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Eggplant Dip: Creamy Baba Ganoush Recipe

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home". She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated".

Baba ganoush & Pita Bread

Baba ganoush & Pita Bread

Recipe for Baba Ganoush (baba ganush, ghannouj, ganouj, ghannoug or babaganoosh)

Strolling through a market in Peru is a purely sensual experience: the perfume of mangoes filling the air, the cacophony of buyers bargaining for goods and the sight of brightly hued vegetables.

Eggplant is a winner in the looks department. With its smooth, purplish-black skin and curvaceous shape, it's hard to pass by. Seduced by its beauty, I often end up with a bagful then find myself wondering what to do with so many eggplants.

Although not a fan of eggplant, my husband finds them perfectly delicious disguised as baba ganoush. A dip or spread of Mediterranean origin, baba ganoush became popular in the United States with the rise of vegetarianism in the 1960s.

But you don't have to be a vegan to enjoy baba ganoush. Fabulous served with crackers, veggies or pita bread, its haunting flavor is smoky and complex. What if you don't have tahini, one of the traditional ingredients? Although it can be found in many modern grocery stores, you'll find a substitution below that is both authentic and tasty. Enjoy!


What is Tahini?

Tahini is a thick paste made of sesame seeds that imparts a unique, nutty flavor to many Middle Eastern dishes. If you can't find it where you live, why not make it at home?

Toast 3 cups of sesame seeds in a 350 Fahrenheit oven for about 10 minutes, or until light golden brown. You can also toast them in a dry skillet on the stove, stirring them constantly so they don't burn. Burnt sesame seeds make bitter tahini. Toss the lightly toasted sesame seeds into a blender or food processor container with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil and blend until a smooth, medium-thick paste forms.

My favorite commercial brand of tahini is Al Wadi (see Amazon capsule below). Creamier and nuttier than homemade tahini, it's all-natural and comes in unbreakable plastic jars. We used to take up valuable suitcase space on our trips back to Peru from the United States, but now we order from iherb.com. Iherb ships any package less than 4 pounds to Peru for only $4!

Tips

  • Authentic baba ganoush should be nuanced and smoky. Roasting yields a milder baba ganoush. If you'd like smokier flavor, broil eggplants for 10 minutes before roasting.
  • For still smokier baba ganoush, season the dip with smoked salt.
  • If the eggplants are large, cut them in half before roasting. Moisten the cut side with olive oil and bake (cut side down) on a baking sheet for about an hour.
  • Since the delicate flavor of eggplant is easily overwhelmed, it is best to go light on the tahini, cumin and garlic.
  • Lemon juice brightens the dip.
  • For light and creamy texture, whip the baba ganoush in a blender.
  • For authentic texture, pulse ingredients in a food processor until blended but still chunky.


Creamy Baba Ganoush

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

50 min

1 hour 5 min

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 4-6 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds)
  • 3 Tablespoons tahini paste
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • chopped parsley and paprika, for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. For smokier dip broil eggplants for 10 minutes until charred.
  2. If eggplants are very large, cut them in half. Grease cut sides with olive oil and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet. If small or medium-sized, place whole eggplants on the foil-lined baking sheet. Roast at 500 Fahrenheit for 40-50 minutes or until eggplants are very soft.
  3. Let them cool and scoop out the pulp. Discard the skins. You should have about 2 cups of eggplant pulp.
  4. Place all ingredients in the container of a blender or food processor. Pulse until chunky or blend until light and creamy, according to preference.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with parsley and paprika.
  6. Serve with crudites, crackers, pita bread, etc.
Baba ganoush with pita bread

Baba ganoush with pita bread

Variations

  • Out of tahini? Replace it with mayonnaise or yogurt for a light and smoky dip.
  • Add one finely chopped tomato and one roasted red pepper for garden tahini dip.


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Comments

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on November 05, 2014:

Thanks for the comment and post grand old lady!

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on November 05, 2014:

I love baba ganoush and more so, the idea of using yourt for tahini sauce. I'm posting this on my pinterest account.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 04, 2013:

RTalloni, my husband can't stand eggplant but he LOVES this baba ganoush! I didn't tell him it was eggplant the first time we ate the dip, but now he loves it even after being aware of the ingredient list. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. It's funny that the name turns you off...maybe this recipe will turn it around. : ) Thanks for the pin!

RTalloni on December 04, 2013:

Something about eggplant's name has kept me from it, but again today I saw how inviting they look in the produce department with their richly colored skins. I was trying to think of a way I could use them to get me over the name (don't ask--can't explain it) and here I find this jewel of a recipe…thanks! I'm very much looking forward to trying this dip soon and will try to let you know how it goes. Pinning to my Ways w/ Food: Fruit/Veggies board.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 07, 2013:

If you have a chance, please let me know what you think AudreyHowitt! This is one of our favorites. : )

Audrey Howitt from California on January 07, 2013:

Just came back to look this up again! Yum! Going off to try it out now

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 15, 2012:

Au fait, thank you for dropping by. Enjoy this delicious dish. It is a great appetizer. I really appreciate the vote and share, too!

C E Clark from North Texas on December 15, 2012:

This sounds delicious and would be a great appetizer. Bookmarking this recipe. Voted up, useful, interesting, and will share!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 13, 2012:

Fastfreta, it's so sweet of you to pay me a visit. Baba ganoush is one of my favorites. It's delicious and good for you, too! Thank you for the vote and pin.

Alfreta Sailor from Southern California on December 13, 2012:

I've always wanted to know what that, (Baba Ganoush), was. It sounds simply scrumptious. I would like to try it here in the US, before I tried making it. I'm going to look for a place to get some.

Very good hub. Voted up, pinned, useful. Thanks Vespawolf for sharing this with us.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on November 02, 2012:

Ishwaryaa, I hope you can try this delicious and healthy dip. Naan is similar to pita and would be delicious eaten with this dip. Thanks so much for the comment,vote, share and pin!

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on November 02, 2012:

A well-written recipe hub! This is something I have not heard before till now thanks to you. Your Tahini paste recipe and Baba Ganoush are something I would like to make - I enjoy trying exotic dishes. Your instructions are detailed and the photos looked tasty - pita bread looked like Indian naan. Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up, pinned & shared

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on October 15, 2012:

Crystal Tatum, as a vegetarian you definitely need to try this dish! It's a healthy addition to any diet. Enjoy!

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on October 15, 2012:

I've never had baba ganoush but it sounds like a great dish for a vegetarian like me. Very informative hub. Voted up and useful.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on October 15, 2012:

Peggy W, we often make baba ganoush with mayonnaise when we run out of tahini. Thanks for coming by!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 15, 2012:

We absolutely love baba ganoush! Although we can easily purchase the tahini paste, it is nice to know how it is made. Enjoyed your suggestions for the variations of this recipe also. Useful, interesting and will share. Thanks for your recipe!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on October 06, 2012:

Hello Abhimanyu Singh92! The breads are called pita and they're similar to chapati. You could make this eggplant dish and eat it with either roti or chapati. It would be just as delicious! I hope you can try it and thank you for coming by.

Abhimanyu Singh Baghel from Satna, Madhya Pradesh (India) on October 06, 2012:

The breads look a bit like the Indian flatbread 'chapati' or 'roti'. I never knew something so good-looking and delicious can be cooked out of eggplants! :D

voted up and shared. :)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on October 06, 2012:

Anupma, it really is delicious and so healthy, too. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on October 06, 2012:

JackieLynnley, I'm glad you've found a way to use up some of those delicious garden-fresh eggplants! Enjoy...it's delicious with the added tomato and red pepper. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Dr Anupma Srivastava from India on October 05, 2012:

Wow it looks yummy. Now I am hungry. Certainly I will try it.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on October 05, 2012:

I love eggplant dishes and I grew them this year wondering about new recipes, so glad to find this. I will add the tomato and red pepper, sounds so yummy! Thanks.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 22, 2012:

Yes, it's a tasty and healthy dip. Thanks for your comment, Doodlehead.

Doodlehead from Northern California on September 22, 2012:

Love this stuff. It's to die for. Yummy

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 21, 2012:

Hypenbird, I admire anyone who keeps a vegan diet. This recipe is so delicious and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Thank you for coming by.

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on September 21, 2012:

We love eggplant and are vegan so this recipe gets us excited. I love this recipe and promise to make it very soon. Thank you very much.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 21, 2012:

It's really very easy to make. I hope you have a chance to try it sometime! Thanks for coming by, AudreyHowitt. : )

Audrey Howitt from California on September 21, 2012:

This looks wonderful. I have never tried making it although I love it!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 20, 2012:

The flavors of the baba ganoush and tabouli go together so well. : ) Thanks for coming by.

Kerry43 on September 20, 2012:

My gosh I am now so hungry! lol

Thanks:)

Kerry

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 20, 2012:

Om Paramapoonya...thank you for your kind comment! It is a simple but delicious dip. I appreciate the time you took to come by.

Om Paramapoonya on September 20, 2012:

Baba Ganoush! I can just say this all day. LOL.......It's a really lovely-sounding title for such a simple dip. Thanks a lot for the recipe.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 19, 2012:

Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment, SherryDigital!

Sherry Duffy from Here. There. Everywhere. Currently: Portland, OR on September 19, 2012:

Mmmm.. looks delicious!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 19, 2012:

You're welcome, jbrock2041. Enjoy and thank you for the comment.

jbrock2041 from Park City, UT on September 19, 2012:

Looks very yummy and healthy. Thank you for sharing.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 19, 2012:

Jezebellamina, thanks so much for the kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed the description and hope you have a chance to make this delicious dip yourself. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I'm happy to meet you here on HubPages.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 19, 2012:

I'm happy this introduced you to a new food, unknown spy! I hope you have a chance to try it. Thank you for coming back by.

Jessica from Dallas, TX on September 19, 2012:

I love your writing style! Your words are the perfect description to explain to someone who has never tried this dip exactly what it tastes like.

I absolutely adore baba ganoush but haven't ventured to make it myself yet. Your recipe is mouthwatering and I look forward to trying it!

Great work, voted up and shared!

Life Under Construction from Neverland on September 19, 2012:

looks so yummy and delicious! never heard of this before nor seen this recipe.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 18, 2012:

Rebeccamealey, you're so right about the eggplant! It's a unique and exotic vegetable. Thank you for the kind words.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 18, 2012:

Doodlehead, glad you like it! Thanks for the comment.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 18, 2012:

Alocsin, thanks so much for your continued support. : )

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on September 18, 2012:

Very nice hub! Eggplant is a rather exotic veggie, and you have captured the essence of that very well!

Doodlehead from Northern California on September 18, 2012:

Uggggggggghhhh to die for.......

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on September 18, 2012:

Peru seems to be a hotbed of exotic dishes from around the world. Voting this Up and Useful. SHARED.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 18, 2012:

DeborahNeyens, I'm sorry to hear about your eggplants this year! Maybe they'll still come through for you. This really is a delicious recipe and a great way to use up garden eggplants. It's always nice to hear from you...thanks for the comment!

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on September 18, 2012:

This looks delicious. I had such an abundance of eggplants in the garden last year but despite having three plants this year, not a single eggplant so far! I will pin this recipe so if my plants ever decide to produce before it's too late, I can try this. Otherwise, I'll have to wait until next year. : (

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 18, 2012:

Letitialicious, with the smoked paprika, charred eggplants and smoked salt you'll have the smokiest baba ganoush ever! I also enjoy it that way...yum. Now I'm in the mood to make another batch. Thanks so much fo the comment, vote, share and pin. : )

Letitialicious from Paris via San Diego on September 18, 2012:

I could live off Lebanese food, with which I associate this. I've never tried to make it, but have often noticed what a range in tastiness there can be. When I see how it's possible to adapt the recipe, I understand. I love smokiness too, and will char the heck out those eggplants when I try this. I even have some smoked paprika I can add. Good tip about the smoked salt. I'll try to find some here. Voted, shared and pinned.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 17, 2012:

Thanks, Casimiro, for the nice comment and vote. I really appreciate it!

Casimiro on September 17, 2012:

What an excellent hub! The writing is so light and enjoyable, an easy read and a great recipe. Voted up for sure.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 17, 2012:

TycoonSam, there are a lot of variations of this recipe out there. I hope you have a chance to try this one! Thank you for dropping by.

TycoonSam from Washington, MI on September 17, 2012:

Recipe looks and sounds delicious. I've had Baba Ganoush many times at different restaurants. They have all tasted a little bit different but all were delicious.

Thank you!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 17, 2012:

Randomcreative, it's a delicious, healthy and easy snack or appetizer. I hope you try it sometime. thank you for coming by!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 16, 2012:

Love your recipes! Mouth watering photos here. I really need to give this a try sometime.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 16, 2012:

It is very yummy. Thanks again for commenting!

Tammy from North Carolina on September 16, 2012:

Thanks! That sounds really, really good.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 16, 2012:

Tammyswallow, thank you so much for your kind compliment! If you love eggplant then you'll definitely love baba ganoush! Tahini can be found in the Mediterranean section of many grocery stores in the US. It's a thick paste made of sesame seeds. I'm going to add an Amazon capsule and other additional information right now so you can find it. Thank you for coming by!

Tammy from North Carolina on September 16, 2012:

Wow! I think you need your own cooking show. The writing you add to your recipes is just beautiful. I LOVE eggplant. I would love to make this. I have never heard of tahini here in the states, but I do use yogurt. This is an outstanding recipe hub!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 16, 2012:

MargaritaEden, thank you for sharing and commenting! Yes, it really is wonderful in so many ways. Enjoy!

MargaritaEden from Oregon on September 15, 2012:

Vespa, very healthy and delicious recipe, sharing it on Facebook.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 15, 2012:

Claudia Tello, thank you for commenting and sharing! Tahini isn't available here in Peru, either, and when I heard about the mayo substitution from a friend I was so happy. It really is just as delicious. I hope you enjoy it and thank you for your generous compliment, as well. ; )

Claudia Tello from Mexico on September 15, 2012:

You have written one of my favorite hubs till now: an unsurpassable opening picture (beautiful by the way), great cooking tips plus variations, and a simple but elegant layout. Congratulations!

I thank you very much for the suggested tahini substitutions, where I live it is pretty difficult to get. The garden tahini dip also sounds fantastic. I will have to try both recipes one of these days, you got me hooked!!!

I shared this one with my facebook friends.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 15, 2012:

MamaKim8, I'm glad you like the looks of this delicious dip! I have a tabouli recipe in the works, and then I'll be hopping over to visit your latest hubs as well! Thanks so much for coming by. It's always nice to hear from you, my friend.

Sasha Kim on September 15, 2012:

oooh.. I just had lunch and this is making my tummy rumble ^_^ It looks so good! I just have to pick up some eggplants on monday and make this!! Voted and shared!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 15, 2012:

GlimmerFanTwin, what a great idea! It would be delicious with a salad or evening drink. Thank you for the vote and comment!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 15, 2012:

Billybuc, I hope you all can try it sometime. It's delicious and makes a great appetizer or snack. Thank you for taking the time to come over and pay me a visit. : )

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 15, 2012:

donnah75, I'm so happy to have introduced you to a new dish. This really is a delicious way to prepare eggplant and you're right...healthy too. Enjoy! Thank you for the vote, comment, share and pin.

Claudia Mitchell on September 15, 2012:

This looks delicious! Love this with a nice salad or just an early evening drink. Voted up!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 15, 2012:

Never heard of it but it looks delicious; I'm game for anything!

Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on September 15, 2012:

Eggplant is one of my favorite foods. I can't believe I have never tried it in this way. I am definitely going to make this recipe. It looks delicious and healthy. Voted up, shared and pinned.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 15, 2012:

SuzieHQ, thank you for being my #1 fan! I really appreciate the support. Yes, a smoothie maker will work just fine. Is yours like a personal blender? Some smoothie makers have a spicket or spout in the front where you can dispense the smoothie. I don't recommend using the spout. Just pour the baba ganoush out into a serving dish. I also love Turkish Meze! yum! Although my husband and I enjoy hummus, too, we actually prefer the baba ganoush. Thanks so much for the vote, comment and share. I wish I could send over a bowl of baba ganoush right now!

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on September 15, 2012:

Hi vespa!

Yep, it's me again, no.1 fan! lol

As a lover of humus and Turkish Meze, this recipe really ticks all my boxes! Yummmmmm. A quick question, i don't have a food processor or blender but do have a new smoothie maker - can I use that instead or just blend by hand?

Awesome intro at the market. instructions, pics and tips . . . you never fail!

Voted up, more and sharing and I want some now!