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Daphne Oz Shares Her Smoked Eggplant Dip With Easy Seeded Cracker Bark

Excerpted from Eat Your Heart Out by Daphne Oz.

I love food. Not in the abstract, “Oh sure, I could eat” kind of way. I love food in the deeply personal, memory-making, sensory-awakening kind of way. Cooking and eating together with my favorite people is not just my jam. It’s my homemade sourdough and hand-churned, extra-salty butter, too.

Yes, food is pleasure for me. It lets me engage with the world in a real, adventurous, delicious way I crave. But it’s obviously also fuel. I need energy to keep up with my kids—and my husband, and work, and friends, and everything else on my plate! And I think it goes without saying: I don’t really do the whole deprivation thing. I know from experience that when we focus on how not to eat, we miss the mark—for health and for happiness.

But in order to press the reset button in those periods of my life when I felt overwhelmed and in need of an extra boost—so I could truly savor my meals long-term and still feel strong and happy in my skin in and day out—I adopted a simple strategy. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it’s simple enough to stick with (even for me!), and it really works.

Daphne Oz Shares Her Smoked Eggplant Dip With Easy Seeded Cracker Bark

My goal with this book is to share how I cook and eat—with glee and gusto and fun—and still take good care of myself and my family.

In reset mode, I eat whatever I please two days a week—usually on the weekends. And during the other five days, I eat clean using easy-to-remember rules: No gluten. No refined sugar. Limited dairy (choosing goat and sheep milk products). Simple. Oh, there’s just one more thing: it still has to be delicious.

My biggest realization was that a few very simple rules are the key to intuitive, relaxed, clean eating and ultimate, long-term success.

Since I couldn’t find that book on any shelf, I decided to write it. This is how I eat when I need to get back to equilibrium where my body feels best, whether that’s after pregnancy, after a few weeks with too much stress or too much fun, after vacation, or just generally to reset. I also want everything in this book to be something you can sink your teeth into and deeply enjoy without ever feeling guilty or like you’re sacrificing, I want to show the abundance of foods that truly free the eater by making healthy meals easy, fulfilling, and obvious.

Ultimately, the food in this book is delicious, so it doesn’t really matter that it’s healthy. You win either way!

Daphne Oz Shares Her Smoked Eggplant Dip With Easy Seeded Cracker Bark

Smoked Eggplant Dip

Makes 4 servings

“I consider smoked eggplant dip to be hummus’s lesser-known, potentially more interesting (!!!) cousin. Now, I love hummus! It is rich and full of protein and has enjoyed the greatest PR ever bestowed upon a humble bean dip. But there is something about generously roasting and charring eggplant, scooping out the creamy flesh, and mashing it together with tahini and lemon and garlic and spices and herbs until it is smooth and sumptuous that just feels… special. This particular preparation is exactly the way I love my food to be: simple but elevated, extremely flavorful from a few choice ingredients, healthy without ever letting you know it, and as deliciously fresh as it is the next day. Dip just about anything into it and enjoy!”


1 medium globe eggplant (about 1½ pounds), pierced all over with a fork or paring knife
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
⅓ cup tahini
Juice from 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1 garlic clove
Pinch of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon sweet paprika, plus more for garnish
Sea salt, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Carrot sticks and celery sticks, to serve
Easy Seeded Cracker Bark (see below), to serve


Preheat the broiler or grill to medium-high heat.

If using the broiler, place the eggplant on a sheet pan about 3 inches under the heat. Char for 20 to 30 minutes under the broiler or 15 to 20 minutes on the grill, rotating carefully with tongs every few minutes to char on all sides. This can also be done on top of a gas burner turned to medium heat. Place the eggplant directly on the gas burner and char for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating every few minutes to char on all sides.

Transfer the eggplant to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and cumin seeds in a small sauté pan over medium heat until toasted and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Cut the eggplant in half, scoop out the flesh, and place it in a medium bowl. Discard the skins. Use two forks to mash the flesh until mostly smooth but still textured. Add the cumin seeds and olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne, and paprika and mix until smooth and creamy. Season with salt to taste. (To assemble in a food processor: Combine the roasted eggplant flesh and additional ingredients in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, then puree until creamy and smooth.)

Place the dip in a serving bowl and garnish with an additional drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of paprika, then scatter with the parsley and mint. Serve with the carrots and celery and Easy Seeded Cracker Bark.

Easy Seeded Cracker Bark

Makes 4 servings

“These crackers are great to have around whether you want to create a quick open-faced sandwich, use them to scoop dip, or crush and crumble a few over your favorite salad for an extra salty crunch. The cumin seed really amps up the flavor, and the flax, chia, and sunflower seeds offer tons of protein and fiber to keep you nice and full.”


½ cup pepitas
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup whole flaxseeds
⅔ cup ground flaxseed
2 tablespoons chia seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt


Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

In a medium bowl, combine the pepitas, sunflower seeds, whole flaxseeds, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, sesame seeds, cumin seeds, coconut oil, sea salt, and ½ cup warm water. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. A stiffer dough will form as the water is absorbed.

Divide the dough in half. Roll out each half between two sheets of parchment paper to ¼ inch thick. Transfer each rolled dough on the parchment to a separate sheet pan. Sprinkle with the flaky sea salt and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until the crackers are golden brown and fragrant. Let cool completely so they get nice and crispy, then break into pieces.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Copyright © 2022 by Daphne Oz. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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