Learn the secret to making the BEST Baba Ganoush! Made with only FIVE simple ingredients this authentic Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip can be made on the grill, or baked in the oven. Full of flavor, complexity and depth, Baba Ganoush is vegan, healthy, gluten-free, low-carb and keto!
An awake heart is like a sky that pours light. ―
Baba Ganoush is a silky, luxurious combination of eggplant, tahini paste, garlic, lemon juice, and salt that is blended into the most creamy luscious dip. It originates from the Middle East and is often served with pita bread, olives, or vegetables as a flavorful appetizer. It’s one of my personal favorite recipes on the blog.
What gives this recipe its unique and authentic flavor is the element of smoke– which can be achieved through grilling or roasting in the oven (with a little trick 😉).
Made in the traditional way, eggplant is typically charred in ash, grilled over a wood fire, or baked in a wood-burning oven- and that is why it tastes sooooooo good! That subtle smoky flavor gets infused with the eggplant, creating nothing short of divine. But this way of cooking isn’t accessible to many of us.
So for ease and simplicity, I’ve created two ways to bring this lovely smoky flavor into the dip without too much hassle.
And trust me, it’s well worth it!
How to make baba ganoush on the grill! | 30-second video
Why I love this recipe!
- Because of the smoke factor! Traditional Baba Ganoush is made with eggplant cooked over a wood-burning fire, infusing the eggplant with that lovely smoky quality.
- This recipe shows TWO simple ways to add that lovely subtle smoky flavor to the eggplant – really elevating the whole dish – either on the grill or in the oven!
Baba Ganoush is made with five simple ingredients. It is the balance of these ingredients that makes this recipe shine!
Is baba Ganoush Healthy?
Yes, Absolutely! it’s vegan, gluten-free and plant-based and also keto-friendly and low in carbs. Very healthy!
How to Make Baba Ganoush on the Grill:
Traditionally the eggplant is grilled over a wood-burning fire and this why it tastes so darn good. 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 smokiness in the baba ganoush. Grill whole eggplants with a foil packet of wood chips to infuse smoke into the eggplant. You can also grill over a wood or charcoal fire, or char the eggplants in ash.
1.) Grill the eggplant whole, cutting slits into the sides of the eggplant.
2.) Cutting slits into the eggplant ensures even cooking and also allows some of the smoke to penetrate, giving the baba ganoush delicious flavor!
4.) Poke a hole with a knife and create a small opening for the smoke to come out.
5.) Place the foil packet on the grill next to the eggplant (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. This will elevate your baba ganoush- I promise!
6.) 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.
7.) 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!
8.) SAVE what is left in the bottom of the bowl – the smoky liquid, homemade “liquid smoke”. You’ll use this to season the baba ganoush!
9.) 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- very little compared to the 2 huge eggplants you started off with!
10.) 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.
11.) Stir in the remaining ingredients, along with 1-2 tablespoons of the smoky liquid you saved from the bottom of the bowl. Such a great recipe- using the smoke from the woodchips!
How to make Baba Ganoush in the Oven:
The second way to make this easy baba ganoush recipe is by roasting the eggplants in the oven on a baking sheet.
- Slice eggplants in half, lengthwise and roast at 425F on a baking sheet until very tender, about 60 minutes. Test by piercing the skin with a fork, and continue roasting until the eggplant is cooked, and flesh is very tender and collapsing.
- Scoop out cooked eggplant, discard the skins and drain in a strainer for 10 minutes.
- Mash with a fork and add the tahini paste, garlic, salt and lemon juice. Now you could also pulse in a food processor or blender, but I find mashing works just as easily here.
- Add a few drops of store-bought liquid smoke to the baba ganoush, to elevate it!
***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.
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.
What does it taste like?
- Nuanced and balanced, baba ganoush tastes earthy, subtly smoky, slightly tangy, and nutty from the tahini -the flavors all work together to accentuate (not overpower) the eggplant. And if you get the balance just right, it is pure magic!
- It is silky and creamy! Eggplant when cooked becomes creamy and silky and luxurious. It melts in your mouth. If you like your baba ganoush a little extra creamy, add a couple of tablespoons of plain yogurt or drizzle with olive oil.
How to serve it:
- Serve Baba Ganoush in a beautiful shallow serving bowl, with a drizzle of good quality olive oil, a sprinkling of Aleppo chili flakes, or zaatar spice, Dukkah, or sumac – and some fresh herbs like parsley.
What to serve with Baba Ganoush?
How long does it last?
- Baba Ganoush lasts up to 4 days in the refrigerator- covered and sealed.
Sprinkle with Za’atar Spice !
I hope you love this Authentic Baba Ganoush recipe as much as we do! Please let us know what you think in the comments and ratings below!
Truly the BEST recipe for Baba Ganoush baked in the oven, or grilled (best) with eggplant, tahini paste, garlic, salt and lemon. A delicious Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip that is full of complexity and depth. Gluten-free, low-carb, vegan.
- 2 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
- optional: 2 tablespoons plain full-fat yogurt
- Preheat grill to medium-high or oven to 425 F
- 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 and 1-2 tablespoons (or more to taste) of the smoky liquid reserved from the bowl.
- Mix, taste, adjust salt, lemon.For a delicious richness, add 2-3 tablespoons plain yogurt (optional). Stir with a fork until relatively smooth. Refrigerate until serving.
Oven Roasting Method:
- Preheat oven to 450F ( 425F if electric oven)
- Slice eggplants in half, lengthwise and roast with flesh side down, on a parchment-lined sheet pan on the middle rack, until very tender, about 45-60 minutes. Test by piercing the skin with a fork, and continue roasting until flesh is very tender and collapsing. Let cool.
- Scoop out flesh, drain in a strainer for 10 minutes. You should have about 2 cups, if less, see notes.
- Mash with a fork and add the remaining ingredients. To achieve the smoky flavor, add a 1/4- ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke.
- Adjust salt and lemon to taste. Stir in optional yogurt.
- 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. then proceed to number 9 in the instructions above.
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