Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Baba ghanoush smackdown!

I was idling on Yahoo and saw that they were pushing baba ghanoush as an alternative to hummus. I wanted to weigh in with the correct method of making this rewarding dish although the recipe on Yahoo wasn't bad.

First let me say that baba ghanoush is very nutritious and tastes good to most people including babies and toddlers.

When I'm having week-enders who feed their kids responsibly, I make a big bowl of baba ghanoush.
The ingredients are impeccable even for vegans. The dish is heartier than a dip and can fill in as sandwich material in a pinch.  The kids like it, the parents are happy.  It's an easy go to dish that can be made ahead and comes in handy when everybody is hungry but has to wait while other food is being prepared.

one firm, unblemished deep purple eggplant.
1/3 cup of Tahini  (+ or -)
juice of two lemons  (+ or -) to taste
salt to taste
two cloves of garlic (optional)
minced parsley (optional garnish)
Spritz of extra virgin olive oil (optional)

I'm going to go off subject for a minute.

Why can't I find a decent eggplant in my supermarket?   Every eggplant I inspected last week-end was either soft or had brown spots yet every other word on Waldbaum's website is "fresh".  It's late summer for goddsakes.  Farmers should be falling over themselves to sell their abundance of "just picked" produce.

Also, why has an 8 oz can of Tahini jumped to $9?  Just three months ago it was $5.49.  As I've said elsewhere you can find Tahini right next to the Nutella.  This is a good time to sing that song:  "One of these things is not like the others."  Tahini, made only of crushed sesame seeds, is possibly as pure and healthy a protein as can be had.  Nutella is made of the following: sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts (13%), cocoa powder (7.4%), non-fat milk solids, emulsifier (soy lecithin), flavour (vanillin) in descending order of amount.  If hazelnuts and cocoa make up 20%, guess what makes up the other 80%? 

Back to Baba Ghanoush

Place the eggplant in a 350 oven and bake until a fork goes in easily (about 45-60 mins).
(make sure you prick some holes in the eggplant ahead of time or it will EXPLODE in your oven and splatter eggplant bits from your house to New Jersey (unless you live in New Jersey). 

When the eggplant is done, place it on a big dinner plate.  Cut off the stem end and peel the skin that should come off easily and clean.   Chop the peeled eggplant roughly and put through blender or  chopper until it is almost smooth. Place in bowl and add lemon juice to taste and the Tahini. (You can gauge how much Tahini you need by the creamy richness.)  Mix thoroughly.  The lemon juice lightens it to a medium beige.  Garnish with minced parsley and a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil.  You can use warm pita bread as a "carrier" or spears of raw vegetables.

*Be sure the only ingredient in your Tahini is crushed sesame seeds.  Tahini looks like a paste.  it settles on the bottom and has to be stirred thoroughly to mix with the oil that collects at the top.


  1. I'm going to try this! I have a house full of baba ghanoush eaters, and you're right about babies and toddlers. My son has been eating it since he was tiny.

    Incidentally, I've made my own tahini in our Vitamix blender. It's surprisingly easy, and I can buy the raw sesame at a Mediterranean food store near our house for just a few dollars. Not sure how it would work in a regular blender, but the high powered ones do a good job. I do have to add a tiny bit of water to get it to the right consistency, though.

    1. Diane, thanks for the tip. I'm going to try to make my own Tahini. I've been wanting to buy a good high powered blender and this is an incentive because we make a lot of hummus and baba ghanoush.