Baba Ganoush (or Baba Ghanoush) translates as ‘pampered father’ and is a staple of any mezza meal in the Middle East.
I love this easy baba ganoush recipe, and the delicious dish you end up with!
I have no doubt you will love this Baba Ganoush recipe as well.
Referred to at times as the ugly stepsister of hummus, it definitely has its own charms.
Personally, I can’t get enough of eggplant, and this is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it.
What is Baba Ganoush?
Baba Ganoush is a thick roasted eggplant dip or spread, common in eastern Middle Eastern cuisine.
This appetizing snack can be made from various ingredients.
Typically it consists of mashed eggplant, tahini (ground sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon, and garlic.
This dish often draws comparisons to hummus which also originated in the Eastern Mediterranean.
If you find yourself a huge fan of hummus you should definitely give Baba Ganoush a try!
This great recipe provides your diet with fiber as well as several crucial vitamins; eggplant also contains anthocyanin.
This is a red-blue flavonoid plant pigment which has been found to help drop blood pressure.
It is easy to love this recipe, full of antioxidants, that can help ward off certain cancers.
Good for heart health, eggplant should be a must in every diet.
How to Make Baba Ganoush
To make Baba Ganoush you first place whole eggplants on a baking tray.
Then poke each eggplant three times with a fork to break the skin.
This is to make sure your eggplant doesn’t explode during the cooking process.
Bake the eggplant in a high heated oven for one hour, or until they are thoroughly cooked.
After cooking scoop out the insides of the eggplants, then place in a bowl and discard the skins.
Add onions, tomatoes, salt, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini then stir until completely mixed with a rough consistency.
Place on a plate, garnish with chopped fresh parsley, top with extra virgin olive oil.
One wonderful thing about Baba Ganoush is how forgiving it is to make.
You can make it exactly how you like it.
Want more tomatoes?
Put in more tomatoes.
Like a bit more garlic or tahini, or less of any ingredient?
Go for it, make it just how you like to eat it.
If you like it a bit spicy, add a chopped up hot pepper and stir.
Do I Need a Gas Stove to Cook Eggplant?
You don’t need an open flame to cook your eggplant, although some people like to grill their eggplant.
I actually prefer to bake my eggplant in the oven, a method I find a lot easier.
Just pop them on a tray, poke them with a fork to break the skin, let them cook until they are soft and mushy.
When roasting on a gas stove, with open flame, you’re in a constant fear of burning yourself!
Cooking is all about adjusting; making it work for you, your kitchen, and your environment.
We all have to adapt as chefs.
If one way doesn’t work, you can bet there will be three other solutions that do!
What is Eggplant?
Known as aubergine if you’re from anywhere other than the USA!
Eggplant is a superfood, and is very flexible as an ingredient in cooking.
It can be included in vegetarian dishes to add a meatiness with extra substance and flavor.
Eggplant is part of the nightshade family which includes tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers, and is packed with goodness.
Eggplants grow like tomatoes and hang from the vines of a plant that can grow up to several feet in height!
There are many different varieties of eggplant and they all range slightly in taste and texture.
Eggplants are generally described as having a bitter taste that is quite pleasant with a spongy texture.
There are over 10 different varieties of eggplant that can be harvested and consumed.
Varieties of Eggplant
Globe Eggplant – These are the large, dark purple eggplants that most of us will be familiar with, often the only variety sold in grocery stores.
Graffiti Eggplant – Known as Sicilian Eggplant it has distinctive purple and white markings in the shape of stripes.
Italian Eggplant – Very similar in shape to the globe eggplant, however, it tends to be smaller and more delicate.
White Eggplant – Despite their completely white skin color, they have the same flesh as any other eggplant.
Thai Eggplant – Small, round, with a green and whitish color, these eggplants are called for in Thai recipes.
Indian Eggplant – This is a small variety also known as baby eggplant, found in Indian recipes has a dark purple color.
Asian Eggplant – Recognized by their long, narrow shape, with a thin and delicate skin, and few seeds.
Green Eggplants – With a light colored green skin, this plump variety is mild in flavor, and is quite creamy when cooked.
Fairy Tale Eggplant – This tiny, long and narrow variety with a little bit of a curve, sporting purple and white stripes is great for grilling.
How to Prepare Eggplant
Remove the stems and leaves by cutting off the top.
Next you will cut the eggplant into pieces of your desired thickness.
This typically ranges from ½ inch to 1 inch thick slices, or thicker depending on what you are using them for.
The eggplant slices should be spread out in a single layer and sprinkled liberally with salt.
Let the eggplant rest for 20 minutes to allow for the salt to penetrate the flesh and extract some liquid.
Once the time has elapsed, blot the eggplant with a paper towel to remove excess salt and liquid.
Sweating the eggplant like this allows for a nuttier, and less bitter flavor of eggplant.
This technique is not always necessary on modern eggplants that have been bred to be less bitter.
How to Cut Eggplant
It seems like a simple question but it’s one I get asked a lot.
Clean the eggplant by running it under cold running water, then wiping dry with a paper towel.
I like leaving the skin on mine for more nutrition and additional flavor.
If peeling, you can optionally brush the peeled flesh with lemon juice to minimize browning.
Depending on how you are going to be using the eggplant will determine how you cut it.
Cut in half, lengthwise, then cut each half into quarters lengthwise.
Cut each of those pieces in half to make smaller more manageable eggplant chunks.
Grill or roast as they are after brushing with olive oil.
You can also cut an eggplant in circles by measuring equal slices, and placing them oiled, on a baking sheet.
After baking this way the eggplant can be used in most recipes.
Cubing the eggplant is another way to prepare it, usually for use in curries and stews.
Whatever the method you choose, you’ll be able to find the best cut for the dish you are preparing.
Tips for Making Baba Ganoush
- Ensure that the eggplant is cooked thoroughly (until soft). Otherwise, it will be difficult to separate from the skin and won’t taste very good!
- How can you tell if your eggplant is properly cooked? The filling will literally fall out.
- For the best taste, serve your baba ganoush at room temperature.
- If you want to have an authentic smokey taste, add a few drops of liquid smoke. Some people recommend cooking eggplants over an open flame on your stove top but I find this doesn’t cook the eggplant properly.
Baba Ganoush Recipe
- Place whole eggplants on tray. Poke each eggplant three times with a fork to break the skin. (This will ensure your eggplant doesn't explode in the oven.)
- Bake at 400°F (200°C) for one hour or until the eggplant is thoroughly cooked.
- Once cooked scoop out the insides of the eggplants and place in a bowl. Discard skins.
- Using a potato masher, fork or similar utensil mash up eggplant until completely mashed.
- Add onions, tomato, salt, garlic lemon juice, and tahini.
- Stir until completely mixed with a rough consistency.
- Place on a plate, garnish with chopped parsley, top with extra virgin olive oil.