Smoky, flavorful, authentic Baba Ganoush recipe made with grilled eggplant, tahini, garlic and lemon. A simple, delicious Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip that is full of complexity and depth. Gluten-free, low-carb, vegan.
An awake heart is like a sky that pours light. ―
If you ever have experienced really good, mind-blowing, authentic Baba Ganoush, you’ll know what I mean when I say, I’m often disappointed. As simple as the ingredients are, it’s surprising how easy it is to mess it up. And I totally understand why.
Because if you’ve never had really good baba ganoush, then you won’t know how really amazing it can be. Now, I know there is no “supposed to” in cooking, it’s all subjective, and we all have our particular flavor preferences. So this is based purely on my own personal taste. And I’m hoping if you are still reading the blog, you will by now trust me, and please try it this way.
What is baba ganoush? It is the most delicious, Middle Eastern style Eggplant Dip that has complex flavor and depth, perfect for dipping warm pita or veggies into. A perfect addition to any Middle Eastern style meal. Think of it like hummus, only with eggplant, instead of garbanzo beans.
watch how easy it is to make baba ganoush!
The key to the BEST baba ganoush is keeping it simple and adding the element of smoke. Traditionally eggplant is grilled over a wood-burning fire. Since most of us don’t have access to cooking over a wood-burning fire, there are a few tricks we can employ to achieve this. The first way, the way I prefer, is to grill whole eggplants with a foil packet of wood chips to infuse smoke into the eggplant.
Cutting slits into the eggplant ensures even cooking and also allows some of the smoke to penetrate.
Wrap ½ cup wood chips like alder, apple or mesquite into foil and create a foil packet. Keep the chips dry.
Poke a hole with a knife and create a small opening for the smoke to come out.
Place the foil packet on the grill next to the eggplant (you can put it on the grill a little early to get it smoking.) Grill the eggplant, making sure to close the lid so the smoke stays in.
Once the eggplant collapses and is nicely charred on all sides, place it in a bowl, along with the wood chip foil packet and cover the whole thing tightly with foil until it is cool enough to handle about 20 minutes.
Essentially, you are creating your own “liquid smoke” from heat and liquid that comes out of the eggplant, as it cools.
So cover it up tightly!
What is left in the bottom of the bowl, is the smoky liquid, aka “liquid smoke“.
YES, you can roast the eggplant, in a pinch (although, I highly recommend grilling) and add a few drops of store-bought liquid smoke to the baba ganoush. Now before you gasp at the idea of using liquid smoke, please look at the ingredients. Liquid smoke really is made from just smoke. Wood chips like hickory or mesquite are burned and particles of the smoke are collected in condensers. The resulting liquid is concentrated down for a stronger flavor. In large amounts, it is probably not the healthiest, but a few drops will not hurt you.
As I said, I prefer using the grilling/smoke chip method, but if you are set on roasting instead of grilling, simply add a couple of drops of liquid smoke to elevate it.
Here below is the smoky liquid in the bottom of the bowl. Make sure to save this….it’s amazing!!
Peel the charred eggplant and chop. I like the chopping method because little nuggets of eggplant in the final dip are really nice.
What you will end up with is about 2 – 2 ½ cups of eggplant flesh- so little compared to the 2 huge eggplants you started off with!
Strain the chopped eggplant, and let it drain for about ten minutes. You don’t need to save this liquid, only the smoky liquid from the earlier bowl.
Then you’ll add the remaining ingredients, along with 1-2 tablespoons of the smoky liquid you saved from the bottom of the bowl.
It is the balance of smoke, creamy tahini paste, garlic, lemon and salt, that all work together to accentuate ( not overpower) the eggplant. And if you get it right, it is pure magic.
If you like your baba ganoush a little creamy, add a couple of tablespoons of plain yogurt. Delicious, but not imperative at all!
Heavenly. Divine. Orgasmic.
Serve Baba Ganoush as an appetizer alongside Pita bread with Tzatziki Sauce, olives, hummus and crunchy veggies, or spoon it into warm pita bread , along with fresh summer tabouli or Israeli Salad for a delicious healthy lunch. I also love it in these Middle Eastern Salad Tacos….so good!
I hope you love this Authentic Baba Ganoush recipe as much as I do! Please let me know what you think in the comments and ratings below!
I hope you are having a delicious week!
Authentic Ganoush Recipe
Simple, flavorful, Authentic Baba Ganoush recipe made with smoky grilled eggplant, tahini, garlic and lemon. A healthy, delicious Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip that is full of complexity and depth. Gluten-free, low-carb, vegan.
- Prep Time: 40
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 2 ½ cups 1x
- Category: appetizer, vegan, gluten-free, low carb
- Method: grilled or roasted
- Cuisine: Lebanese
- 2 extra-large Eggplants ( 1.5 to 1.75 lbs each)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced (use a garlic press)
- 4 tablespoons tahini paste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons plain full-fat yogurt (optional, but delicious)
- Preheat grill to medium-high ( see notes for roasting)
- Make a foil packet with wood chips for smoking. Wrap ½ cup of wood chips ( mesquite, alder, apple) in heavy-duty foil and pierce the top, creating an opening in the foil so smoke can escape. Place this on the grill. See photos.
- With a sharp pairing knife cut 1-2 inch deep slits into the eggplant, all over especially around the bigger bottom area. This will allow them to cook more evenly, and help the smoke penetrate the eggplant.
- When the foil packet is smoking, place the eggplant directly on the grill, and close the grill. Turn eggplant every 10 minutes or so and let the skin char. Grill until eggplant has collapsed and feels tender on the inside. This will take about 20 minutes.
- Place the eggplant along with the smoking foil packet in a large bowl or large pan and cover tightly with foil. Let sit until cool enough to handle about 20 minutes.
- Save ALL the smoky liquid that is under the eggplant in the bowl. Peel the charred skin off the eggplant and using a knife, chop up the tender flesh. Place the eggplant in a strainer and strain the eggplant flesh for 10 minutes. Discard this liquid. (I know this may seem counter-intuitive – but you will be adding some of the “smoky” liquid from the first bowl back in.)
- Place the drained eggplant in a mixing bowl. You should have 2 cups (or 2 1/4 cups) of eggplant flesh. If you have less, see notes. Add the tahini paste , garlic, lemon, salt, yogurt and 1-2 tablespoons (or more to taste) of the smoky liquid reserved from the bowl.
- Mix, taste, adjust salt, lemon and smoke.
- For a delicious richness, add 2-3 tablespoons plain yogurt (optional). Stir with a fork until relatively smooth.
- Place in a shallow serving bowl, make a circular “well” with the back of a spoon and drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with your choice of aleppo chili flakes, zaatar spice, or sumac. Sprinkle with fresh herbs. Serve with warm pita bread and/or veggies.
You can also roast the eggplant in a 425 F- 450F oven. Slice in half, lengthwise and roast flesh side down, on a parchment-lined sheet pan until very tender, about 60 minutes. Test by piercing the skin with a fork, and continue roasting until flesh is very tender and collapsing. Scoop out flesh, drain in a strainer for 10 minutes.
Mash with a fork and add the remaining ingredients. To achieve the smoky flavor, add a ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke. (Not traditional, but it does elevate this and works in a pinch. Adjust salt and lemon.
*If you end up with less than 2 cups of eggplant flesh after it is drained, please modify the additional ingredients accordingly. For example, you may not need as much tahini, salt, lemon, etc….
- Serving Size: ¼ -⅓ cup
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