Smokey Baba Ganoush is a wonderfully rich and creamy Middle Eastern eggplant dip that might just give hummus a run for its money! This healthy vegan appetizer is easy to make, and irresistible.
Like its cousin, hummus, baba ganoush is a very simple but irresistible Middle Eastern dip, only instead of chickpeas, you mash charred and roasted eggplant along with lemon, salt, tahini, olive oil and variable other herbs and spices.
If you love hummus, this is a really nice way to change it up every now and then. A friend made it for me last week and a little light went off in my head…it’s so delicious and yet it totally dropped off my radar many years back. I’m so glad to have rediscovered it.
These Sicilian eggplant are from the farmer’s market. They’re a little sweeter than the dark purple variety, but any kind is fine for baba ganoush. Since you are going to roast them and scrape out the flesh, the larger, rounder eggplant will be easiest to work with.
The defining feature of baba ganoush is the charred eggplant. If you have a gas stove top you can hold the eggplant directly over the fire until the skin blisters and blackens. You could also do this with a kitchen torch or by putting them under the broiler.
You can skip this step and just roast the eggplant in the oven, but the initial blackening subtly flavors the inner flesh with a delicious smokiness. I use this technique with stuffed peppers and it really does make a difference.
When they come out of the oven they’ll look like hell, but don’t worry. It gets better.
All you need to do is cut them in half and scoop out the soft insides. Put the flesh in a food processor and leave the burnt skin behind. Much like a hummus, it’s going to bet blended with tahini, lemon, garlic and salt. From there you have the option of adding fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro, or seasonings like cumin. Taking my cue from David Lebovitz, I bumped up the smokey factor with smoked salt and smoked hot paprika. At the end I sprinkled on some sumac, which is a Middle Eastern spice with a tangy, lemon flavor, and some herbs de Provence. This is a gorgeous dip.
Serve your baba ganoush with some homemade pita bread, or homemade laffa bread, and plenty of olives.
Reader Rave ~
“I made this last night and my fiancé declared it was better than hummus! I had to add a fair amount of salt and a bit more lemon juice, but what a rich, delightful dip made from such simple ingredients! Most babas I’ve researched require dairy, which doesn’t even make sense to me when it’s SO unnecessary–clearly! Thank you for a lovely recipe 🙂 We’ll be making this again and again and I’ll no doubt be photographing and sharing it on my blog. Hope to link back soon!” ~ Cheryl
Smokey Baba Ganoush
- 2 small to medium eggplant
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 tsp smoked sea salt, or regular salt
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 Tbsp tahini
- 1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika, substitute sweet paprika if you don't want heat
- olive oil
- fresh parsley
- sumac, or more paprika
- herbes de Provence
- set oven to 400F
- Poke the skin of the eggplant several times with a fork. Set the eggplants over an open flame to char the skin on all sides. You can do this over a gas flame on the stove top, with a kitchen torch, or under the broiler. Turn the eggplant to evenly blacken the skin. (You can skip this step if you want to.)
- Put the eggplant on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a sharp paring knife pierces the flesh easily.
- Let cool briefly, and then cut in half. Scoop out the flesh and put in the bowl of a food processor. Leave the blackened skin behind.
- Smash the garlic clove and mince it. Add the salt to the garlic and mash it with the back of the knife until it becomes a paste. Put the paste in the processor with the eggplant.
- Add the lemon juice, tahini, and paprika and pulse until the mixture is pureed but still has some texture.
- Taste the baba ganoush and adjust the seasonings if you need to. You may want to add a ittle more salt, lemon, or paprika.
- Chill until ready to eat, the baba ganoush will improve with a little time in the fridge.
- When ready to serve, spread in a bowl and even out the top so it can hold a swirl of oil. Drizzle on the oil, then sprinkle on sumac, herbes, and parsley. Serve with pita, naan, or other flat bread.
Questions and Reviews
Yummmmm! Baba ganoush is one of my favorites to get when I go out for Mediterranean food. I’ve tried several recipes at home, but none of them have lived up to my favorite restaurant’s baba ganoush…until now! This is a keeper. Thanks for sharing.
This is a delicious recipe! I used a milder-type, graffiti eggplant, and after broiling it a bit in the oven and a few minutes roasting, I included the skin in the recipe, too. The skin is thinner and soft and adds a wonderful texture and taste. Because it is a smaller eggplant, it didn’t require much cooking after broiling. I also made a paste of the salt and garlic using a mortar and pestle-just a tip. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.
Sounds great Sarah ~ I’m not sure I’ve seen grafitti eggplants, I’m going to have to look them up!
amazing, this recipe reminds me of why I fell in love with this dish ! 🙂 just made it and I’m having flashbacks to my first bite, thank you!
Thanks Robin — this dip is one of those sleeper recipes, it doesn’t look like much at first glace, but I agree with you, it’s so memorable.
I made this last night and my fiancé declared it was better than hummus! I had to add a fair amount of salt and a bit more lemon juice, but what a rich, delightful dip made from such simple ingredients! Most babas I’ve researched require dairy, which doesn’t even make sense to me when it’s SO unnecessary–clearly! Thank you for a lovely recipe 🙂 We’ll be making this again and again and I’ll no doubt be photographing and sharing it on my blog.. Hope to link back soon!
So glad you liked it, Cheryl. I tend to fall back on hummus so often, so I like having this recipe as an easy alternative. I’m looking forward to your post!
Are you supposed to remove the seeds? Mine turned out a really awful brown color…not as appetizing as yours.
No, I didn’t remove the seeds, Rachel, and I’ve seen baba ganoush darker than mine before, for sure. Was the flavor good, because I think the color can vary from light to darker brown.
The flavor was decent, I’ll probably try again with smaller egg plants. I think it was just that my eggplant was big and likely a little bland.
YES My baba always turns out dark brown, never nice and pale like the pictures I see on the internet. Tastes fine, looks ugly. Any ideas???