A chunkier relative of hummus, baba ganoush is a creamy and delicious Middle Eastern eggplant and tahini dip. Traditionally, the eggplant is flame broiled or charred to give it an irresistibly smoky flavor, then mashed with tahini, lemon juice, cumin, and garlic. It’s absolutely divine. I love it as a dip for veggies, on crackers, or bread.
For this version, I’ve simplified things by roasting the eggplant in the oven, and compensating with a kick of smoked paprika. It may not be 100% authentic, but it’s damn good. If you are in the mood for firing up the grill however, or are already doing some summer grilling or smoking, throw a few eggplants on there and treat yourself to some extra special ganoush!
This recipe is cobbled together somewhat from what I learned from Cookie & Kate and Serious Eats. This recipe is now my go-to for easy baba ganoush! (Well… besides the amazing Middle Eastern restaurant in town…) Enjoy!
- 2 medium eggplants halved lengthwise
- 1/4 cup tahini 2 oz
- 4 Tbsp olive oil (save a little to drizzle on at the end) 2 oz
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 of a lemon, juiced more to taste
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 3/4 tsp good quality sea salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- Pinch of smoked paprika for garnish
Roast or grill the eggplant
- The only instruction here is as follows: cook the eggplants until you think they are cooked, and the cook them some more. Cook the crap out of them. Whether that's roasting them in the oven or over an open flame on an outdoor grill, you want the insides of the eggplants to be totally melty and easily scoopable with a spoon.
In the oven
- Adjust oven rack to 6 inches below the broiler element and preheat the oven to 450°F. Prick them in two or three places with a fork to prevent exploding eggplants, but don't overdo it. You want them to steam inside and be easy to peel but you also don't want them to turn into eggplant bombs.
- Place eggplants whole on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Rotate as needed, until they are deeply charred and completely tender, giving no resistance when poked with a toothpick or knife. When you pick them up with tongs from their stems, they should be completely limp, like deflated balloons. The outer skin can get completely blackened, it will be removed and discarded, and contributes to the luxurious smoky flavor.
- Remove from oven and wrap the eggplants in the foil on the baking sheet to form a sealed package. Let the eggplants rest for 15 minutes before scooping out their yummy insides.
On the grill
- Place whole eggplants on a grill over an open flame. Prick them in two or three places with a fork to prevent exploding eggplants, but don't overdo it. You want them to steam inside and be easy to peel but you also don't want them to turn into eggplant bombs.
- Rotate as needed, until they are deeply charred and completely tender, giving no resistance when poked with a toothpick or knife. When you pick them up with tongs from their stems, they should be completely limp, like deflated balloons. The outer skin can get completely blackened, it will be removed and discarded, and contributes to the luxurious smoky flavor.
Remove excess water
- Whichever method you use to cook the crap out of your eggplant, it's really important to remove excess moisture to concentrate the flavor of your ganoush and to make sure you aren't going to end up with watery dip. There are two good ways to do this – scoop out the eggplant from the peel and spin it in a salad spinner, or place it in a fine mesh strainer and press the moisture out with a wooden spoon or ladle. Discard the liquid and place the eggplant in a good mashing bowl.
Mash it all together!
- Start with the lemon juice and minced garlic (start with 1 garlic clove and 1 Tbsp of lemon juice per eggplant).
- To get the best emulsion of the tahini and oil into the dip, slowly introduce each by drizzling it into the mix and vigorously mixing it in while pouring. It can be nice to have another person help by slowly pouring while you mix.
- No need for a food processor, this dip is supposed to have a chunky, creamy texture!
- Season to taste with cumin, smoked paprika, and salt. Be sure to add lots of salt to counteract the inherent bitterness of the eggplant and bring out all the yummy flavor in the dip. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
- Attempt to eat a sensible portion of this dip, or just eat it all in one sitting, I'm not here to judge.
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- Make a pita, sandwich, or slather on crackers made from this lentil flatbread
- Eat as a veggie dip
- Eat atop crusty bread or seedy crackers with a few sprouts or sliced cucumbers