Baba Ganoush is a Middle Eastern eggplant dip mixed with olive oil, tahini, garlic and lemon juice. This delicious creamy dip with a delicate smoky flavour is incredibly easy to make.
Many people might cringe when they hear that a dish is made with eggplant. I felt the same way for many years. I thought the taste was bitter and the texture soggy and mushy. However, if eggplant is cooked correctly, the taste is really wonderful and special. The first time I tried ‘Aubergine Caviar’ (it was in France) I was sure I wasn’t going to like it, but I tried it out of politeness and absolutely loved the taste. The smoky, creamy taste was so different and not soggy and bitter at all.
What is Baba Ganoush?
Baba Ganoush is a Middle Eastern dip which is very similar to the more well known Hummus, but is made with roasted eggplant instead of chickpeas. It is much creamier and richer in taste and the smokiness is what sets it apart.
What ingredients to use?
The correct amount of ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Baba Ganoush only uses a handful of ingredients, but balance is key for a good Baba Ganoush. Use enough of each ingredient and don’t let any one of them overpower the flavour of the dish.
Eggplant: Just use the regular eggplant that you can find in any supermarket.
Tahini: Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. It has a nice nutty and earthy flavour and is slightly bitter. If the taste is too bitter, add slightly less of this tahini paste to the mixture so it comes out to your liking. If you are really not a fan of the tahini paste, or you don’t have any at home, you can make it without. The taste will be slightly different, but it will still be a roasted eggplant dip.
Garlic: Use one clove of garlic with one eggplant. Since the garlic is blended raw, using too much can very fast overpower the taste in the eggplant dip.
Olive Oil: Always use a good quality olive oil to add to this dip, preferably an Extra Virgin.
Lemon juice: Adding lemon juice gives a delicious zing to the baba ganoush and lifts up the dish, but using too much citrus can take the flavours out of balance. So best to add a little bit and taste after mixing as you can always add more lemon juice later.
Spices: Apart from salt and pepper, I add ground cumin and smoked paprika powder. I love the taste of both spices. Cumin goes really well with tahini since it also has a nutty and earthy taste. Adding a bit of smoked paprika powder adds to the smoky flavour of the dip. If you have no smoke paprika available, use normal paprika powder instead. If you like some extra heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper. I personally prefer the eggplant dip to be mild, so I don’t add any chilli to it.
How to prepare the roasted eggplant?
The most important thing for making baba ganoush is the preparation of the eggplant. The eggplant should be roasted or grilled, not cooked. Roasting or grilling brings out the smoky flavour. I simply roast the eggplant in the oven, nothing complicated. Use the whole eggplant, with the peel. Make some slices with a sharp knife so the peel does not split from the heat in the oven. Put the eggplant in an oven dish, and leave it for 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F). Check with a sharp knife if the inside is completely soft and cooked, if not leave it a few minutes longer until soft.
When done, take the eggplant out of the oven and leave it to cool for a couple of minutes. Cut in half and scoop out the inside. Throw the peel away. Put the flesh of the eggplant in a blender or food processor together with all the other ingredients (garlic, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil and spices). If you don’t have a blender or food processor, you can make it by hand. With a fork, mash the eggplant, grate the garlic and mix with all the other ingredients. The texture will be less smooth, but the taste still delicious.
I recommend not to add too much tahini, olive oil and lemon during the first mix. Rather add less and taste. Add more if you think the dish needs more to balance the flavours to your liking. Put the finished mixture in the fridge to cool for about 2 hours before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Baba ganoush can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. Put the leftover dip in a sealed container and serve it cold or at room temperature.
The main difference is the key ingredient. Hummus is made with chickpeas and baba ganoush is made with roasted eggplant. Both dips contain tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. The main ingredients are what provide the difference in flavour.
How to serve baba ganoush
Baba Ganoush dip is normally served as an appetizer or part of a mezze board. It combines really well with other Mediterranean dips like Hummus or Greek Tzatziki. The flavours are all very different but work well together.
Serve the dip with some pita bread, flat bread, crackers, or raw vegetable sticks, like cucumbers, carrots or celery.
- 1 large eggplant
- 3 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon tahini paste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- fresh parsley
- olive oil
- paprika powder
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Pierce a few small holes into the skin of the eggplant and put in the oven on an oven dish. Roast the eggplant for 45 minutes until soft.
- Take the eggplant out of the oven and let it cool down a bit. Cut the roasted eggplant in half and scoop out the insides. Throw away the skin. Add the insides into a blender or food processor. Add the olive oil, garlic, tahini pasta, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper and blend to a smooth mixture. Add a bit of lemon juice, blend again and taste. If you need more lemon juice, tahini or other spices, add more. Make sure the mixture is not too runny.
- Put the baba ganoush in a sealed container in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours.
- Serve the dip with a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of paprika powder (smoked or standard) and some fresh parsley, finely chopped.
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