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I tend to eat like the meal is just one big appetizer. For me, it’s all about small bites and grazing on an array of foods. So it should be no surprise that I always keep staples in my refrigerator that I can use in a plethora of ways. Dips and spreads are my go-to for this type of eating. They’re perfect when I come in late from working in the yard and want to start eating right away. They’re also ideal for entertaining, as it gives guests multiple options.
Multi-useful and delicious, Baba ganoush is my favorite dip to make with the bounty of late summer eggplant. When charred on the grill, eggplant becomes creamy and smoky and is an amazing core ingredient to a perfect spread.
What is baba ganoush?
Baba ganoush is simply eggplant mashed with olive oil, spices, and tahini. The magic comes in the preparation and the serving.
To add a smoky flavor, charring the eggplant on a grill is key. But it’s important to know that eggplant is dense, which means it needs to be grilled long enough to cook all the way through to achieve a creamy texture. And while it may make sense to cut the eggplant into large circular slices, grilling them whole with the skin used as a protector of the flesh slowly imparts a naturally smoky flavor. When done, the skin should be completely blackened and almost flaky from the high heat.
How do you use baba ganoush?
Baba ganoush can be used in much the same way as hummus. It’s great with pita, chips and crackers, or even spread on a sandwich.
But my favorite way to use it is served with grilled vegetables. When grilled just enough to impart a charred skin, the sugars begin to caramelize and the sweetness of the vegetables is amplified. Plus, since the eggplant is grilled as the first step, why not throw some additional vegetables on the grill as well! Grilled vegetables layer on additional flavor and when paired with the Baba ganoush, create a meal or perfect appetizer.
Watch how to make this Baba ganoush recipe
- 1 lb eggplant
- ⅓ cup tahini
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp liquid smoke
- Heat grill to high heat. If grilling additional vegetables, drizzle and brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Cut off the green stems of the eggplant. Place the eggplant and the vegetables on the grill. Turn the eggplant until blackened on all sides and soft throughout the middle, 25-55 minutes depending on the size. Turn and flip the vegetables until slightly charred but still crisp, 10-20 minutes depending on size.
- Once blackened, remove the eggplant and vegetables from the grill. Cool the eggplant for 15 minutes. Once cooled, remove the skin and place the soft eggplant in a blender canister or large bowl if using an immersion blender. Add the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and liquid smoke. Blend until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes.
- Serve warm, room temperature, or cool with pita and vegetables.