Baba Ghanoush Made Easy

Baba Ghanoush [pronounced BahBuh Guh Noosh here in the South] is a rich, savory eggplant dip—one I am openly obsessed with. Yet I always assumed it was way too much trouble to make on my own. Shame on me for assuming.

Last week, I finally decided to give Baba Ghanoush a fair shot and craft my own easy rendition using this homegrown eggplant I was gifted.

Since using this little guy pictured for my first experiment, I’ve already picked up two more eggplants from local farmers and whipped up round two.

I can’t say my version tops authentic Middle Eastern or Mediterranean Baba Ghanoush, but I can say the result was nothing short of Baba-licious. Not only is this Baba dip creamy and pleasing to the tastebuds, it’s packed with fiber and B vitamins.

Here’s a quick look at how to make your own Baba Ghanoush following my easy bake and blend approach.

INGREDIENTS

My ingredient list is short and sweet.

  • eggplant
  • oil
  • tahini
  • fresh garlic
  • pepper
  • salt
  • lemon and/or lime

Eggplant: For my first experiment, I used only the medium-sized eggplant pictured. Although it made enough for a solo snack, it was a humble amount of dip and took a lot of energy to salvage every bit from the blender. For my second batch, I used nearly two entire large eggplants and it was enough to share amongst three as a filling appetizer.

Oil: I used sunflower oil to cook with. As for the oil to blend in the dip itself, I recommend using extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or any oil you’re especially partial to or comfortable using.

PROCESS

Although there are more involved methods out there, for my Baba Ghanoush making, I opted for a simple bake and blend approach.

Rinse and cut your eggplant in ¼-½ inch slices. Place slices on an oiled baking pan, and drizzle a light layer of oil on top of your slices. If you’d like to soak up some of the eggplant’s signature bitterness, you can go ahead and sprinkle on a bit of salt now.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. Flip the slices over halfway through baking to make sure they aren’t sticking and to cook evenly. (TIP: you can also do this on the grill if you prefer!)

The eggplant can be considered done when the pieces are looking soft and browned, and the edges are curling. Remove from oven to let cool.

After the eggplant has cooled, gently peel off the skin (it should easily fall away from the meaty eggplant pulp). Scoop your eggplant directly into your blender. Discard skins or snack on them as you go. (Skin packs extra nutrients!).

Add a large spoonful of tahini, a clove of fresh chopped garlic, and a splash of oil. Blend on high for 30-60 seconds, or until blended thoroughly.

If the mixture remains too thick or if you have difficulty blending, add a splash of water or two. Once blended to your liking, add salt and pepper to taste, and a squirt of fresh lemon and/or lime juice. You can also add a dash of cumin or curry for extra smokiness. Blend/pulse once more on low.

And…that’s it! You’re baba is ready. Prepare to dig in, or let sit in fridge first to chill. Your call.

Serve with fresh cut veggies, crackers, carrot chips, pretzels, warm pita bread, or your favorite small bites. Squeeze additional lemon or lime juice on top before serving for another hint of citrus. Optional garnishes I personally suggest include sun-dried tomatoes and sunflower seeds.

Since eggplant is in season here in Florida through the fall and winter, you can bet this is going to be an appetizer I regularly bring to the table to share.

ALTERNATIVES

If you’re just beginning to dabble in the dip world and aren’t quite comfortable going all out with baking and blending up eggplant, I recommend starting simply with hummus. 

If you have your heart set on eggplant after reading this, but would rather enjoy a more hearty meal, try baking up my Chia-Coated Eggplant.