for texture. Delicious on chips.
Thank you for the feedback.