This Baba Ganoush recipe is easy to make, perfect for dipping or spreading, and full of the best rich and zesty flavors.
It’s no secret here on the blog that I’ve always been a bit on the fence when it comes to my feelings about eggplant.
But, when it’s roasted and mixed into a stellar batch of baba ganoush…count me in. ♡
Barclay and I are mega fans of this classic Lebanese dip and love making it on repeat this time of year (when eggplant season is at its peak!) to always have on hand in the fridge when the craving strikes. Most of the time, we love simply serving baba ganoush as a dip, with a side of fresh pita, na’an, crackers, fries, veggie sticks, or any other random ingredients that sound fun for dipping. We also love using it as a spread, and adding it to all kinds of sandwiches, wraps, pitas and even burgers. We’ve also found that leftovers can also be whisked into a simple salad dressing with a bit of extra oil and seasoning, or stirred into soups and stews to add some extra flavor, or even spread onto pizzas as an eggplant-y topping that is downright delicious. Basically, the sky’s the limit when you have a batch of good baba ganoush on hand!
That said, after sampling dozens of different baba ganoush recipes at restaurants over the years, I’ve come to learn that I prefer mine the same way that I prefer my hummus — full-flavored with generous amounts of tahini, lemon juice, garlic and cumin added in. I also especially love it when baba ganoush is made with smoky eggplant that has been charred on the grill. But unfortunately, we’re not allowed to have a grill or a gas stove here in our little flat in Barcelona, so I’ve included options below for how to make this recipe either on the grill or roasted in the oven. This recipe is ripe for tweaking, though, so please feel free to tinker around with the ingredient amounts and make yours as garlicky, lemony, tahini-y, salty, creamy or chunky as you prefer.
If you love baba ganoush, this is the time of year to make it while eggplant season is at its peak. So pick some up the next time you are at the farmer’s market, and let’s make a quick batch together!
Baba Ganoush Ingredients:
Before we get to the full recipe below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need to make this easy baba ganoush recipe:
Eggplants: You can either use Italian or American (globe) eggplants for this recipe. I strongly recommend selecting eggplants that are on the smaller side because they will be less bitter, contain fewer seeds, and cook faster.
Garlic: I love the flavor of sweet roasted garlic in baba ganoush, and have written this recipe using 4 large cloves of garlic, which we will roast along with the eggplant. That said, if your garlic cloves happen to be a bit smaller, just add in a few extras and note that they will need less time to cook.
Olive oil: Part of which we will brush on the eggplant and garlic before roasting, and the rest of which we will stir into the baba ganoush. Feel free to also drizzle a bit of olive oil on top before serving, if you would like.
Tahini: This rich sesame paste adds such great flavor to baba ganoush! Feel free to add more to taste, if you would like.
Lemon juice: It really brightens up this recipe and complements the tahini and garlic flavors perfectly.
Fine sea salt: Or if you would like to add in some extra smokiness, you can use smoked fine sea salt instead.
Seasonings: I like to stir some ground cumin into the dip, and then sprinkle some ground sumac on top just before serving.
Chopped fresh parsley: This herb is traditionally mixed into the dip, although I also like to sprinkle a bit on top for garnish.
How To Make Baba Ganoush:
Here are the basic steps for how to make baba ganoush! (Full instructions are detailed in the recipe below, as always.)
Roast the eggplant and garlic.* As mentioned above, I don’t own a grill, so I have written the recipe below with instructions for how to roast the eggplant and garlic together in the oven. But if you happen to own a grill (lucky you!), I have included notes below the recipe for how to cook the eggplant and garlic on the grill. In either method, you want to cook the eggplant over high heat until the flesh inside has completely softened. Then we will let the eggplant rest for 20 minutes after cooking so that it can continue to steam.
Strain the eggplant. It’s important to strain the cooked eggplant before adding it to the dip, in order to remove some of those bitter juices. So once the eggplant has cooled a bit, use a spoon to scoop out the soft flesh and transfer it to a large fine-mesh strainer, then gently press out the excess juices.
Combine the ingredients. Combine the strained eggplant and peeled roasted garlic in a mixing bowl, and mash with a fork until the mixture reaches a smooth-yet-slightly-chunky consistency. Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, salt, cumin, and a sprinkling of fresh parsley, and stir until combined.
Season. Taste and season with extra salt, if needed. (Feel free to also adjust the amounts of lemon juice, cumin, or parsley, if desired.)
Serve. Then serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of extra parsley and a pinch of sumac…and enjoy!
Baba Ghanoush Recipe Variations:
Everyone seems to have strong personal preferences when it comes to what makes for the best baba ganoush, so please feel free to tinker around with the recipe and adjust the ingredients to taste! You might also consider…
Grill the eggplant: For even more delicious smoky flavor, feel free to grill instead of roast the eggplant. Full instructions are included in the recipe notes below.
Make it smoother: If you would like a smooth instead of chunky baba ganoush, feel free to pop it in the food processor or blender and puree briefly until smooth.
Make it smokier: If you don’t have a grill and would like to add some extra smoky flavor to the baba ganoush, you are welcome to use smoked salt (instead of regular sea salt), add in a pinch of smoked paprika, or add in a tiny drizzle of liquid smoke. All three options are delicious!
Make it a bit spicy: Feel free to also stir some cayenne into the dip if you would like to add some heat.
Add fresh mint: I also love adding in some chopped fresh mint to this recipe, in addition to the chopped parsley, which adds a delicious bit of extra freshness.
Add toasted pine nuts: This dip is also absolutely delicious with some toasted pine nuts sprinkled on top.
Baba Ganoush FAQ:
How do you pronounce baba ganoush? It is pronounced bah-bah ga-NOOSH.
Are there different ways to spell this dish? Yes, it is also known as babaganoush, baba ghanoush, baba ghanouj and beyond.
What does baba ganoush mean? It translates in Arabic to roughly mean “spoiled daddy” or “pampered daddy.”
Where is baba ganoush from? The dish is said to have originated in Lebanon, although different countries around the Middle East and Europe now have their own different spins on the recipe.
Can baba ganoush be frozen? Technically it can, but the texture changes once the dip has been frozen and then thawed, so I don’t recommend it.
More Favorite Dip Recipes:
Looking for more amazing dip recipes? Here are a few of my faves:
Roast the eggplant and garlic. Heat oven to 450°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise and poke the purple skins with a fork a few times, then brush the exposed white flesh of the eggplants and the unpeeled garlic cloves with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Place the eggplants flesh-side-down on the baking sheet along with the unpeeled garlic cloves. Roast everything together for 20 minutes*, then remove the garlic cloves and set them aside to cool. Return the sheet of eggplants to the oven and continue roasting for 25-35 more minutes, until the eggplants have collapsed and the flesh is completely soft and tender. (Cooking time will depend on the size of your eggplants and garlic cloves.) Transfer the baking sheet to a wire cooling rack and let the eggplants rest flesh-side-down, undisturbed, for about 20 minutes so that the eggplant flesh can continue to steam inside of its skins.
Strain the eggplant. Once the eggplant has cooled a bit, use a spoon to scoop out the soft flesh and transfer it to a large fine-mesh strainer. Use the spoon to gently press and strain out the excess water over the sink, then transfer the flesh to a large mixing bowl.
Combine the ingredients. Peel the roasted garlic and add it to the mixing bowl. Use a fork to stir and gently mash the eggplant and roasted garlic until they reach a smooth-yet-slightly-chunky consistency. Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, salt, cumin, and a tablespoon or two of chopped fresh parsley, and stir until combined.
Season. Taste and season with extra salt, if needed.
Serve. Serve immediately, topped with an extra drizzle of olive oil and sprinkled with some extra parsley and a pinch of sumac. Leftovers can be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 3-4 days.
Grill option: If you own a grill, I would highly recommend grilling instead of roasting the eggplant, to give it some extra smoky flavor. Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Leave the eggplants whole and poke them a few times on all sides with a fork. Drizzle the garlic cloves with oil, then place them in a double-wrapped foil packet (completely sealed). Grill the eggplant and garlic packet together for about 25 minutes, remove the garlic and set aside, then continue grilling the eggplants for 15-25 minutes longer until they have collapsed and the flesh inside is completely soft and tender. Grill time will vary depending on the size of your eggplants. Transfer the eggplants to a large bowl, cover, and let rest for 20 minutes so that the eggplants can steam. Then continue on with the recipe as directed.
Double-checking the garlic: I find that it takes about 20 minutes at this temperature for unpeeled garlic cloves to fully roast, but they may need more or less time in the oven/grill, so it’s best to keep an eye on them so that they do not burn. If you use smaller garlic cloves, note that they will also need less cooking time.