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 piquant 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.
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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