Baba Ghanoush

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Baba Ganoush is probably the world’s most popular eggplant dip. It’s home to Middle Eastern cuisine where it’s traditionally served as an appetizer.

I’ll show you how to make authentic Middle Eastern baba ganoush at home. I’ll also explain to you the difference between baba ganoush, mutabal and hummus.

What is Baba Ganoush?

Baba Ganoush is a popular Middle Eastern appetizer. Its main ingredient is eggplant which is traditionally grilled over an open fire or BBQ, peeled and finely chopped. The smoky flavor of the grilled eggplant is what makes baba ganoush so special. It’s naturally vegan and gluten free.

The original Arabic name of the dish is baba ghanouj (the Arabic gh is pronounced similar to the letter r). However, baba ganoush and baba ghanoush are common spellings in the US and other Western countries.

Baba ganoush is often confused with other Middle Eastern dips which have similar ingredients. Before we look at the baba ganoush recipe, let me explain to you the main differences between the dips so you’ll get what you’re actually looking for.

Baba Ganoush vs. Mutabal

Surprisingly, there is a lot of confusion between baba ganoush and mutabal. While the two have grilled eggplant as their main ingredient, the other ingredients aren’t the same which means we’re talking about two different dishes. Mutabal is made with tahini (sesame paste) and often yogurt, while authentic baba ganoush doesn’t contain tahini. Besides, the Middle Eastern baba ganoush recipe calls for tomato and pomegranate syrup, while mutabal doesn’t.

  • Mutabal: Mutabal is a creamy dip made of grilled eggplant, tahini (sesame paste), yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and salt. In the Middle East, mutabal is actually much more popular than baba ganoush.
  • Baba Ganoush: Baba Ganoush is also made of grilled eggplant. It’s mixed with finely chopped tomato, walnuts, pomegranate syrup, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Some people also add other vegetables such as finely chopped peppers. In contrast to mutabal, baba ganoush has no tahini or yogurt!
Middle Eastern Mutabal Recipe
Mutabal: Another eggplant dip which is very similar to baba ganoush

Baba Ganoush vs. Hummus

Another hugely popular Middle Eastern dip is hummus. There’s a major difference between hummus and baba ganoush in terms of ingredients and taste. While baba ganoush is an eggplant dip, hummus is a chickpea dip. You’ll be able to make out the difference very easily.

Both hummus and baba ganoush are very healthy and delicious. In the Middle East, they are often served together as appetizers.

Confused baba ganoush, mutabal and hummus? Be sure to check out my mutabal and hummus recipes, too. I’m sure you’re going to love all three dishes.

Baba Ganoush Ingredients

To make baba ganoush, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Eggplant: Eggplant is the key ingredient for baba ganoush. For authentic baba ganoush, the eggplant will be grilled on a BBQ or on a gas stove. That’s what creates the irresistible smoky flavor. Oven roasting the eggplant is an alternative if you don’t have a BBQ or gas stove.
  • Tomato: Regular tomatoes are perfect. They will be finely chopped.
  • Walnuts: Walnuts add to the taste. If you’re allergic to walnuts, you can omit them.
  • Pomegranate syrup: Pomegranate syrup, also known as pomegranate molasses, is a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine. It has a sweet-sour flavor that goes really well with baba ganoush and many other dishes.
  • Lemon: Freshly squeezed lemon juice produces the best flavor. Bottled lemon juice is a suitable alternative. One lemon is equal to about 50 ml (⅕ US cup) lemon juice.
  • Garlic: Cloves of garlic are most common. They can be crushed, pressed or finely chopped.
  • Salt: A pinch of salt is all you need.
  • Garnish: Olive oil, pomegranate seeds and some finely chopped parsley give the final touch to your dish.

Tahini and yogurt aren’t part of authentic baba ganoush. They are common in mutabal, which is very similar to baba ganoush. However, you’re free to make your own version of baba ganoush by adding tahini and yogurt. I tried it and it was delicious.

Note: Quantities can be found in the recipe card at the end of this recipe and can be adjusted according to the amount of servings you’d like to make.

How to Make Baba Ganoush

Ready to make baba ganoush? Let’s get started!

Step 1: Cut the eggplant

Start off by scoring the eggplants with a kitchen knife on all sides. The cuts shouldn’t be too deep and it doesn’t matter if they look pretty. Don’t peel the eggplant and don’t cut off the stem!

Step 2: Grill the eggplant

To follow the original baba ganoush recipe, you’ll have to grill the eggplant on an open fire or on a BBQ. If you have a gas stove, that’s perfect, as that’s definitely the fastest way to grill the eggplant. Place them on the stove and grill for 3-4 minutes. Turn occasionally to ensure they are grilled on all sides.

Don’t have a BBQ or gas stove? Then you can also roast the eggplant in the oven. Preheat your oven before getting started. Place the eggplant on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven (on an upper rail) at 230°C (450°F) for 45-60 minutes.

Whatever method you use, the whole eggplant should get soft on the inside. The skin will get dark and wrinkled.

Step 3: Ice bath

Grab a large bowl and fill it with cold water (half full). Remove the eggplant from the flame/oven and transfer it into the bowl. Submerge and leave for about 5 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the water and squeeze it to remove any excess water. If you find it too hot, you can let it cool for a few more minutes.

Step 4: Peel the eggplant

This step will reveal whether you’ve done things right during the grilling process. If the eggplant was fully grilled, the skin can be easily peeled off. If it wasn’t, the skin will be sticking onto the eggplant and it will be hard to peel.

Cut off the stalk and dispose of it. Peel the eggplant with your hands or use a small knife to peel off the skin. It’s okay if there are small bits of skin remaining.

Step 5: Dice the eggplant

Place the peeled eggplant on a cutting board. Finely dice it with a kitchen knife and transfer the diced eggplant in a bowl.

Note that for baba ganoush, the eggplant is traditionally chopped by hand. It’s not usually prepared in a blender / food processor. The texture will be much better when chopping the eggplant. However, if you prefer a very smooth creamy texture (like hummus), you can use a blender.

Step 6: Crush the garlic

Peel the garlic clove, cut off the ends, and crush or press the garlic. Add it to the bowl with the eggplant.

Step 7: Chop the tomato

Finely chop a tomato (dispose of the strunk). Add the chopped tomato to the bowl.

Step 8: Chop the walnuts

You can roughly chop or finely chop the walnuts. I personally prefer them roughly chopped. Add them to the bowl.

Step 9: Add lemon and condiments

Squeeze a lemon. Add the lemon juice, pomegranate syrup and salt to the bowl. Mix well. If you don’t have fresh lemon, you can use bottled lemon juice instead.

Step 10: Serve

Transfer your baba ganoush to a shallow bowl or plate. Garnish it with olive oil, pomegranate seeds and finely chopped parsley.

Baba Ghanoush
Baba Ganoush the Middle Eastern way

How to Serve Baba Ganoush

Baba ganoush is traditionally served on a small plate or a shallow bowl. It’s commonly served as an appetizer or mezze, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

What to Eat with Baba Ganoush

Baba ganoush pairs well with numerous dishes! It’s always served with bread (usually pita bread) which is an integral part of any Middle Eastern meal.

What to eat with baba ganoush largely depends on whether you’re serving it for breakfast or lunch/dinner. The following dishes are often served with baba ganoush:

  • Pita bread
  • Hummus (chickpea dip)
  • Muhammara (roasted red bell pepper dip)
  • Slices tomatoes and cucumber
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Salad (Tabbouleh, Fattoush or any other type of salad)
  • Rice dishes
  • Grilled meat like Kebab or Kofta

Make Ahead & Storage

Baba ganoush can be perfectly made ahead of time. It doesn’t have to be refrigerated before serving.

Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Store it without garnish if possible.

Any Questions or Feedback?

If you liked this recipe, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. In case you’ve any questions or feedback, please leave me a comment (down the page). I’m happy to help you make delicious Middle Eastern food at home.

Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush is a signature dish from the Middle East. The smoky dip is made of roasted eggplant and a few condiments. It’s naturally vegan and gluten free.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 4 servings
Calories 158 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 2 eggplants medium
  • 1 tomato medium
  • 30 g (1/4 cup) walnuts
  • 3 Tbsp pomegranate syrup
  • 0.5 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 pinch salt
  • parsley for garnish
  • pomegranate seeds for garnish
  • olive oil for garnish

Instructions
 

  • If preparing in the oven: preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F) (top and bottom heat). Score the eggplants on all sides. Do not peel them. Do not remove the stalk!
  • Place eggplants on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roast in the oven on a top rack for 45 minutes. If cooking on a gas stove: place eggplants on the flame, grill for 4-5 minutes at a time, turning occasionally.
  • Remove the eggplants from the oven or flame. Place in a bowl of cold water. Leave in water for 5 minutes. Then carefully squeeze with your hands, set aside and let cool for 5 more minutes.
  • Place the eggplants on a cutting board. Remove the stalk. Thinly peel off the skin with your hands or a knife.
  • Finely chop the peeled eggplants with a kitchen knife. Place in a bowl.
  • Peel the garlic, cut off the ends. Crush or press. Add to the eggplant.
  • Finely chop a tomato. Add to the bowl with the eggplant.
  • Roughly chop the walnuts. Add to the bowl.
  • Squeeze a lemon. Add the lemon juice, pomegranate syrup and salt to the bowl. Mix well.
  • Transfer to a shallow bowl or plate. Garnish with olive oil, pomegranate seeds and finely chopped parsley.

Notes

  • The eggplants for baba ganoush are traditionally chopped by hand. Unlike hummus, where chickpeas are blended into a smooth dip.
  • What makes baba ganoush so special is its smoky flavor. This is achieved by grilling the eggplant, either on a BBQ or on the gas stove. The skin of the eggplant will turn dark and crispy, and can be easily peeled off. You can roast the eggplant in the oven in case you don’t have a gas stove or BBQ. Note, however, that the taste won’t be the same as in authentic baba ganoush.
  • The nutritional values are rough indications. They can vary according to the exact weight, type and brand of your ingredients.

Nutrition

Calories: 158kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 4gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 21mgPotassium: 659mgFiber: 8gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 313IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Baba Ganoush
Did you make this recipe?Let me know how it was in the comments below or mention welcome2jordan.blog on Instagram.

About Kitty

Ahlan, I’m Kitty! Welcome2Jordan is the result of my love for Jordan, good food and adventures. Through this blog and my self-published travel guide, I’d like to share information on Jordan and it’s heritage, culture and cuisine.

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