Move over hummus, another Middle Eastern dip deserves the spotlight! I hate to think that some of you have only heard about baba ganoush because of Wedding Crashers, but the reality is it just doesn’t get enough credit. Before I go any further though I need to admit that I dislike tahini. I cringe when I think of it. I don’t like when hummus has a strong tahini taste, and do not get me started with tahini dressings. This creamy baba ganoush is light on the tahini, so if you are like me and cringe to it this recipe is for you.
I grew up eating Middle Eastern food, I am taking the entire spectrum here, shawarma, hummus, manakeesh, tabouleh, zhoug, kibbeh, shall I go on? There was one shawarma place in Brooklyn called Pita off the Corner that had the best shawarma sandwich, but most importantly the best baba ganoush. It was so good that it became my standard for all baba ganoush that followed. It was lighter in color, creamy not chunky, and was bright in flavor with a subtle eggplant taste. I can still hear my mother complaining about several places that didn’t even come close to its flavor. “They burnt the eggplant” she would say. It took me a few go’s at the recipe but I was finally about to recreate the baba ganoush, and dare I say the secret is mayo.
Now before someone comes at me for adding mayo to my baba ganoush, try it. Mayo makes this creamy, it makes it a perfect dip for toasted pita bread or a great spread for a shawarma sandwich. Truth is sometimes I just eat it with a spoon.
What You’ll Need for Baba Ganoush
- Purple Eggplant – You have options of how you want to cook this. Grilling is the preferred method. It will give the eggplant a smoky taste that takes the creamy baba ganoush to the next level. The cook time is also cut in half approx. 20-30 minutes depending on how big of an eggplant you use. Oven roasting is the next best option but keep in mind you lose that fire taste, and it can take up to an hour to roast.
- Tahini – We didn’t eliminate it completely. Tahini still gives it flavor, and a little goes a long way. These days most super markets sell tahini. If you have the ability to go to a specialty market then I would check there first.
- Lemon -Fresh only.
- Salt & Pepper
Just a Few Tips
- Whether you choose to grill or roast, the eggplant is going to release a lot of liquid as it comes down to room temperature before blending or mixing. You don’t need this excess liquid. Don’t squeeze it out by any means, some of the juices are good, but you can dispose of the liquid that pools at the bottom of the bowl.
- If opting to use this as a dip, drizzle some EVOO, top with chopped parsley or mint, and kick it up with some chili flakes.
If you are looking to explore more Middle Eastern dips, check out my Labneh with Harissa Roasted Tomatoes
- Grill (if opting to grill the eggplant)
- Food Processor
- 2-3 purple eggplants 2 if large, 3 if medium
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp mayo
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice approx half a lemon
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2-3 tsp salt kosher, start with 2 add if needed.
- 1/4 tsp pepper freshly cracked
- Poke 2-3 small slits in the eggplant to prevent it from popping and to assist with cooking.
- Preheat the grill, once hot put your eggplants on and close the lid. Every 10 minutes flip to prevent scorching the eggplant. Depending on how hot your grill is this should take roughly 20-30 minutes. If opting to roast, preheat the oven to 425°. Rotate every 10 minutes. In both scenarios the eggplant is done when it is soft and can be pierced with a fork or knife with ease.
- Place eggplant in a bowl and let it cool to room temp. Once cooled peel away the skin, and cut off the tops. (The skin should peel away easily).
- In a food processor, add all the ingredients and pulse until smooth. Either enjoy right away , or let the flavors develop by placing it in the fridge for a few hours.
- No food processor? No problem! If cooked correctly you don’t need a food processor to break down the eggplant. Using a fork combine all ingredients in a bowl.