Baba Ganoush is a delicious, healthy roasted eggplant dip you could easily make all summer long. This amazing Middle Eastern dip is smooth, silky, smoky, and savory. It’s made with grilled eggplant, tahini, olive oil, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Serve it with warm pita bread, crackers, or veggies!
Hummus is one of the most popular dips out there but I want to introduce you to another delicious Middle Eastern dip! Baba Ganoush! You may have heard of it or may not. Either way, you should try and you might just love it as much as hummus. (Many people even confuse it with hummus.)
While Baba Ganoush and hummus may be similar in appearance and consistency, that’s where the similarities end. In fact, the actual texture isn’t all that similar once you take a bite. The biggest similarities between the dips is that they were both originated in Eastern Mediterranean regions, they’re both made with tahini, and they have the same dippers like na’an and pita.
Hummus is made with a base of chickpeas, while Baba Ganoush is made with a base of grilled eggplant. Because of the chickpeas, hummus has some grain to it. Baba Ganoush, on the other hand, is totally smooth. Also, because the eggplant is grilled, it has the most delectable smoky, savory flavor that you can really only accomplish with grilling.
Baba Ganoush is a delicious party appetizer, so if you’re planning a summer soiree, this is a great recipe to keep in mind! It’s light enough to snack on and savory enough to hit the spot. Plus, it can be served with an array of dippers, so there’s a little something there for everyone. I also love the fact that it’s vegetarian, so it fits everyone’s diets even more so. Next time you’re planning on firing up the grill, try making this roasted eggplant dip!
Where did Baba Ganoush originate?
This delicious, smoky, eggplant dip originated in the Eastern Mediterranean region and has roots in Iraq, Armenia, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and Turkey. Each country adds a little special touch of ingredients that they are known for. At the base of this tasty dip always lies eggplant, tahini, lemon, and olive oil.
How to Make Baba Ganoush
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- Eggplants – It’s important to choose smaller/thinner eggplant. Since you will be roasting them on the grill, it’s important to cook the eggplant flesh completely through before the skin burns. So, opt for 3 smaller ones versus 2 large ones.
- Lemon Juice – It’s very important to use freshly squeezed lemon juice from real lemons.
- Tahini – Tahini is a classic Middle Eastern sesame paste. It provides a wonderful earthy flavor to the already richly flavored Baba Ganoush.
- Yogurt – Use plain, full fat yogurt for the best results.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic cannot be substituted in this recipe! It really will provide the best flavor.
- Olive Oil – Try to use a good quality olive oil.
- Parsley – Fresh parsley adds a delicious aroma and pop of vibrant color.
Note – You can work this dip by hand or use a food processor. If you choose to do it by hand, you will need to put in some work to emulsify the oil into the eggplant. The dip will still have a little texture when done by hand as well. With the food processor, the dip will be more smooth and it will be a much faster process.
The most important part is to prepare the eggplant right! The grill is your best choice (and “the only” if at all possible). It’s the only way to infuse the delicious smoky flavor that makes this dip so classic. Of course, try to use charcoal or wood fire grill for the smoky flavor.
Prepare the eggplant.
Before adding the eggplant to the grill, pierce a couple of holes in the eggplant with a small knife. The eggplant WILL almost always explode on you if you don’t. Do not take that chance, as it can cause burns if it explodes.
Prepare the grill:
Preheat your grill. You can cook over the direct heat the entire time if your grill grate is pretty high away from the charcoals. If it’s close to the coals, you’ll need to create two temperature zones.
Note that to achieve the smoky flavor, you’ll need to grill over charcoal or wood. Gas grill won’t provide the smoky flavor.
Grill the eggplant:
Roast the eggplant over direct heat for about 7-10 minutes per side. Turn it as it cooks. The skin should end up nice and charred, while the inside of the eggplant is fully cooked and soft.
Using metal tongs, remove the eggplant from the grill and set it aside to cool completely.
Blend the ingredients together:
Peel the skin off of the eggplant and place the eggplant flesh into a strainer. Sprinkle it with flaky sea salt.
Combine all of the ingredients, except for the eggplant, in a blender.
Give the eggplant a squeeze to get rid of the excess juices.
Pulse everything together until smooth.
Garnish the Baba Ganoush with fresh parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve it with veggies, pita, na’an. or flatbread.
How to Cook Eggplant Without a Grill:
You can always roast the eggplant in the oven.
Place lightly oiled eggplants onto a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. You’ll still want to make sure there are a few holes poked in them. Remember to check the temperature that your parchment paper can withstand. Some parchment paper can take higher temperatures than others.
The trick to broiling the eggplants is an easy 2 step process. Start on low broil and turn the eggplants quarter of the way, using long tongs, every 5-7 minutes. Then, turn on the high broil heat and let them char for a couple of minutes on each side. This will ensure perfectly cooked eggplant throughout. You don’t want charred skin and raw eggplant inside!
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I serve with Baba Ganoush?
Veggies and breads are the most classic options to serve with this dip. Choose sturdy veggies that are easy to scoop the dip with like cucumbers, carrots, celery, red peppers.
Nice and soft breads like na’an, pita, and flatbreads are always a great choices as well.
For crunchy options, choose pita chips and crackers. You can always serve it along other dishes to make a nice spread, so serve it next to hummus, tzatziki sauce, fattoush salad, tabbouleh, dolmas, and many other delicious Eastern Mediterranean dishes.
How to choose an eggplant?
It’s important to get smaller, thinner eggplants. Don’t try and get the bigger, fatter eggplants or they may not cook through as well. Since you will be roasting them on the grill, it’s important to cook the eggplant flesh until completely soft, before the skin burns. So opt for 3 smaller ones vs. 2 large ones.
Can I make It ahead of time?
To save some time, you can definitely grill the eggplant ahead of time. Once the eggplant is completely cooked, take it off the grill and let it rest and cool to room temperature. When it’s cooled, store it in the food storage container with a lid, in the refrigerator. Store it for a day or two before making the dip, but not much longer.
When you’re ready to make the dip, peel the skin off and follow the rest of the instructions or drain, squeeze, and blend it into the dip!
Store prepared Baba Ganoush dip in an air-tight food storage container, in the refrigerator. Properly stored, it should be good for up to 4 days.
Baba Ganoush Recipe
- 2 lb eggplants smaller in size
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2-4 tbsp olive oil
- coarse salt
- fresh parsley to garnish
- olive oil to garnish
- Pierce a couple of holes in each eggplant for the steam to escape while it's cooking.
- Set up and preheat your grill. If your grill great goes pretty high away from the charcoals, you can cook over direct heat the whole time. If your grill grate is pretty close to the coals, you will need to create two temperature zones.Note: it's best to grill the eggplant over charcoal or wood grill for the best smoky flavor. Gas grill won't give you the smoky flavor.
- Place the eggplant over the direct heat and let it roast and cook for 7-10 minutes per side, turning it as it cooks. You want your eggplant to be completely cooked and soft on the inside and the skin to be nice and charred on the outside.
- Take the eggplant off the grill using large tongs and let it cool completely.
- Peel the skin off the eggplant off and plate the eggplant flesh into a strainer. Sprinkle with sea salt and let it sit while you prepare other ingredients.
- Combine all of the ingredients (besides eggplant) in a blender. Give the eggplant a squeeze to get rid of the excess juices.
- Pulse all of the ingredients together until smooth.
- Garnish with some fresh parsley and olive oil. Serve this dip with veggies, pita, na'an, or flatbread.