Baba ganoush is one of those things that I eat pretty darn often, but I rarely make at home. Well, that’s about to change because 1) it’s eggplant season, and 2) it’s way too easy and delicious not to have on hand at all times! Seriously, every time I’ve made baba ganoush lately, I haven’t been able to resist eating it by the spoonful standing at the kitchen counter. It’s creamy, it’s lemony, and it has a nice nuttiness thanks to the tahini. If I don’t eat it all in one go, it’s best served on a platter with warm pita and crisp summer veggies.
What is baba ganoush?
If you’re asking, “what the heck is baba ganoush?”, don’t worry – it’s a lot simpler than it sounds. Baba ganoush is a Mediterranean eggplant dip made from roasted or grilled eggplant, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Like hummus, it’s delicious with pita or fresh veggies, but its silky texture and irresistible smoky flavor set it apart. This baba ganoush recipe is a must-try summer dip!
Baba Ganoush Ingredients
My baba ganoush recipe calls for 6 basic ingredients:
- Eggplant, to make the smooth, smoky base
- Tahini, to add creaminess and nutty flavor
- Lemon juice, to brighten it up
- Olive oil, to make it rich and smooth
- And sea salt, to sharpen the nutty, smoky flavor
I list it as optional, but I like to add a small pinch of smoked paprika to amp up the smokiness of the dip. This is still a great recipe without it, but the extra smoky kick really takes it over the top.
Another note – be sure to use good tahini in this recipe. Because there are so few ingredients here, you really taste it, and bitter tahini will make for a bitter dip. My favorite brands are Cedar’s and Seed + Mill.
How to Make Baba Ganoush
Making baba ganoush isn’t difficult, but it does take some time, as the first step is cooking the eggplant. While many traditional recipes ask you to grill the eggplant, I find it easier to roast it in the oven. I wrap 2 medium eggplant in foil so that the eggplant steams inside its skin without the risk of exploding in the oven. Then, I place them on a baking sheet and roast them in a 400-degree oven until very soft, about 1 hour. Grilling instructions are also included in the recipe card below.
Once the cooked eggplant is cool, peel and discard the skin. Then, transfer the eggplant flesh to a strainer over a large bowl or your sink. Let it drain for 20 minutes – this step is essential for creating a thick, creamy dip that won’t become watery.
After that, it’s easy! Blend the eggplant in a food processor with the other ingredients until smooth. Traditionally, baba ganoush is mixed together without a food processor, but I personally like my final dip silky smooth, and the easiest way to achieve that is with a few quick pulses of the food processor.
Last – Garnish it up! Drizzle the dip with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped parsley, a pinch of smoked paprika, and a few red pepper flakes. Sesame seeds would be a good choice too. Warm your pita and serve!
What to Serve with Baba Ganoush
My favorite way to serve baba ganoush is as an appetizer or snack with crisp veggies and pita bread. You could also serve it as the creamy dip in a summer crudité platter or make an epic Mediterranean appetizer board with pita chips, tzatziki, hummus, and fresh or grilled veggies.
If you love this baba ganoush recipe…
Author: Jeanine Donofrio
Recipe type: Appetizer
- 2 medium eggplant
- ¼ cup tahini
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Finely chopped parsley, for garnish
- Pinch of smoked paprika
- Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
- Pita and veggies, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and wrap the eggplant in foil. Roast the eggplant for 50 to 60 minutes, or until it is soft and collapses to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Once cool to the touch, peel the skin from the eggplant, removing any big clumps of seeds. Place the flesh in a strainer over a bowl and let stand for 20 minutes to remove excess water.
- Place the eggplant flesh, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes, if using. Serve with pita and veggies.
Note: For a more traditional, smokier baba ganoush, cook the eggplant on the grill (no foil), until the eggplant is very soft and charred all over. Remove the charred skin and continue with the recipe instructions.