Creamy, savory, smoky eggplant dip with tahini, garlic and citrus, this authentic baba ganoush recipe is a must-try! Expert tips + video.
People of the Mediterranean sure love their dips! From Greek tztaziki to hummus, muhammara, and, of course, baba ganoush! I mean, what better way to kick-start your dinner than a creamy, dreamy dip and some homemade pita to go with it?!
I’m excited to share with you my family’s baba ganoush recipe (smoky eggplant dip), complete with a few secrets that make all the difference!
What is Baba Ganoush?
Baba ganoush–also known as baba ganouj, muttabal, or salat hatzilim–is a smoky, rich, and creamy eggplant dip, traditionally made by mixing tender roasted (or charred) eggplant and nutty tahini with garlic, citrus, and spices.
The literal meaning of baba ganoush or baba ganouj is “spoiled dad,” referring to the fact that when you eat it, you just can’t help but feel a bit spoiled! There is a reason the French call it caviar d’aubergines, it is that delectable!
Luckily, this eggplant dip is easy to make at home, and I’m excited to share with you my family’s recipe complete with tips for how to make baba ganoush perfectly every time!
Baba ganoush ingredients
Let’s walk through the simple ingredients you need to make it:
Eggplant. I use 2 smaller eggplant. Italian eggplant or the smallest glove eggplant you can find work best, they will have less seeds and the flesh is tender and not bitter. Tahini paste. Tahini paste is made of toasted sesame seeds. I use Soom tahini made of 100% roasted and pressed organic Ethiopian White Humera sesame seeds offering a creamy texture and a nutty flavor.Garlic. 1 to 2 fresh garlic cloves, depending on how garlicy you enjoy your dips.Lemon juice. Citrus gives this eggplant dip a nice lift. You can make it as subtle or lemony as you like.Greek Yogurt (secret optional ingredient) If you’re going for a vegan baba ganoush, omit the yogurt, but otherwise it is a great way to thicken the dip, making it even more creamy, while also enhancing the color turning it from a deep beige to something a little brighter and more appealing. Seasonings. Salt and pepper, of course. If you like, add a bit of Sumac and cayenne pepper for heat. Extra virgin olive oil. A drizzle of a rich and peppery extra virgin olive oil over this dip is the perfect way to finish it! Garnish. If you like, add toasted pine nuts and some chopped fresh parsley to serve.
How to make baba ganoush
Baba ganoush is easier to make than you think, you’ll start by cooking the eggplant (either by grilling over open flame or baking it in the oven), and then mixing it with the remaining ingredients to make a delicious dip! Here is how:
Grill or bake the eggplant. Grill the eggplant whole over an open flame over medium-high heat (I used my gas burner, but you can cook it on the grill), turning occasionally, with a pair of tongs, until the eggplant has fully charred on the outside and the flesh has collapsed and softened (about 15 to 20 minutes).
Alternatively, you can roast the eggplant in a high-heated oven. Int his case, cut the eggplant in have and place it flesh side down on a large lightly-oiled baking sheet and roast at 425 F for about 40 minutes or until the eggplant is very soft and cooked through.
Cool and Drain Well. Put the cooked eggplant in a colander and, using a knife, open it up a big so that it will cool quickly and drain its juices. Push down on the eggplant with the back of the spoon so that any excess water will drain well.
Peel off the skin. When cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin off the eggplant and the stem and discard (Note: if you baked the eggplant instead, you may simply need to scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
Gently mix the eggplant with the tahini and remaining ingredients. At this point, make sure your eggplant is fully cooled and is rid of excess water, then transfer it to a large bowl. Add in the tahini (a good ¼ cup for rich and nutty flavor), minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, and, the optional secret ingredient, about 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt. Season with a good pinch of kosher salt, and if you like, a little sumac and Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes, if you like heat. Using a wooden spoon, mix gently to combine.
Chill. If you have the time, cover the baba gnoush and chill it in the fridge for a few minutes or sit it aside while you work on something else
Serve. Spread the baba ganoush on a serving rimmed plate or bowl and drizzle with a good bit of extra virgin olive oil. Finish with toasted pine nuts and fresh parsley.
What to serve with it
Obviously, I’m a big fan of serving babaganoush the traditional way with pita bread to dip. But you can use baba ganoush in different ways:
As a spread. Just smear a bit of baba ganoush on sandwich bread. It will add so much more dimension and flavor to an ordinary sandwich! As part of a larger mezze platterAs a side to grilled lamb chops or chicken kabobsTo create the perfect dinner bowl! Add baba ganoush next to your favorite protein and a side salad for the perfect dinner bowl (something like I did with chicken shawarma bowls here).
5 Important tips for the best baba gnoush:
If you’re looking for the best smoky flavor, grill your eggplant (whole) over open flame until fully charred on all sides. Like I mentioned earlier, you can always roast the eggplant in the oven, if that is all that is available to you. But if you have access to a gas burner, that is the best way to get the smokiest eggplant dip! (Tip: cover up around the burner with some foil like I do in the video, it can get messy)Don’t skip the draining step, no one likes a watery baba ghanouj! For best consistency and texture, do not use a food processor or a blender. Instead, stir gently using a wooden spoon. This eggplant dip is meant to be creamy and rustic with some texture, it is not meant to be extra smooth. If you do really want to use a food processor, only pulse a few times to combine so that it does not turn watery. Chill or set aside for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the dip to thicken (chilling will help it). For vegan Baba Ganoush, simply omit the Greek yogurt. I use a little bit, and I think it does help the consistency and texture, but can certainly do without.
More Recipe FAQs
Although it tastes super rich, creamy, and delightful indulgent, you can see from the list of ingredients that it is a healthy option. The main ingredient here is eggplant, which is a great source of vitamin B, vitamin E, fiber, and antioxidants. Plus, we have things like garlic, citrus, and tahini, which is also rich in nutrients and contains some anti-inflammatory properties. Baba ganoush is Mediterranean diet friendly, vegetarian (vegan if you don’t use the yogurt), and fairly low in carbs.
Both are popular delicious dips throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East. But, they are two very different dips. While hummus is made of cooked chickpeas with tahini, garlic, and citrus, the star ingredient in baba ganoush is eggplant (grilled or roasted). The preparation method is also different. Hummus is meant to be silky smooth, and it is prepared in a food processor (see how to make hummus). Baba ghanouj is a more rustic dip that is best prepared by gently mixing the cooked eggplants with the rest of the ingredients using a wooden spoon or a fork. A food processor is not recommended for making this eggplant dip because you do risk the texture as it can easily become runny.
Homemade baba ganoush can be stored in the fridge in a tight-lid container for about 4 days or so (some say up to a week, but mine never lasts that long).
More dips to try
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Baba Ganoush Recipe
For best texture, mix the eggplant as directed using a wooden spoon or a fork rather than a food processor. This dip is meant to be creamy but on the rustic side with some texture.
Store leftovers in a tightly-closed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
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This article first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2015 and has recently been updated with new information and media for readers’ benefit.