Baba Ghanouj (Eggplant Dip)

Like all other foods that involved eggplant, as a child, I did not like baba ghanouj. I preferred its cousin, hommuswhich I devoured without complaint. Well, as my taste buds matured, I decided to give baba ganouj a second chance. I.love.it. Even my brother loves it, and he doesn’t even eat hommus

Baba ghanouj is commonly eaten as an appetizer, or part of the mezze, which is central to Middle Eastern cuisine. Mezze or mezza, which means snack or taste, refers to delicious small plates that are eaten before the main course. These plates include salads, dips, olives, cheeses, meats, and yogurt. Typical dishes vary by country and region in the Middle East. In my family, we often eat hommus, tabouli, fattoush, and baba ghanouj with pita bread and veggies.  

The best accompaniment to mezze is fresh baked bread. At home, we often eat baba ghanouj or hommus with pita or bread called sumoon, which we pick up from the local stores. (If you live in the Metro Detroit area, our go-to stores are Ishtar or Babylon.) When I’m trying to be healthy, I’ll eat the tahini based dips with carrots, cucumbers or celery. But, I’ll be honest, hommus and baba ghanouj taste better with bread. My favorite summer meal is a Middle Eastern salad paired with hommus or baba ghanouj, and a basket of fresh baked bread.  

My grandmother used to talk about bread that was made in a ta-noora (not tandoor), or clay oven. Women used to stick the dough to the sides of the oven, which, due to their extreme heat, quickly cooked the bread. My dad, who grew up in Iraq, told me that these ovens were fueled with cow manure. In this photo from Getty Images, you can see an Iraqi man sculpting clay ovens. If you want to see a modern clay oven in action, this video from Samira’s kitchen demonstrates how to make bread using a ta-noora (bread making starts at about 3 min and ends at 10 min).

Enjoy this recipe for baba ghanouj with bread, veggies, salads or any other way you like!

Ingredients

2 large eggplants

1/2 cup tahini (sesame butter / paste)

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil

4 cloves garlic

Baba Ghanouj Ingredients (tahini, eggplants, lemon, garlic)

Directions

Heat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut a few small slits throughout the eggplant. Cook the eggplants in the oven for about 30 minutes or until tender. (During the summer, I recommend roasting the eggplants on the grill. Adds a wonderful charred flavor that the oven just doesn’t have).

When the eggplants are done cooking, peel the skin. Using a blender, mix the eggplant with tahini, lemon juice, salt, olive oil and garlic. If you prefer a chunkier baba ganouj, mash the mixture with a fork instead of a blender.

Baba Ghanouj with a piece of bread wrapped in a towel

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Candice Written by:

2 Comments

  1. Russell Sullivan
    November 18, 2016
    Reply

    Candice-

    I made your Baba Ghanouj for supper tonight, along with salad [greens, cucumbers, Kalamatas, and rehydrated cherry tomatoes that Jeannie dried this summer], falafel, hummus, and pita bread, washed down with our homemade wine. Natalie and Anthony joined Jeannie and me, as well as my sister who just flew in from Boston to see Jeannie in her remaining days.

    Everyone loved it, including 3-1/2 yr-old Anthony, and it was easy to make. I follow your blog, but don’t usually read the recipes with meat, but there are more without meat than with, and the pictures are almost edible; you certainly have a good camera.

    Thanks, and hope you are well.

    Russell

    • Candice
      December 7, 2016
      Reply

      Hi Mr.Sullivan,

      I’m so glad to hear that everyone enjoyed the baba ghanouj. It’s one of my favorite dishes – I love pairing it with salad, so a side of greens, cucumbers, olives and tomatoes sounds wonderful! I’ll be sure to continue posting a mix of vegetarian and mix dishes. There are plenty of s

      Early this year I got a new camera, so I appreciate the photo compliments. We eat with our eyes as much as our other senses 🙂

      Hope you are well!
      Best,
      Candice

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