One of the biggest things I’ve discovered as I’ve paid more attention to what I eat is how much snacking goes on at photoshoots. Even though, most of the time, the food is meant to be photogenic and not delicious…I still tend to taste as I go. Then there are take-out lunches and craft service tables and the 3:00 pm “eat your feelings o’clock” hover around the chocolate and the cookies. It’s endless and it’s been a challenge to navigate that – politely declining catered cupcakes or birthday cakes on set. It’s also meant bringing an arsenal of healthy snacks on shoots both locally and on the road – bags of pistachios, early morning batches of quinoa salad, apples with a bit of natural peanut butter.
I love dips and spreads as between-meal snacks but so many of them have dairy in them, which is a no-no for me. If they don’t have dairy in them – hummus or white bean spread – then I want to eat them with pita bread or crackers, which is also off limits. I’ve gotten myself into the swing of eating veggie based dips with more interesting vegetables than the standard baby carrots and celery (both of which I barely tolerate): thick wedges of zucchini, raw Brussels sprouts and their leaves, colorful peppers, chunky broccoli florets. Adding more color and texture has been a great distraction – I miss the “crunch” of bread or crackers a lot less.
White Bean & Roasted Eggplant Dip – makes about 1 cup
This is a completely vegan dip that is great on its own and would make a lovely sandwich spread if you’re eating bread these days. Roasting the onions along with the eggplant gives everything just a bit more flavor. Cutting some slits in the eggplant makes it super easy to remove once it is roasted. Serve this dip with all kinds of crunchy vegetables, seeded crackers or the classic pita bread.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and cut cross hatched marks in each half to score the eggplant. Drizzle with canola oil and add the onions. Season everything liberally with salt and pepper. Flip the eggplant so it is face down and bake for 30-40 mintues until tender and the onions begin to caramelize – the length of time depends on your oven and the size of the eggplant. Remove and allow to cool.
- Scoop out the flesh of the eggplant and, along with the onions, add to your food processor. Combine the white beans and whiz for a minute to break them down and blend together. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil, Tabasco and lemon juice. Taste again and season with salt and pepper to your liking. This dip is best when it is room temperature or has a slight chill on it. To serve, drizzle the dip with a bit more oil and a sprinkle of seasoning. Serve alongside warm pita bread or pita chips, seeded crackers or a variety of vegetables for scooping.
This is one of several recipes I’m developing as a Tabasco Tastemaker.