Roasted Eggplant (aubergine) is the star of this incredible dip/spread: Baba Ganoush has protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber and makes for a great Meatless Monday meal. I’ve paired it with fresh and pickled vegetables for dipping, but it’s excellent with pita for dipping, as a sandwich spread, or eaten as a salad.
Recently, after I published my recipe for Falafel, my friend Sarajean commented that she was craving everything Middle Eastern. She proceeded to name off every dish she was wanting. Included in her list was Baba Ganoush. Of course, instantly, I wanted some too! And, of course, I didn’t have any eggplant.
On my next trip to the market, eggplant was first on my list to buy. I chose a beautiful 8″ long eggplant and headed home to make Baba Ganoush. That size eggplant will yield about two cups of eggplant pulp, so if the eggplant you find is smaller, buy two.
Traditionally, the eggplant for Baba Ganoush is roasted over an open flame to give it a smoky flavor. Since it was below freezing on the day I made this recipe, I decided to skip firing up my grill and just oven-roast mine. For a bit of smoky flavor, I added just a pinch of smoked paprika, but you could just as easily leave that out.
On the garlic, I used cloves from my Garlic Confit. I’ve said before how fabulous this confit is to have on-hand. Any time I want roasted garlic, or garlic infused olive oil, I’ve got it. You really need to make some. *hint, hint* If you use raw garlic, reduce the amount to two cloves.
The recipe is really simple. The ingredients are eggplant pulp, tahini (sesame paste – which can be found in the health food section or international food section of most large grocery stores), garlic, lemon juice, cumin, parsley, and smoked paprika (if desired). This recipe will serve two as an entrée or six as an appetizer.
Typically served with pita, I decided I wanted fresh and pickled vegetables for dipping. But Baba Ganoush makes a really fantastic sandwich spread. I often eat in spread in a pita with loads of vegetables stuffed in with it. However you decide to serve it, just make some.
- 1 medium-sized eggplant (mine was about 8" long)
- ¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
- Juice of one lemon (about ¼ cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (I used roasted garlic from my Garlic Confit recipe, if using raw garlic, reduce to 2 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- salt, to taste
- Optional garnishes:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (I used garlic infused)
- kalamata olives
- chopped roasted red pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Using a fork, prick holes in the eggplant (I do quite a few in rows down the length and all around).
- Place the eggplant on the baking sheet and into the preheated oven.
- Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the eggplant is soft and partially collapsed.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the eggplant to partially cool.
- Using a knife, cut off the stem end of the eggplant and make a slice, length-wise down the eggplant on one side.
- Fold open the eggplant.
- Using a spoon, scoop the eggplant pulp from the skin and place in the bowl of a food processor* along with the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, cumin and paprika.
- Pulse the ingredients 4-5 times. You don't want it pureed, just chopped.
- Add salt to taste and pulse to combine.
- Spread the baba ganoush on a plate and drizzle with olive oil and top with other garnishes of your choice.
- Serve at room temperature.