Olia Hercules' caramelised vegetable caviar

This dip is not a looker, but it sure has soul. Add toasted coriander or cumin seeds, if you like. It makes sense to make a large batch as it keeps in the fridge for a week, in a sterilised jar with a film of olive oil.

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Serves: 6


4-6 tbsp olive oil
1 aubergine (about 300g), diced
2 courgettes (about 300g), diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 large onion (or 150g shallots), diced 
2 carrots (about 150g), coarsely grated
5 tomatoes (about 300g), coarsely grated
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
handful coriander, chopped
handful pomegranate seeds


1. Heat 2 tbsp oil each in 2 large frying pans. Divide the aubergine, courgette, pepper and onion between the pans, season and sauté until nicely caramelised, up to 30 minutes.

2. Whizz all the caramelised vegetables in a food processor, then put them back in one of the pans with the carrot and tomato pulp. Cook over a medium heat for about 1 hour, stirring from time to time, until you have a thick, dark brown paste. Add a little oil if it starts to look dry.

3. Add the garlic for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Season and serve with a slick of oil, the coriander and the pomegranate seeds, plus torn pitta breads or crudités, if liked.