Baba Ganoush is a creamy eggplant dip that’s perfect for healthy snacking or for rounding out a big Mediterranean appetizer platter.
Hummus gets all the popularity when it comes to Mediterranean dips, but I think Baba Ganoush is even better.
It’s creamy and rich, smoky, and fresh, all while being compatible to pretty much any eating style. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and full of healthy ingredients.
And unlike hummus, you don’t need a food processor or any fancy equipment to make it!
What is Baba Ganoush?
If you’re not familiar with it already, it’s not obvious what exactly it is.
Baba Ganoush is a dip made primarily of roasted or grilled eggplant, accented in a similar way as hummus, with olive oil, tahini, lemon, spices, and herbs.
I first tried it many years ago at Daniel Boulud’s Mediterranean Restaurant Boulud Sud in NYC, along with a bunch of other dips I had never heard of before (Muhammara is another Mediterranean dip that I’m waiting to catch on).
Seriously, if you haven’t tried baba ganoush before, it’s time. It’s one of my “regulars” that I make every couple of weeks.
How to Cook Eggplant for Baba Ganoush:
My two preferred ways for cooking the eggplant are to either roast in the oven or cook on the grill.
Roasting in the oven is more convenient, but grilling gives the dip a better flavor.
My rule of thumb is that if I’ve got some grilling planned for some other meal, I’ll piggyback on the grill’s heat and cook some eggplant in there so I can make this dip.
But if I don’t have the grill going for something else, or if the weather is crummy, I just roast the eggplant in the oven. It still makes for excellent dip.
To roast the eggplant, set the whole eggplants directly on a sheet pan.
Roast the eggplant for about an hour, until the eggplants are collapsed and the skin is very wrinkly.
You can see that when I push the eggplant down with a spoon, it’s basically collapsed into nothing:
Side note: I don’t prick the eggplants with a fork. When roasting things like sweet potatoes, eggplants, or anything else with a whole skin around it, I think it cooks better when there aren’t breaks in the skin. I have never had any of these vegetables explode in the oven during cooking.
Slit the skins of the eggplants with a sharp knife, then use a spoon to scoop out the insides:
Make sure to really scrape the skins well, removing as much eggplant as possible. Then, you’ll want to discard the remaining skins:
Place the scooped eggplant in a fine meshed strainer, and let it drain for at least 15 minutes, but preferably 30-45 if you’ve got the time.
You’ll notice that a substantial amount of liquid will drain from the eggplant:
Discard this liquid. We don’t want the baba ganoush to be watery!
How to Make Baba Ganoush:
Place the drained eggplant in a large bowl, and add extra virgin olive oil, tahini, fresh lemon juice, fresh parsley, pressed garlic, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and cumin.
Stir everything together until it’s well mixed, then taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Homemade Pita bread is my favorite pairing, but sometimes I’ll eat it with carrot sticks, sliced radishes, cucumbers, or whatever else strikes me at the time.
If you want to make a big Mediterranean platter for feasting, you can add some Tabbouleh, Roasted Garlic Hummus, Stuffed Grape Leaves, Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, and Turkey Burgers with Feta alongside. Enjoy!
- 3 lbs eggplant (I had 3 medium)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 tbsp tahini
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves chopped
- 2 garlic cloves pressed (1 tsp pressed garlic)
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (if you grill the eggplant instead of roasting, you can use regular paprika)
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- To cook the eggplant, you can either roast it in the oven or cook it on the grill. Roasting is more convenient, but grilling gives a better flavor. I usually only grill it when I'm grilling something else too.
- To Roast: Preheat the oven to 450F. Place the whole eggplants on a sheet pan and roast for 55-60 minutes, until the eggplant has collapsed and the skin is very wrinkly (see blog post photo if necessary).
- To Grill: Set the heat to around 450F. Place the whole eggplants directly on the grill grates and cover the grill with a lid. Let the eggplant cook for 50-60 minutes, until the eggplant has collapsed and the skin is very wrinkly.
- Slit the eggplants open with a sharp knife and use a spoon to scrape all the insides out with a spoon. Make sure you really scrape right against the skin to get that eggplant as well, but try not to include any actual pieces of skin in the mix. Discard the eggplant skins.
- Put the flesh into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, to allow the eggplant to drain, for at least 15 minutes. I like to do 30-45 minutes if I have the time.
- Place the drained eggplant into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Toss well to distribute the flavors, then taste it and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
- Serve with pita bread or chips, carrots, sliced radish, or whatever else strikes your fancy. Keep leftovers stored in the fridge, for up to 5 days. Enjoy!