PREP TIME: 10 minutes | COOK TIME: 30-35 minutes | YIELD: 4½ cups (18 x ¼-cup servings)

Spreads can be used in any number of ways on vegetables, crackers, sandwiches and more. When choosing your spread, be careful! Many are loaded with processed ingredients and harmful fats. Just say no to those guys and say yes to this delicious homemade spread, which is jam-packed with all the good stuff.

1 x 1½ to 2 lb (680 g to 908 g) eggplant

1 x 15-oz (440 ml) BPA-free can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ cup (120 ml) tahini, stirred well

¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp (30 ml) water

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin

¼ tsp (1.25 ml) ground fresh chili paste, or more to taste

1 handful fresh parsley

¾ tsp (3.75 ml) sea salt

Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Heat a grill or grill pan to high.

Using a fork, poke eggplant five or six times so it won’t explode when it cooks. Place eggplant on grill and cook, turning a few times, until skin is charred well, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer eggplant to a baking sheet to finish cooking in oven until very soft when pierced with a skewer, about 20 minutes. Remove eggplant and allow it to sit at room temperature until cool enough to handle. Peel away skin and discard.

Cut peeled eggplant into pieces so it will fit into a food processor or blender. Add chickpeas along with remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. If too thick, add water 1 Tbsp (15 ml) at a time, until mixture reaches desired consistency. Taste, and make any adjustments to seasoning with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE PER SERVING:

Calories: 88 | Calories from Fat: 51 | Protein: 3 g | Carbs: 7 g | Total Fat: 6 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Fiber: 3 g | Sodium: 8 mg | Cholesterol: 0 mg