An eggplant lover’s delight, baba ghanoush (alternately spelled baba ghanouj), is a classic Middle Eastern dip that’s delicious scooped up on wedges of pita or other flatbread and fresh vegetables.
A chunky puree flavored simply with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic, the eggplant is traditionally broiled or baked at high heat to give it a smoky flavor. Naturally vegan, there’s no need to “veganize” this recipe.
What’s the difference between baba ghanoush and hummus? Actually, they do use quite similar ingredients. The main difference is that while baba is made with eggplant and tahini, hummus is based on chickpeas and tahini, making the latter higher in protein.
Both baba ghanoush and hummus go well when served together as part of a mezze platter — more about that, ahead.
How to serve: Baba ghanoush is most often served as an appetizer or as part of a Middle Eastern mezze platter along with hummus,and plenty of fresh pita or other flatbread.
Other components of a mezze platter can include tabbouli, stuffed grape leaves, raw vegetables, and other spreads or dips, like hummus, harissa, zaalouk, or any number of regional preparations. Below, shown with zaalouk.
- 2 medium eggplants, about 2 pounds total
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
- Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- More olive oil (mixed with paprika or cayenne pepper if you'd like), optional
- Fresh whole or chopped parsley leaves, optional
- Fresh pita wedges or other flatbread and raw vegetables
- Preheat the oven to 425º F. Arrange the whole eggplants on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until the skin is charred and the eggplants have collapsed, turning the eggplants with tongs once or twice, about 40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow the eggplants to cool. When cool enough to handle, slip off the skins and stems.
- Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden brown.
- Combine the eggplant, the onion and garlic mixture, and the remaining ingredients in a food processor. Process until the mixture is a slightly chunky puree. Transfer to a serving container.
- If you'd like, top with a swirl of extra olive oil (mixed with paprika or cayenne), and fresh parsley. Either way, serve at room temperature with pita wedges, other flatbread, and/or raw vegetables.
- Store leftovers of baba ghanoush in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it will keep for 3 or 4 days; however, it’s best used as fresh as possible. Bring to room temperature before serving again.
If you like this Middle Eastern dip, you might also enjoy …
Here are lots more easy vegan appetizers and snacks.
Photos of baba ghanoush: Laroshenko/Bigstock