Besides the fact that it’s fun to say, Baba ghanoush is actually quite fun to make, too. Baba ghanoush sounds like it would be overly complicated to make, but in reality, this easy baba ghanoush recipe is simply eggplant blended up with lemon juice, tahini, garlic and sea salt.
While most recipes ask you to char the eggplant on a grill or over the flame of a gas stove, you can also use your broiler to achieve smoky flavor while saving time and energy. This tip proves to be especially useful, too, if you have neither a grill nor a gas stove, which is not uncommon for those of you cooking from your first or “starter” kitchen.
Baba ghanoush, which resembled traditional hummus, is a Levantine dish of cooked eggplant mixed with onions, tomatoes, olive oil and various seasonings. You’ll find it in Middle Eastern cuisine but you’ll also find it in the supermarket next to the packaged prepared dips and spreads.
What’s it taste like? It’s creamy, tastes way more decadent than it actually is and has a balance between slightly sweet notes and savory undertones from the lemon and tahini. It’s naturally vegan and gluten-free so you can serve it to pretty much everyone without worrying that you’re going to send someone into an allergic panic.
It’s a great alternative to hummus because it feels slightly fancier and a touch more gourmet than the simplest of dips. If you’re not a big cook but you know how to use a food processor, this is a surefire way to impress your guests. Serve room temperature with slightly warmed pita bread. What is it that they say….fake it ’til you make it? This is that.
- 1 large eggplant
- ¼ cup tahini, plus more as needed
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
- Large pinch of ground cumin
- Salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or in your broiler. Preheat an oven to 375°F.
- Prick the eggplant with a fork in several places and place on the grill or broiler rack 4 to 5 inches from the fire. Cook eggplant, turning frequently, until the skin blackens and blisters and the flesh just begins to feel soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet and bake until very soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and peel off and discard the skin. Place the eggplant flesh in a bowl.
- Using a fork, mash the eggplant to a paste. Add the ¼ cup tahini, the garlic, the ¼ cup lemon juice and the cumin and mix well. Season with salt, then taste and add more tahini and/or lemon juice, if needed.
- Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and spread with the back of a spoon to form a shallow well. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the pine nuts. Serve at room temperature.