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Silky, creamy, smoky, and tangy — it doesn’t get better than our baba ganoush vegan eggplant spread. Use this easy but extra-special recipe anywhere you’d use your favorite hummus.
Why we love this recipe
Baba ganoush (sometimes spelled baba ghanoush or baba ghanouj) is a savory spread with middle-eastern origins made from charred eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and a few simple seasonings. With only five ingredients plus salt and pepper, it’s one of those near-magic recipes that’s so much greater than the sum of its parts.
Our recipe is:
- Light and creamy
- Smoky and tangy
- Flexible — you can adjust the seasonings to your taste and use the result in a variety of ways
- Make-ahead friendly
- Ready in 30 minutes
Note: As with many dishes that have been adopted and adapted from one culture to the next, not everyone agrees on the definition, never mind the particulars of the recipe. This is true both within the middle east and especially as this dish has been popularized in the United States. In some versions of baba ganoush, the eggplant is not pureed and there’s no tahini. The pureed spread with tahini is sometimes called moutabal.
What you’ll need
Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.
- Choose small to medium eggplants. You can use any variety that you like. Keeping them on the small side will minimize the bitterness, seeds, and extra moisture.
- Tahini is sesame seed paste. It adds a beautiful creaminess to this dish. It’s fairly widely available in supermarkets, or you can grab it online here.
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice is essential. You can adjust the amount to suit your taste.
How to make it
Here’s what you’ll do to make a great batch of baba ganoush vegan eggplant spread. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post. Get all the details in the recipe card below.
- The key to a great, smoky dip is to char the eggplants until the skin is thoroughly blackened and the flesh is cooked through. Tear open the shutters and throw up the sash (and turn on your exhaust fan) and set the eggplants directly on the grate of a gas burner. Or see below for alternate cooking methods.
- Remove and discard the stems and as much of the charred skin as you can. (At this point, if you’ve used larger eggplants or a different cooking method, you’ll drain any excess liquid. With smaller eggplants that you’ve charred on a gas burner or a grill, you don’t have to drain.)
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor fitted with the blade and pulse until smooth.
- Spread onto a serving plate and make a few swooshes on the surface with the back of a spoon. Garnish with a bit of olive oil, flaky salt, and minced parsley or cilantro. That’s it!
Expert tips and FAQs
This real-food recipe is: vegan, gluten-free, and full of fiber and micronutrients. Everyone has a different definition of healthy, but I feel great about eating it frequently as part of a varied diet.
The version of this dish that many Americans are familiar with includes charred eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper. It’s usually garnished with a bit of olive oil. You can also add parsley or cilantro and a sprinkle of sumac. Some recipes also include a bit of Greek yogurt, but ours doesn’t.
This dip is great served simply with pita, crusty bread, pita chips, or cut raw vegetables for dipping. We also love it on sandwiches, wraps, and salads.
I’m always amazed by the depth and balance of flavor that comes from just a few ingredients. Charring the eggplants and then peeling them leaves you with a beautiful smokiness that’s not overpowering. The tahini adds a subtle earthiness, the garlic a bit of heat, and the lemon juice a bright tang. It all works so well together that it’s almost hard to believe.
How to serve it
This creamy, smoky, tangy dip is so good that it doesn’t usually last long around here. You can use it just about any way that you’d use hummus. Here are some of our favorite ways to serve it:
- As pictured — as an appetizer or mezze with crusty bread, pita, or pita chips
- On a sandwich or wrap (like this one or this one)
- Added to a big, vibrant lunch salad
- Either in place of hummus or right alongside it.
Love creamy vegan dips? Try our:
- 2 pounds (900 grams) small to medium eggplants
- 1/3 cup (78 ml) tahini
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, to garnish
- To char the eggplants, either set them directly on a lit gas burner or grill, or place in the oven a few inches below the heat source with the broiler on high. Allow the skin to turn completely black and flaky on the first side, then turn the eggplants with long-handled tongs to begin charring on the next side. Continue turning the eggplants every few minutes until all sides are charred.
- When eggplants are cool enough to handle, remove the stems and peel away and discard as much of the skin as possible. You want to get rid of most of it, but don't worry if there are little bits left on here and there.
- Add the eggplant flesh, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, and pepper to a food processor fitted with the blade. Pulse to blend thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Scrape baba ghanoush onto a serving plate, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with pita wedges or crackers.
- Choose small- to medium-sized eggplants, since they have fewer seeds and less excess moisture, and tend to taste less bitter. When we use smaller eggplants, we don't find we need to drain any liquid to achieve a beautiful dip.
- If you're using much larger eggplants, after peeling, set the flesh in a colander over a bowl for ten minutes or so to drain, and discard liquid before proceeding.
- Charring the eggplants will take 10 to 15 minutes. You'll know you're done when all the skin is charred and the eggplants are soft all the way through to the middle. Expect some drips and minor flare-ups. It's worth it. (But please be careful.) Set eggplants on a plate to cool.
- If you don't have a food processor, you can grate the garlic on a microplane grater and then just mash up all the ingredients in a bowl with a fork until smooth. This process will produce a less silky dip, but it will still be delicious.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 88Total Fat: 5.5gCarbohydrates: 9.1gFiber: 3.7gProtein: 2.9g