Baba ghanoush is a Middle Eastern dish made of cooked, mashed eggplant, tahini (sesame seed paste), and seasonings. Traditional recipes call for olive oil and salt, but I do not use these ingredients, so they are left out. I serve this as a dip with fresh vegetables or as a topping for potatoes instead of sour cream or butter.
- 1 one-pound purple eggplant
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons tahini (ground sesame seed paste)
- 1 small clove garlic
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. After washing and drying the eggplant, poke it a few times with a knife tip and place it on a baking sheet or dish (with or without parchment paper). Roast for 55 to 60 minutes, until it is softened and wrinkly (see photo below). When done baking, set aside for at least 15 minutes (or enough time so you can handle it).
- Cut the cooled eggplant in half lengthwise and scrape all of the insides into a bowl (including the seeds). Discard the skin and stem.
- Now you will mix the cooked flesh of the eggplant with the remaining ingredients. You can use a fork or a food processor. If using a fork, finely chop the parsley and garlic first, and use firm pressure to mix everything together, so as to break down any stringiness of the eggplant. If using a food processor, blend until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl for serving or storing.
Garlic: I use a small clove of fresh garlic in this recipe because it's easier than roasting it. But even with a small clove, it can be very strong, so beware. To achieve a milder flavor, roast the garlic first (search online for "how to roast garlic," and disregard any call for oil).
Tahini: Tahini is ground sesame paste. It looks like creamy peanut butter but lighter in color and can be found near the peanut butter in the grocery store. I prefer the raw, organic tahini for the best flavor, but it can be more expensive than roasted.
Roasting: Roasting the eggplant over an open flame is traditional, and will produce a smokier, richer flavor. But I have used the oven method since most people will have an oven.
Above: The eggplant before roasting.
Above: The eggplant after roasting for one hour.
FYI: Do you know the difference between roasting and baking? If the food has a solid structure in the oven (like an eggplant or bell pepper), it is called roasting. If you’re cooking food that doesn’t have a solid structure, but will after it’s cooked (like cookies or casseroles), it is called baking.
Above: Baba ghanoush served with cooked potatoes and lightly cooked vegetables.
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