This recipe for baba ganoush is easy to make and wildly flavorful. Roasted eggplant provides a smoky, charred flavor and a smooth texture that is complemented with fresh, crisp bell peppers and onion. The dish is brought to life with zesty herbs and spices including cumin, garlic, lemon, and more.
If you are a hummus lover but are looking to switch things up, this baba ganoush recipe is going to be right up your alley. Also sometimes spelled baba ghanoush, this dreamy, creamy, Mediterranean dip is undeniably delicious. Traditionally served as an appetizer, I keep finding any excuse I can to include it in my meals!
I see so many versions of baba ganoush out there that really are mutabal. While both mezze dishes contain roasted, smoky eggplant (known as aubergines outside the US), baba ganoush is much lighter and always contains lemon, garlic, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, herbs and fresh peppers and or vegetables. Mutabal is simpler in ingredients, has no pomegranate molasses, but does have tahini and often times yogurt.
I see so many versions of baba ganoush out there that really are mutabal.
Baba Ganoush is traditionally tahini free!!!
While baba ganoush is the default appetizer dip in most Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurants, mutabal on the other hand, is no where to be found! From my research, the only difference between the two is that baba ganoush DOES NOT contain tahini.
Of course each country and family add or delete ingredients based on region and family recipe, alas baba ganoush is traditionally tahini free.
So in the end, it would seem one is the appetizer cousin of the other, BUT I’ll have you know they also have a Greek relative known as melitzanosalata, too! I hope you give all three a try.
Table of Contents
- Eggplant – Gives the baba ganoush a tender, creamy texture and sweet, vegetal flavor. Two pounds of fresh eggplant should yield about 1 pound of cooked flesh.
- Tomatoes – Roma or plum tomatoes add tart-sweetness without too much moisture.
- Bell Peppers – Green and red bell peppers deliver the full spectrum of popping peppery flavor. Feel free to use more of either color than another, or even toss in a few orange or yellow bell peppers.
- Onions – Red onion adds a lovely dash of color and a sweet, mildly pungent taste. Use yellow or white if that’s what you have on hand.
- Garlic – Freshly minced garlic puts a little pep in the dip with a zingy, zesty pop of pungency.
- Parsley – Adds freshness and a bright, grassy flavor. Flat-leaf parsley is the ideal choice.
- Olive Oil – Brings a harmonizing dose of healthy, flavor-enhancing fat and a smooth texture.
- Lemon Juice – Enlivens the dish with a bright, sunshiney blast of citrus.
- Pomegranate Molasses – Tart and tangy with hints of caramel sweetness. Look for it in the international foods aisle or at a local market. In a pinch, you can try subbing in balsamic vinegar or a balsamic reduction.
- Kosher Salt – Enhances flavor and balances out any bitterness in the eggplant.
- Cumin – Adds an element of deep, smoky spiciness.
- Pomegranate Seeds – Add a beautiful red color, tart taste, and exciting texture.
- Prepare the Oven or Grill. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat it to 450 degrees F. Prepare a large, rimmed baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. If you plan on using the grill, preheat it to 450 to 550 degrees F and skip to Step 4.
- Slice the Eggplant. Cut the eggplants lengthwise and brush the cut sides with olive oil. Transfer them to the pan, cut-side down.
- Roast the Eggplant (Oven). Place the pan in the oven and roast for about 35 minutes, or until the skin is loose and the interior becomes quite tender. Then, turn the oven to broil and roast for another 6-8 minutes. You want the skin to become charred so it develops a deep, smoky flavor. Remove from the oven and allow 5 minutes for it to rest and cool.
- Roast the Eggplant (Grill). Add whole eggplants to a hot grill or smoker. Roast for about 25 minutes, turning throughout to cook evenly on all sides.
- Scoop the Flesh. Once cooled slightly, use a spoon to remove the flesh from each of the eggplants. Discard the skin and place the flesh in a colander over a bowl to drain for 30 minutes.
- Crush & Combine. Transfer the drained eggplant to a bowl and use a fork to crush and break down the pieces. Toss in the tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, chopped garlic, parsley, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, cumin, and salt. Mix thoroughly and add more salt as desired.
- Garnish & Serve. Place the baba ghanoush in a shallow bowl for serving. Top the dip with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. Serve with pita bread and sliced veggies.
This dip makes a mouthwatering snack, appetizer, side dish, and condiment. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
– Serve with Pita Bread and a selection of other dips like Authentic Tzatziki, Skordalia, and Mediterranean Hummus.
– Pair with salads like Tabouli Salad, Shirazi Salad, or this Fregola Salad with Grilled Halloumi.
– Enjoy baba ghanoush alongside Lamb Shawarma or Mediterranean Chicken.
– Add a dollop to your next Greek Chicken Souvlaki, gyro, or other sandwich.
Your eggplant is the most likely suspect — they develop a bitter flavor when they are past their prime.
When shopping for eggplants, be sure to choose a firm and heavy fruit with a bright, glossy color and avoid any that are spongy or off-color.
The skin of the eggplant can also cause bitterness, so take care to keep it out of your baba ghanoush. You can balance out any remaining bitterness by adding salt slowly and adjusting to taste.
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. It’s safe to serve this dip at room temperature, but don’t leave it out for more than a couple of hours.
If needed, you can also freeze baba ganoush for up to 3 months. Transfer to a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible, and label before storing.
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Traditional Baba Ganoush Recipe
- 2 lbs eggplant (See Note 1)
- 1 roma tomato (plum)
- 1/2 red bell pepper 1/4-inch dice
- 1/2 green bell pepper 1/4-inch dice
- 1/2 medium red onion 1/4-inch dice
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tbsp flat leaf parsley chopped fine
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- pomegranate seeds (arils)
- Preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the eggplants lengthwise and brush the cut sides lightly with olive oil. Place them cut side down in the pan.
- Roast until the interior is very tender and the skin is loose, about 35 minutes. Turn oven to broil and char skin for that smokey flavor, 6-8 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes to cool.
- Scoop the flesh out of each eggplant, discarding the skins, and place in a colander or sieve over a bowl to drain for 30 minutes.
- Place drained eggplant in a bowl to mix with a fork to break down pieces. Add the tomato, bell peppers, onion, garlic, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, salt and cumin and mix well. Season with salt to taste.
- Serve in a shallow bowl with a drizzle of the olive oil and topped with the pomegranate. Perfect to eat with vegetables and pita for dipping.
- After roasting the eggplant you should have about 1 pound of cooked flesh. If bitter, season with salt to taste. If you’d like to roast or smoke the eggplants, preheat the grill to high heat, 450° to 550°F. Add the whole eggplants and cook on all sides until softened and roasted, about 25 minutes.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.