Baba ghanouj is a popular eggplant dish native to the Middle East. The distinct rich flavor that comes from the roasted eggplant makes this dip a common choice beside kabobs and other meat based dishes. Baba ghanouj is a quick and easy appetizer to make. The secret is in roasting the eggplant well, then gently combining in with parsley, garlic, and lemon juice. Since many people make this dish in the middle eastern countries you may come across slight variations of baba ghanouj. The one I’m sharing below is a family recipe and sure to please your taste buds. Enjoy it alongside grilled meat or simply on its own.
Eggplants are an essential food in the Mediterranean Diet. They are featured in many recipes including this baba ghanouj recipe. Eggplants come in many different sizes and shapes but all have a spongy texture and sometimes bitter taste. Although often referred to as a vegetable, did you know that eggplants are considered a ‘fruit’? Eggplants are a great source of dietary fiber, with 1 cup of cubed eggplant providing 2.5 g of fiber. They are low in carbohydrate, providing only 5 g carbohydrates per cup, making it a great compliment to meals. Eggplants also contain vitamin A, potassium and magnesium. The skin of eggplants contain antioxidants called anthocyanins and nasunin. These compounds provide eggplants deep purple color and are associated with many health benefits. For this recipe though we will be removing the skins and enjoying the pulp of the eggplant.
How to Roast Eggplant
Roasting the eggplant is an essential step in making the baba ghanouj. The most common type of eggplant used when making this dish is the Italian eggplant although you can also use the globe eggplant. Wash the eggplant under running water and pat it dry. Then, pierce the eggplant in 3 to 4 spots using a fork. This will allow the moisture and steam to escape from the eggplant during roasting. Set your oven on 350oF. Place the eggplant on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 45 minutes or until the eggplant is fully roasted. You will notice the skin on the eggplant begin to shrivel up or ‘wrinkle’. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once at room temperature, gently peel the skin off and place the eggplant in a bowl. You are now ready to use it to make baba ghanouj.
Roasted Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghanouj)
Baba Ghanouj is a popular eggplant dip in the Middle East. It's great an an appetizer or side dish.
- 2 medium sized Italian eggplants or 1 globe eggplant
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove minced
- dash of salt
- 2 tbsp walnuts chopped (optional)
- 2 tbsp pomegranate arils optional
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- pita bread
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pierce the eggplant with a fork and place it on the baking sheet.
Roast the eggplant for 45 minutes or until the eggplant skin shrivels up and it is fully roasted.
Set the eggplant aside to cool.
Once the eggplant is at room temperature, remove the skin off the eggplant and place the eggplant in a bowl.
Using a fork, gently mash the eggplant until it’s smooth. You may also use a food processor to pulse it a few times.
Add the chopped parsley, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to the eggplant and combine all together.
Pour the baba ghanouj onto a serving plate. Decorate the baba ghanouj with chopped walnuts and pomegranate arils. Drizzle the olive oil. Enjoy with pita bread.
Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.