An eggplant lover’s delight, baba ghanoush (alternately spelled baba ghanouj), a classic Middle Eastern dip, is delicious scooped up on wedges of pita or other flatbread.
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 hummus is based on chickpeas, making it higher in protein. Baba ghanoush and hummus go well when served together as part of a mezze platter — more about that, next.
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 of course, 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 harissa or any number of regional tomato-based preparations.
- 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