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Best Baba Ghanoush Ever: Easy Roasted Eggplant Dip

February 26, 2014

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Who knew that hummus, once thought of as an exotic dish, would one day be the belle of the grocery-store ball, with dozens of ready-made varieties for sale? Meanwhile, another Mediterranean import, baba ghanoush, still flies under a lot of people’s food radar. It's a shame too, since the creamy, roasted eggplant dip is just as worthy of widespread popularity--besides being delicious, the eggplant is packed with iron, calcium, fiber, and phytonutrients, plus it contains superfoods garlic and lemon! Even if your grocery store does carry baba ghanoush, your best bet is to make your own, since much like hummus, it's far superior when you make it from scratch (and super easy!).

Making baba ghanoush requires one more step than making hummus, since the eggplants have to be roasted first. Don't be tempted to skip this part--that’s what gives it such a unique, smoky taste. If roasting an eggplant seems like a chore, just pop one in the oven the next time you’re roasting vegetables for dinner, then use it to make baba ghanoush the next day.

Basic baba ghanoush recipes are all similar, but most fans of the dip have their own preferences for proportions (another thing it has in common with hummus). Don’t be afraid to use more or less garlic to suit your taste, or to adjust the heat. You might even enjoy stirring in some chopped tomatoes or roasted red peppers for flavor and color, or adding some Kalamata olives. 

While baba ghanoush is naturally vegan, gluten-free adherents should note that some brands of sesame tahini use flour as a thickener. Check the label to be certain, or only purchase raw tahini, which is made solely from plain sesame paste with no additional ingredients. 

Baba Ghanoush

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • tsp. ground cumin
  • cup sesame tahini
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Chopped parsley and extra virgin olive oil, to garnish

Directions

1. Preheat oven broiler to highest setting. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, and brush cut sides with olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt. Place eggplant halves on a baking sheet, cut-side down, and prick skins with a fork or skewer. Broil until skin is charred, about 10-15 minutes.

2. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees, and bake eggplants about 10-15 more minutes, until insides are soft and cooked. Let cool thoroughly.

3. Scoop out insides into a bowl and mash thoroughly with a fork. Add garlic, cumin, tahini, and lemon juice, and stir well to combine. 

4. Top baba ghanoush with parsley and drizzled olive oil, and serve with warm pita bread, cut vegetables, or slices of fresh baguette for dipping.

Spicier variation: Stir in 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper flakes or 1 tsp. sriracha-style hot sauce.

Do you have a favorite baba ghanoush variation? Share with us in the comments below!