Baba ganoush is a dip made from roasted eggplants that is popular in many Middle Eastern countries. I for one, and a huge fan! Like hummus, it is very versatile as a dip, condiment, spread… you get the point. The other great thing about it is that baba ganoush is naturally vegan and is made with just a few simple ingredients.
How to make baba ganoush
The first step is to roast the eggplants. The traditional way to do this is over an open fire in order to infuse the eggplants with a smoky flavor. However since it is not always practical to cook over fire, I simply roast mine in the oven. Of course, this will not give the eggplants that distinctive smoky flavor. An optional work around is to broil the eggplants once they are fully cooked in order to create a little char. To do this, first roast the eggplants cut side down on a baking sheet for 40 minutes. Then turn on the broiler. Flip the eggplants to be face side up, and broil for a few minutes to char the fleshy side.
Another trick is to add smoked paprika, which has a very strong smokey flavor and is so delicious! You can sprinkle a little on top to serve or you can mix some in. This is not a traditional ingredient, but I think it really enhances the flavor.
Once the eggplants are cooked, allow them to cool to room temperature. Scoop the eggplant flesh out of the skins into a mixing bowl. Then add in the lemon juice, tahini, spices and garlic. As you may know by now, I love my microplane grater and this is yet another perfect use for it. I like to grate up my garlic into a paste so that it mixes in smoothly. You can also use a garlic press, but I don’t have one of those!
I use two large spoons to mash the mixture up and shred up the eggplant. The end result is a bit clumpy, and that’s just how it should be. Some people prefer to blend it in the food processor for a smoother texture – I will leave that decision to you.
This recipe is oil-free for those who follow an oil-free diet or for those just looking to decrease oil consumption. I think high quality oil in moderation is ok, but it’s one of those topics that is up for debate all the time, especially in terms of exposing oils to high temperatures. So my personal opinion is moderation, you know – like anything else in life. I also always ask myself – if I make this recipe without oil, can I tell the difference? And in this baba ganoush, which I have made with and without, I don’t notice any difference. I also roasted the eggplants without any oil on them. My Armenian fried says this baba ganoush tastes legit, so I’m going to fly with it… (thanks Laurie 🙂 )
How to serve baba ganoush
Here are some serving ideas for your baba ganoush:
- with warm pita bread
- with veggie sticks such as carrots, cucumber, celery and bell pepper
- spread some on a plate and top with roasted veggies like carrots or summer squash
- spread on a sandwich filled with arugula, sliced cucumber and tomato
- add a big dollop on top of a salad
- at a party with other mezze dishes
I hope you enjoy this recipe and find it as yummy as I do!
Makes about 6 servings
Baba ganoush is creamy, tangy and addicting, but made with a few basic ingredients! Leave out the olive oil to make it oil-free. I absolutely love baba ganoush because it is naturally vegan and tastes amazing on all sorts of things from the usual pita and crudité to roasted veggies.
Author: Leah Romay
- 2.5 lbs eggplants (about 3 medium)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 large clove garlic, grated or pressed into paste
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
- 2 T olive oil, plus more for serving (optional)
- garnishes: smoked paprika, parsley, pomegranate seeds, sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice eggplants in half and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast until very soft and tender, about 40 minutes.
- OPTIONAL STEP – Once eggplants are cooked, flip them face side up and place under the broiler. Broil until they start to char. This step will add a more smoky flavor to the dip, which is very traditional. However if you want to avoid charred food, then skip this step.
- Scoop the eggplant flesh into a large bowl. Add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and spices. Mix by hand, mashing the eggplant up with two spoons or forks until the consistency is smooth, but still lumpy.
- Serve with a sprinkle of smoked paprika and lots of fresh parsley. It’s also traditional to sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top.
- I left out olive oil, which is traditionally in baba ganoush. I left it out because I personally cannot taste much difference with or without the oil mixed in, and there is much debate on if oil is good or bad. So sometimes I like to leave it out if there is oil in other food I am making. However, if you want to add the oil, feel free. Add 2 tablespoons into the mix, and to serve – drizzle a bit on top.
- Baba ganoush stored in an airtight container will last about 5 days in the fridge.
- Mashing the eggplant by hand lends the baba ganoush a more clumpy texture, which is the traditional way. But if you are texture adverse or prefer it smooth, then use a food processor