I really enjoy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods and have for absolutely years. I love medleys of flavors and the aromatic spices. In addition, I really like healthy dips and palate-exciting ways to eat my fruits and veggies. Baba ghanouj (and it’s many spellings and cultural significances) is nutritious and delicious. Enjoy it as a dip or condiment (such as a delicious sandwich spread). You can eat it along side hummus, or go all out with a big Mediterranean mezzeh platter of dolma, falafel, kubba, tabbouleh, shawarma, cheese, figs, melon, artichokes, yogurts, fattoush, green salad, etc. Yum, yum! Has anyone made baba ghanouj into a salad dressing? Let me know if you try it out this way. How do you eat it? What version of the recipe do you use?

The other day I made baba ghanouj with sonomafoodgirl. (Thank you so much for helping!) I’m so glad we finally made it. I had intended to for a while, since my last batch turned out so well. The Hummus Guy at the farmers market is always sold out when I want it, so I gave up on waiting. It’s probably cheaper to make my own anyway. My version is inspired by Denise Hajibrahim’s recipe on You Tube.

I added a lot more garlic though and just mixed everything together to store in in jars instead of plating it to serve and eat right away. Both of the methods described below are really easy. The most time consuming bit is waiting for the eggplant to finish cooking.

Garlicy Baba Ghanouj
This dip is also called baba ghanoush, baba ganush, baba ghannouj, and baba ghannoug, depending on which region the batch is from (or who makes it).

4 Medium to 6 Large Cloves Raw or Roasted Garlic, minced
Pinch Sea Salt
1/2 C Lemon Juice
1 C Tahini Paste (Sesame Seed Butter)
2 Medium Eggplants
3 T Olive Oil, garnish
4 T Sesame Seeds, garnish
3 T Parsley, chopped garnish
2 T Smoked or Sweet Paprika or Ground Chili, garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap in foil. Bake for 30 minutes to 40 minutes or until soft. Set aside for 15 minutes. Be patient. Be careful not to burn yourself. The eggplant is still very hot. Unwrap them. Cut off the tops. Peel off the skins with either a fork or your fingers, but try not to peel away the tasty goodness just beneath the skin. Cut the flesh into chunks for easier blending.

In food processor or in a mixing bowl with a fork, combine garlic and salt. Mix in lemon juice and tahini until well combined. Add in eggplant and process or mash together until smooth.

Spoon the mixture into the middle of a large plate or shallow dish. Spread it evenly from the center in a circular motion with a spoon by simultaneously turning it.
If using a plate, create a moat in a circle around a center “island” with the back of the spoon. Just fill the space. It doesn’t not have to be symmetrical; wobbly ovals and ellipses are just as tasty. If you don’t like the way it looks though, you can always smooth it out and start over.
For a shallow dish, use the spoon to evenly spread it out and fill in all of the corners.
Garnish the middle with parsley. Sprinkle paprika around edge of the dip. Pour the oil into the well you created earlier or drizzle it across the top.

These are only two ways to serve the dip. You can always decorate in different patterns or shapes. There are also many flavor variations of baba ghanouj out there with different herbs and spices, like chile powder, cayenne pepper, smoky/sweet paprika, cilantro, flat or curly parsley, mild/strong/sweet garlic, cumin, coriander; it’s your choice really. Keep in mind there are also varieties of eggplant, too. You also can always forgo decorating entirely, merely processing everything together and mixing the garnishes in last, or leave out the garnish herbs and spices completely.