Smoky Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghannouj)

Baba ghanouj

Love this dip! Easy, healthful and exotic. (My food trifecta!)

If you can find any late-season eggplants at the market, grab’em. Throw them on the grill with whatever else you’re cooking. Let the eggplants get nice and charred, and then wrap them up until you feel like making this irresistible dip. (Even mid-winter, you can make this in the oven with grocery store eggplants.) 

Grilled eggplants

Farmers’ Market eggplants over lump hardwood charcoal.

I think there are as many different ways to spell Baba Ghannouj as there are to make it. “Ghannouj” vs. “ghanoush”, smooth vs. chunky, etc. I took the spelling from a tub I found at Whole Foods, and the recipe from Mark Bittman’s book, The Best Recipes in the World. It’s a smooth version, but with nice body thanks to the addition of toasted pine nuts (or almonds). Serve with toasted naan or flatbread, pita chips or carrot sticks.

Baba Ghannouj

Makes 8+ appetizer portions                                                          Print Recipe

  • 2-4 eggplants (depending on size), about 1 pound total
  • ½ cup pine nuts or almonds
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Chopped parsley and extra virgin olive oil for garnish (optional)

Heat a charcoal (preferable) or gas grill to high, or the oven to 500F. Pierce the eggplants in a few places with a knife or skewer. (This prevents eggplant explosions.) Place directly on the grill grate of a hot grill, or on a foil-lined baking sheet in the oven. Turn eggplants a few times, cooking until charred on all sides and completely soft/collapsing. Set aside to cool, or cover and refrigerate until ready to make dip.

Nice and charred.

Nice and charred.

Roasted eggplant "guts", ready for the food processor.

Roasted eggplant “guts”, ready for the food processor.

While the eggplant is roasting, toast the ½ cup pine nuts or almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking occasionally, until lightly browned. (Do not walk away! They will burn quickly.)

Skillet-toasted pine nuts.

Skillet-toasted pine nuts.

When the eggplant is cool, peel off charred skin and stems and add flesh to food processor. Add toasted nuts, lemon juice, tahini, garlic and salt. Purée until smooth. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

If your tahini looks separated like this, just stir it up a little.

If your tahini looks separated like this, just stir it up a little.

IMG_7184

The rest of the ingredients added to the food processor bowl. I pressed the clove of garlic here, but you don’t really need to. The food processor will take care of it. (One less thing to clean.)

IMG_7185

Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped parsley, if desired.

I love toasted (in the toaster oven) naan bread, cut into wedges with this dip. However, if not serving immediately, pita chips are better.

I love toasted (in the toaster oven) naan bread, cut into wedges with this dip. However, if not serving immediately, pita chips are better.

Serve with toasted naan, pita chips, carrot sticks, etc. – or try as a spread on sandwiches or veggie burgers.  I might even try this on my turkey burgers instead of the cilantro sauce.

Next up: Favorite Fall Recipes!

One thought on “Smoky Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghannouj)

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