Have you tried Baba Ganoush? If not, this rich, creamy dip is going to make you a huge eggplant fan. I bet you my friends, once Baba Ganoush comes into your life, you won’t be settling for a ready made grocery store dip for your get togethers.
Just a few ingredients and you have a great party entertainer. This Eastern Mediterranean dip makes eggplant a big STAR.
Roasted eggplant is mashed and combined with nutty tahini, aromatic garlic, and a squeeze of lemon juice for a base, and from there you can try it with many optional add-ons. You are going to love my version of Baba Ganoush, which I tried for the first time in Egypt…
Destiny… who would have thought that one day I would talk about some dip I tried 18 years back?
Yes, trying this creamy eggplant dish along with some local pita like bread seemed so novel, with new flavors and new culinary adventures in some exotic land. Egypt and all its memories will always hold a special place in my heart, as that’s where my career as a tour manager started in 2005.
I will try to recreate the Baba Ganoush I tried in Cairo. It’s fresh and loaded with amazing nutty, creamy and tangy flavors, with the inherent creamy sweetness of eggplant that comes after roasting.
You Will Love Homemade Baba Ganoush, Why?
- Delicious Flavor: Baba Ghanoush is loved for its unique, smoky flavor, which comes from roasting the eggplant on a grill, over flame or in the oven. The addition of garlic, tahini, and lemon juice creates a wonderful balance of savory, nutty, and tangy notes. Baba Ghanoush has creamy and velvety texture, and with different add-ons it becomes quite an addictive dip.
- Versatility: Baba Ghanoush can be served as a dip, a spread, or a complement to main dishes. It pairs beautifully with bread, veggies, grilled meat, or even as a flavorful addition to sandwiches and wraps.
- It’s healthy and nutritious: This delicious dip is packed with nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals from the eggplant, as well as healthy fats and proteins from the tahini and olive oil.
- Suitable for various diets: Baba Ghanoush is naturally vegan and gluten-free, which makes it a dish that can be enjoyed by individuals following these dietary lifestyles.
- Easy to make: Despite its complex flavors, Baba Ghanoush is relatively easy to prepare with just a few ingredients.
What is Baba Ganoush?
Baba Ganoush, also spelled as Baba Ghanoush or Baba Ghanouj, is a very popular Eggplant Dip from Eastern Mediterranean and the Levant region, and is very similar to Moutabal.
It is a simple, savory spread made primarily from roasted or smoked eggplant that’s been mashed and mixed with various seasonings. Other ingredients usually include tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.
Often it’s garnished with olive oil and sometimes with chopped tomatoes, onions, parsley, parsley and pomegranate seeds, and is usually served with pita bread or vegetables as a dip or spread.
The term “Baba Ghanoush” is of Arabic origin. ‘Baba’ is an affectionate term meaning ‘father’, while ‘ghanoush’ could mean ‘spoiled’. Thus, ‘Baba Ghanoush’ might be translated as ‘spoiled daddy’.
The history of Baba Ghanoush is a little murky. It’s generally agreed that the dish originated in the Levant, but versions of the dish are found all throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean regions.
As with many traditional dishes, variations of Baba Ghanoush exist from region to region. In some countries, the dish is made with mayonnaise instead of tahini, while others include tomatoes or other vegetables.
Despite these variations, the smoky, savory flavor of the roasted eggplant remains the centerpiece of the dish.
Baba Ganoush Ingredients
- Eggplants – These are the main ingredient of Baba Ganoush. When roasted, they become soft and develop a deep, complex flavor that serves as the foundation of the dip.
- Garlic – It adds a depth of flavor to the Baba Ghanoush.
- Tahini – This is a paste made from toasted and ground sesame seeds. It can be found in the ethnic section of many supermarkets.
- Extra virgin olive oil – Good quality.
- Lemon juice – Adds brightness and acidity, which helps balance the richness of the other ingredients.
- Parsley – Adds a fresh, herby note. It also provides a pop of green color.
- Red chili flakes – For a touch of heat to the dish. You can adjust the amount to your taste.
- Cherry tomatoes – These small, sweet tomatoes add a burst of fresh flavor and color.
- Scallions or onions – Diced small.
- Sumac – This is a spice used in Middle Eastern cooking. It has a tart, lemony flavor. It’s optional but can add an extra layer of flavor.
- Salt and pepper – To taste.
- Toasted pine nuts: Toasting them brings out their rich, buttery flavor. They add a delightful crunch to the final dish.
Easy Baba Ganoush Recipe
Baba ganoush is pretty straight forward recipe. You cook the eggplant (either by grilling over open flame or baking it in the oven), and then mix it with the remaining ingredients to make a tasty dip!
1. Roasting the Eggplant: You can do this a few different ways. You can grill it whole over open flame over medium high heat (you can use gas burner or you can cook it on the grill), turning occasionally with a pair of tongs. Cook till eggplant is fully charred outside and the flesh is softened (about 15-20 minutes).
A little less messy option is roasting it in the oven at high heat. Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut the eggplants in half. Brush all over with olive oil and place flat side down on a foil or parchment paper lined sheet. Pierce in several places with a fork. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the eggplant is very soft and cooked through.
2. Cool and drain excess water out of eggplant: Let the eggplant cool a bit. Scoop out the flesh of the eggplant and place in a colander. Allow water to drain out for 10-15 minutes.
3. Mix with rest of ingredients: Transfer the eggplant to a mixing bowl and mash to a smooth consistency with a fork.
Add in olive oil, minced garlic, tahini, lemon juice, parsley, red chili flakes, chopped cherry tomatoes, scallions, salt and pepper. Combine until well mixed. Top it with toasted pine nuts and sprinkle a little sumac all over.
4. Chill: If you have the time, cover the baba ganoush and chill it in the fridge for an hour or so. Drizzle it with more extra virgin olive oil before serving.
Tips and Tricks to make BEST Baba Ganoush
Making Baba Ghanoush is pretty simple, but here are some tips and tricks that can help you perfect it every time:
- Quality Ingredients: Use fresh, quality ingredients for the best flavor. This includes using good quality tahini and olive oil. Also, remember to use fresh lemon juice, not the bottled kind, for a bright, fresh flavor.
- Roasting the Eggplants: One of the keys to a great Baba Ghanoush is getting a deep, smoky flavor in the eggplants. It takes time, but don’t rush the process.
- Draining the Eggplants: This helps to get rid of excess water, which can make your Baba Ghanoush too runny. While it may seem tempting to skip the step, it’s really crucial.
- Balance the Flavors: The flavors in Baba Ghanoush should be balanced. You want to taste the smoky eggplant, the nutty tahini, the brightness of the lemon, and the sharpness of the garlic. Start with the quantities in the recipe, then adjust to taste.
- Smooth or Chunky: Some people prefer a very smooth Baba Ghanoush, while others prefer it a bit chunky. An immersion blender or food processor will make it very smooth, while a fork or potato masher will leave some texture. Try both, and see which you prefer.
- Resting Time: If possible, let the Baba Ghanoush rest for a few hours in refrigerator before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together.
- Garnishing: Don’t forget the garnish! A drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of sumac, some chopped fresh herbs, and a handful of toasted pine nuts can really elevate your Baba Ghanoush from good to great.
What to Serve with Baba Ganoush
Baba Ghanoush is an incredibly versatile dish that can be served in a number of ways. Traditionally, it is served as part of a mezze (appetizer) spread along with other dips and spreads such as Hummus, Tabbouleh, and Tzatziki.
Here are some other great ways to serve Baba Ghanoush:
- With pita bread: Warm or toasted pita bread is the most traditional accompaniment to Baba Ghanoush. You can serve whole rounds of pita for guests to tear off pieces, or you can cut the pita into wedges for easier dipping.
- With vegetables: Raw, sliced vegetables such as cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, and radishes provide a fresh, crunchy contrast to the creamy Baba Ghanoush.
- As part of a sandwich or wrap: Spread some Baba Ghanoush on flatbread or in a pita pocket, then add grilled vegetables, Falafel, or Kebabs to make a filling sandwich or wrap.
- With grilled meat or fish: The smoky, tangy flavor of Baba Ghanoush can complement grilled meats or fish nicely. It goes great with Chicken Shawarma.
- On crackers or toast: For a simple snack or appetizer, spread Baba Ghanoush on toasted slices of baguette or on crackers.
Leftovers and Storing
Baba Ghanoush tastes even better the day after it’s made because the flavors have had more time to meld together.
Store the Baba Ghanoush in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil before serving again.
Save this great eggplant dip recipe for your next get together. All your family and friends will be super impressed to dip into something other than regular hummus.
Get them all spoiled with this “Spoiled Old Daddy”!
Baba Ganoush, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 2 large eggplants
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
- 2 scallions or 1/4 small onion, diced
- 1/2 tsp sumac (optional)
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- toasted pine nuts, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cut the eggplants in half. Brush all over with olive oil and place flat side down on a foil or parchment paper lined sheet. Pierce in several places with a fork. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the eggplant is very soft and cooked through. (see note 1 for open flame instructions)
- Once cooled, scoop out the flesh of the eggplant and place in a colander. Allow water to drain out for 10-15 minutes.
- Transfer the eggplant to a mixing bowl and mash to a smooth consistency with a fork. Add in olive oil, minced garlic, tahini, lemon juice, parsley, red chili flakes, chopped cherry tomatoes, scallions, salt and pepper. Combine until well mixed.
- Top with toasted pine nuts and sprinkle a little sumac all over. Drizzle it with more extra virgin olive oil, and serve.
- The more traditional method involves cooking the eggplant, whole, over an open flame. To do this, set the flame to medium and place the eggplant directly on the flame. Rotate every 3-4 minutes with tongs until eggplant is fully softened and skin is charred, about 15-20 minutes.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 195Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 0mgSodium 84mgCarbohydrates 19gFiber 5gSugar 6gProtein 4g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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