Baba Ganoush (also spelled baba ghanoush) is a Middle Eastern appetizer made with puréed roasted eggplant, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. It’s similar to hummus, but with roasted eggplant instead of chickpeas. Baba Ganoush is typically served along with mezze, a variety of small dishes and appetizers that include other dips and spreads such as hummus and yogurt.
On a recent trip to Dubai, we couldn’t get enough of it! Served with warm, fresh-baked tandoor bread, it was our favorite of all the mezze we enjoyed during a birthday dinner at the Arabian Tea House.
Below, we’ll tell you more about baba ganoush and share an easy recipe for it too. If you’re ready to make it, just hit the jump-to-recipe button or scroll to the bottom of the post. And I think you’ll love how easy it is to make!
WHAT’S IN BABA GANOUSH?
Baba ganoush is essentially a roasted eggplant dip. In its simplest form, roasted eggplant is scraped away from the purple skin into a bowl, mashed, and then mixed together with tahini, olive oil, and spices. Each country in the Middle East has their own variation, some with yogurt or mayonnaise, some more sweet and some more smokey. Some baba ganoush is well blended and smooth. And others you might find more chunky as it’s mixed by hand.
What we loved about having it in Dubai was the presentation. The top of the dip was impressed with a spoon, leaving a perfect cup for drizzling with olive oil, bright green fresh parsley, ruby red pomegranate seeds, and a sprinkling of sumac. Now, if you haven’t tried sumac before, it’s a spice that’s a somewhat tart ground dried sumac berry. It has a almost lemony flavor to it.
Ready to make baba ganoush at home? Here’s what you’ll need:
- Olive Oil
And for garnish, though totally optional:
- olive oil
- chopped fresh parsley
- pomegranate seeds
WHAT DOES BABA GANOUSH TASTE LIKE?
I have to say, my husband is not typically a fan of eggplant, but he loves baba ganoush. It really takes on the flavor of the spices blended with the eggplant. To me, baba ganoush tastes more earthy and smokey than hummus. That smokey flavor sometimes comes from roasting the eggplant on a grill or open flame. But since I roast my eggplant in the oven, I’ve added a bit of smoked paprika to the recipe to get that wonderful smokey layered flavor we remember from trips to Jordan and Dubai.
WHAT DO YOU SERVE WITH BABA GANOUSH?
Baba ganoush is essentially a dip, so you can eat it with any bread, chips or vegetables that you’d normally have with dip. In Dubai, we ate it with tandoor bread. Think of breads that make it easy to scoop, such as sliced toasted pita, naan, or even crackers. When it comes to vegetables, sliced carrots and cucumbers are great. I also like to serve it with endive or chicory lettuce too since each leaf makes a nice scoop.
- tandoor bread
- 1 Large Eggplant (approx. 1 cup once roasted)
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Lime
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1/4 Cup Tahini
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil (plus a little more for roasting eggplant and garnish)
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- parsley and pomegranate seeds (for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 400. Prepare cookie sheet or roasting pan with sheet of parchment paper cut to size.
- Wash eggplant and using a chef's knife, slice off the green top. Then, slice the eggplant in half, lengthwise. Place eggplant, sliced part down on cookie sheet. Roast at 400 for 35 minutes.
- Once the eggplant is done roasting, allow to cool for 20-30 minutes until it is cool enough to touch.
- Scrape roasted eggplant away from the skin and add it to stainer to remove any excess liquid. Add the strained eggplant to a medium sized bowl.
- Add the tahini, olive oil, cumin, and paprika to the bowl of eggplant.
- Wash and dry the lemon, then zest the lemon rind over the bowl of eggplant and spices. Then, cut the lemon in half and juice the lemon, adding the juice to the other ingredients.
- Using a garlic press or chef's knife, mince the two garlic cloves and add them to the bowl of eggplant.
- For a chunky baba ganoush, mix all the ingredients in the bowl by hand using a fork until blended. And for a more smooth baba ganoush, add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until it achieves your preferred consistency.
- Garnish with olive oil, chopped parsley, and pomegranate seeds.