Summer is the season for eggplant, and one of the best things in the world you can make with eggplant is the Middle Eastern eggplant dip known as baba ganoush (also spelled baba ghanouj).
Video: How to Make Baba Ganoush
Use Globe Eggplants for Baba Ganoush
To make baba ganoush, you take large globe eggplants (the ones that look like giant dark purple eggs), cut them in half, and either roast or grill them.
Then you scoop out the fleshy insides with a spoon, and mash it up with olive oil, garlic, sesame tahini, lemon juice, and spices.
Smooth or Chunky Baba Ganoush
I use a fork to mash the eggplant dip. You want the mixture to be somewhat smooth but still retaining some of the eggplant's texture.
You can also use a food processor to make baba ghanouj, but take care not to make it too smooth; this is supposed to be a rustic, slightly chunky dip.
What to Serve With Baba Ganoush
Serve this dip for with toasted pita bread or crackers. Celery or cucumber slices are a good gluten-free option. Make a lot because you'll want it eat it all and then some!
Make-Ahead Baba Ganoush
Baba Ganoush keeps well in the fridge, so it's fine to make it a day or two ahead of serving. For best flavor, let it come to room temperature before serving.
Baba ganoush does not freeze well, and we don't recommend it.
More Recipes for a Middle Eastern Menu
- Muhamarra Dip
- Fattoush Bread Salad
- Greek Chicken Skewers with Yogurt Sauce
- Cucumber Yogurt Salad
Baba Ganoush (Eggplant Dip)
- 1-2 globe eggplants (totaling 2 pounds or 900 g)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons roasted tahini (sesame paste)
- 1-2 garlic cloves (more or less depending on how garlicky you want your baba ghanouj to be), finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Juice of one lemon (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)
- Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Roast the eggplants:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Poke the eggplants in several places with the tines of a fork. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and brush the cut sides lightly with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon).
Place on a baking sheet, cut side down, and roast until very tender, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Alternate Grilling Instructions: Preheat grill. Poke the eggplants in a few places with a fork, then rub the eggplants with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Grill over high heat, turning as each side blackens. Put the charred eggplants in a paper bag, close the bag and let the eggplants steam in their skins for 15-20 minutes.
Scoop the eggplant flesh into a large bowl and mash well with a fork.
Add garlic, olive oil, tahini, cumin, lemon juice, salt, cayenne:
Combine the eggplant, minced garlic, remaining olive oil (about 2 tablespoons), tahini, cumin, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, the salt, and a pinch of cayenne.
Mash well. You want the mixture to be somewhat smooth but still retaining some of the eggplant's texture.
Cool and season to taste:
Allow the baba ganoush to cool to room temperature, then season to taste with additional lemon juice, salt, and cayenne.
If you want, swirl a little olive oil on the top. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
Serve with pita bread, crackers, toast, sliced baguette, celery, or cucumber slices.