This is the Baba Ganoush I’ve always wanted to make. Creamy, with just enough texture and lots of smokey eggplant flavor without bitterness. This recipe is naturally vegan and gluten free, making it a great appetizer for a crowd.
Baba ganoush, a Middle Eastern dip made with eggplant (also known as aubergine), is a recipe I’ve played around with for years. I mean, it’s incredibly simple, but everyone has their own method. I’ve tried many of them, some with great results…then some, not so great. This easy recipe is the one I keep making over and over. Let’s break it down a bit…
Grill, Roast or Broil?
How you prepare the eggplant can make a difference. Grilling the eggplant probably gives you the most smokey flavor. Grill it over a medium-high flame, turning frequently for about forty minutes or until extremely soft. The thing with grilling is, a grill may not be available all year long or at all and really, standing over a grill for forty minutes isn’t my idea of fun.
Some suggest grilling the eggplant over a medium open flame over a stovetop, turning it often until soft and squishy. Although, this is a nice alternative to grilling outdoors, I’m not into the clean up portion of this.
Oven roasting is another method. You roast the eggplant in a 450F oven for about forty to fifty minutes. This is an easy way to cook and soften the eggplant without much fuss. The only problem I find with this is not getting much of that smokey flavor that baba ganoush is known for.
My preferred approach is broiling the eggplant. Broiling is just an easy way to soften the eggplant while getting a bit of a char to give you that smokey flavor. And…clean up is simple. Isn’t that perfection all by itself?
To Strain or Not to Strain?
Not all recipes for baba ganoush call for straining the eggplant. Some feel that the liquid gives the dip its smokey flavor, while others say it waters it down. I agree that the extra moisture isn’t needed. Straining it leaves you with the creamiest end result with a concentrated flavor. You can leave the cooked eggplant in a strainer for thirty minutes or even up to an hour or more. Test it out to see how you like it best.
Many recipes don’t address the seeds in the eggplant, but if you’ve noticed, every eggplant is different. More mature, larger eggplant can have larger, sometimes unpalatable seeds. If you notice, after roasting, that there are clumps of seeds within the bottom portion of the eggplant, you may want to remove them. You’ll never get them all, and that’s not the goal anyway, but I do remove large clumps of seeds when possible.
Food Processor, Blender or Simply, by Hand?
You’ve probably already guessed that I’m going to tell you to do this by hand, right? You’re right! No matter how gingerly you may try to pulse your processor or blender, you’ll probably end up with a silky smooth baba ganoush. That’s not the end goal here. Baba ganoush should be creamy with a soft texture, but not mushy. You’ll have cooked your eggplant to a perfect softness that doesn’t need much to be worked into the perfect dip. Do it by hand simply with a fork and that ease will make you love this even more.
What Can I Do With Baba Ganoush?
Baba ganoush makes a tasty appetizer, served with warmed pita, pita chips or fresh vegetables. It’s also delicious spread on a sandwich, in a wrap or even on a veggie burger or falafel sandwich. It’s even wonderful on a flatbread pizza with cheese! Be sure to try that! You’ll love it!
- 2 - 3 eggplants, about 2 - 2½ pounds
- 2 small cloves garlic, finely minced
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- kosher salt
- fresh parsley for serving
- ground cayenne for serving
- Preheat your broiler to 550F degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place the eggplants on the baking sheet. Poke them just a few times each with a fork.
- Broil the eggplant, about 6 inches away from the top heat source, for about 40 to 50 minutes, turning them just a bit every 10 minutes. Once the eggplant have collapsed into themselves and are soft all the way through, they are done.
- Remove from the oven and wrap the foil sheet up and around the eggplant. Allow them to steam in the foil packet for about 15 minutes.
- Once cooled down a bit, remove the insides of the eggplant and place it in a sieve over a bowl. Using a small spoon, remove any tough seed membranes. Allow the eggplant to drain for about 30 to 45 minutes. Discard any liquid in the bowl.
- Place the eggplant in a medium bowl. Add the garlic and tahini. Using a fork, whisk the mixture together until creamy. Add the lemon juice and continue whisking. Drizzle in the olive oil beating until smooth. Add salt, to taste.
- Refrigerate the dip for at least 30 minutes before serving. Add a sprinkle of fresh parsley, a few pinches of cayenne pepper and a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil before serving.
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