I started making baba ganoush when I did my first Whole30. At the time, I was obsessed with hummus and had no idea how I would go an entire 30 days without my favorite dip. It was a serious problem. I did a little research and found that baba ganoush was a similar style dip, but instead of chickpeas, it is made with roasted eggplant.
At that time there were not as many “Whole30” approved items at the grocery and every pre-made baba ganoush I came across had added sugar or some weird additive as a preservative. I decided I was going to have to learn to make this dip.
Thank goodness I did, it is now one of my most favorite things. Anytime I see if on a menu, ordered. I have found a few pre-packaged options that will suffice when I am feeling lazy, but really this recipe is so delish you will never want store bought.
Baba ganoush is a mixture of smokey, creamy, nutty, and I make mine with a hint of spice. The key to me is to grill the eggplant. You can most definitely use the oven and get the same texture and still a very good result, but it’s the difference in a grilled burger vs. a pan seared burger. Grilled just gives that char that cannot be replaced in a conventional oven.
Either way you decide, make sure to get the flame hot enough to scorch the eggplant. On the grill, heat to about 350 then set the eggplant (which I pierce with a knife prior) directly on the hot grates, no oil. The same could be done under a broiler in the oven. Flip every 5 minutes until the eggplant is soft and all the sides pretty much torched. Then remove eggplant and place in a ziplock. The plastic bag allows the eggplant to continue to steam and helps with the removal of the skin.
In a large bowl, mix together the tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne (use more of less depending on your taste, this recipe is medium) cumin, salt and pepper. If you are doing this on Whole30, make sure to double check for additives in the tahini, while some do, the organic kinds usually do not. While the flavors are melding, slice the eggplant in half and allow any excess water to drain out. Scrape out the “meat” of the eggplant, removing and discarding the skin. You may be able to just peel off the skin with out scraping.
Mix 3/4 of the eggplant in with tahini mixture, reserving a little of the eggplant for later. Now add the mix into a food processor or magic bullet. Blend until is is creamy. Take the reserved eggplant and chop into small pieces then stir into the creamy mixture. This dip does not have to be as creamy as hummus, in fact you could just chop the eggplant and stir the entire mixture. If you love eggplant you’ll like it chunkier. I like mine mostly creamy with a few chucks.
I like to scoop mine into a bowl, then top with chopped parsley, smoked paprika, and olive oil. I found a spice at the Dekalb County Farmers Market here in Atlanta called Zatar, Apparently it is a popular middle eastern spice mix with thyme and sesame seeds. Anyway, I think it’s pretty great sprinkled on top, but you by no means have to have this. Serve your dip with veggies if you are Whole30, or go traditional with pita bread. However you eat this baba ganoush, you are sure to be hooked to this smokey, creamy goodness. Enjoy!