Serve this easy Middle Eastern baba ganoush dip with pita bread or fresh veggies for a healthy app or snack.
What Is Baba Ganoush
Often served alongside hummus as a meze staple, baba ganoush is a healthy Lebanese dip or spread made from roasted or grilled eggplant mixed with nutty, sesame-flavored tahini that literally translates to “pampered father”.
Eggplant is one of those vegetables that instills strong feelings of like or dislike among eaters. Because it’s somewhat neutral in its own flavor, grilling gives the eggplant in baba ganoush it’s signature smoky flavor, but roasting the eggplant in the oven makes it more accessible year round.
Either way, the high cooking temperature makes it easy to strip the skin away to reveal a savory, almost sweetened pulp that mashes or blends easily into this classic, eggplant dip served with pita bread or fresh veggies.
With as many aliases as a rock star checking into her nightly hotel while on tour, baba ganoush is also known as babaganoush, baba gannouj, baba ghanoush, baba ghanouj. So many spellings, but so much the same favorite dip!
Baba Ganoush Ingredients
Made with eggplant instead of chickpeas, baba ganoush shares most of the same ingredients as hummus, and can be served the same way, too. Drizzle it with olive oil, knock out a few dashes of smoked paprika, give it a few sprinkles of fresh mint, parsley or cilantro, or give it an even more Lebanese edge by topping it with walnuts or pomegranates.
Here’s what’s in baba ganoush:
- Lemon juice
- Kosher salt
- Herbs such as mint, parsley, cilantro
- Smoked paprika (or plain if you prefer)
The Best Eggplant for Baba Ganoush
Because there are plenty of seeds in eggplant, choose fruits (yes, eggplant is technically a fruit) that are firm but slender instead of round and bulbous. A more narrow eggplant means fewer seeds and more veggie meat. Globe eggplant are best for this job.
A very cooked, soft and tender eggplant flesh is very important for a good baba.
How to Make Baba Ganoush
Roast the eggplant, or grill it for more smoky flavor. Grilling or roasting eggplant makes it dense, and concentrates the moisture of the flesh for a more flavorful baba ganoush. This step is the whole crux of the game.
Even in the middle of winter, you’ll find me using my grill. Grilling vegetables like eggplant adds a rich, smoke flavor you won’t get from the oven. But if a grill isn’t in your game plan, roasted eggplant in the oven still imparts a rich, caramelized flavor that sweetens this pulpy vegetable.
See my grilled eggplant recipe for more tips.
Strip the skin and seeds from the roasted eggplant. Follow the trail of a bitter baba ganoush and you’ll discover the line heads straight to the seeds. Before mashing, always remove all of the skin and all of the seeds.
TIP: Poke a few holes in your eggplant with a sharp knife or skewer before roasting so it doesn’t explode in the oven.
Flavor that Baba
For best results, use fresh tahini. Similar to non-processed peanut or almond butter, sesame flavored tahini often separates from the oil in the jar when it doesn’t get a lot of regular use. If you’ve ever tried to dig a hard lump of tahini from the jar, or worse, tried to re-constitute it with it’s oil, you’ll know why I’m saying fresh tahini always wins. Plus, the flavor will be ten-fold better.
Pressed garlic is best. In my humble opinion, using a garlic press in dips like this is always better than minced to avoid those unexpected garlic bites. This cheap garlic press from Ikea is one of my kitchen staples.
Give it a lemon squeeze. I typically use the juice of ½ lemon in my baba ganoush, but if the lemon isn’t ripe without much juice and feeling hard, go ahead and use a whole.
TIP: To get more juice from a lemon, use the palm of your hand to press into the lemon as you roll it on the counter. Or, microwave the lemon for 15 seconds to soften and become more juicy.
Should You Mash or Blend Baba Ganoush?
Depending on your preference, baba ganoush can be made smooth and creamy or mashed and chunky. It’s all in how you like it. Mash the eggplant with a fork for a rougher, meatier bite, or make it smooth in the blender or food processor like I do in my version.
What If the Eggplant is Watery?
Roasting and grilling adds moisture to the eggplant, so if it is eliminating a lot of liquid while seeding after roasting or grilling, transfer the seedless pulp to a strainer to drain for a few minutes before blending with the other ingredients.
Other Ingredients to Add to Baba Ganoush
- Top with walnuts for pine nuts
- Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds
- Season with a few pinches of ground cumin, harissa or smoked paprika
What To Eat With Baba Ganoush
- Serve alongside hummus or tzatziki
- With Mediterranean marinated chicken
- Pita bread
- Pita chips
- Fresh cut vegetables
- Lavash bread
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a star rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
- 2 medium eggplants
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 2 cloves garlic , pressed
- 1 lemon , juiced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- mint, parsley or cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Use a sharp knife to poke a few holes in the skin of the eggplant so the skin doesn't burst while roasting. Place the eggplants on a baking sheet lined with foil and roast for 30 minutes or more, turning once, until the skin is blistered and the inside is very soft. Remove from the heat.
- When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, cut the eggplant in half and peel away the skin. Use a spoon to gently remove the seeds, and discard.
- Add the eggplant to a blender jar with the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and kosher salt. Process until smooth. Add more lemon juice and salt to taste. Spoon the baba ganoush mixture into a bowl, swirl with the back of a spoon. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with fresh minced mint, parsley or cilantro and a few shakes of paprika. Also good garnished with pomegranate seeds. Serve with pita bread, lavash bread, or sliced veggies.
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