Looking for the best recipe for this Mediterranean classic? Here it is! This Loaded Roasted Eggplant Dip, also known as Baba Ganoush, is easy to make, healthy and made even better topped with fresh crunchy cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, pine nuts and parsley.
Serve on its own as a healthy snack, game day addition, sandwich spread or as part of a Mediterranean-inspired feast with my Middle Eastern Meatballs in Tomato Sauce, Braised Greens with Olives and Lemon and rice.
Why This Recipe is a Keeper!
Move over hummus, there’s a new dip in town and I love it even more than you!
If you’re skeptical about eggplant, this amazing dip will change your mind! It’s healthy, vegan, gluten-free, packed with flavor and skeptics will hardly know it’s eggplant.
What is baba ganoush you may be asking? The name comes from an Arabic phrase, baba gannuj. Baba can mean father or daddy (or a term of endearment), and gannuj can mean coquettish or pampered.
It’s a dip of Lebanese origin made with roasted or grilled eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon, spices and olive oil. Like its cousin hummus, it’s delicious with pita bread or fresh vegetables. Besides being delicious, it’s healthy!
Traditionally, the eggplant is placed over an open flame to impart a smoky flavor, but because not everyone has an outdoor grill, this recipe calls for roasting the eggplant in the oven and I think the result is just as delicious. A little sprinkling of smoked paprika over the top adds a smoky element.
Let’s make some loaded baba ganoush!
- Eggplant: I use regular “globe” (American) eggplant which is widely available. You could also use Japanese eggplant which is longer, thinner and a bit less bitter than regular globe eggplant. You’ll need approximately two pounds as with the globe eggplant.
- Olive Oil: Use a good, robust extra-virgin olive oil because along with being brushed over the eggplant for roasting, it is used to flavor and emulsify the baba ganoush (similar to how oil works in mayonnaise).
- Tahini: Otherwise known as sesame seed paste, tahini is a staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. I use Kroger’s Simple Truth brand.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh is always best!
- Cayenne: It’s okay to leave the cayenne out if you’re not a fan of heat but even a little gives the baba ganoush a really nice kick along with the cumin.
- Smoked Paprika: Smoked paprika originated in Spain. It gives the baba ganoush a light smoky flavor and adds lovely color.
- Parsley: I only use flat-leaf parsley in my cooking because I think it has better flavor than curly parsley.
- Just add cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, olives and pine nuts. All optional but makes a beautiful presentation and you can vary them however you like.
- Gather, prep and measure out all the ingredients.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut two pounds of eggplant (approximately 2 large or 3 medium) in half lengthwise.
- Drizzle with olive oil then place cut side down on the prepared baking sheet.
- Roast at 425 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until the eggplant is super soft. Test by piercing with a paring knife.
- Let cool to room temperature.
- Scoop the flesh into a food processor or blender.
- Add the remaining ingredients (except the smoked paprika and toppings) and process until smooth.
- Transfer to a serving bowl or platter.
- At this point, you can refrigerate it covered until needed then gussy it up when ready to serve.
- When ready to serve the loaded baba ganoush, dress it up with a drizzle of olive oil, smoked paprika, mini cucumber slices, cherry or grape tomato halves, kalamata olives, toasted pine nuts and parsley. Pomegranate seeds would also make a great addition.
- That’s it, friends!! Lovely and healthful Mediterranean goodness in a bowl ready for spreading or dipping.
- Enjoy this Loaded Roasted Eggplant Dip and let’s eat!
Chef Tips and Tricks:
- Why cutting the eggplant in half when roasting it for Loaded Roasted Eggplant Dip is a good idea:
- Cutting the eggplant in half and roasting it cut side down allows the eggplant flesh to caramelize which adds depth of flavor.
- Cutting the eggplant in half allows it to cook faster and much of the water in the eggplant will evaporate. Roasting or grilling the eggplant whole as is traditional will cause much of the water to be retained and you’ll need to drain the eggplant in a sieve or colander. Just another step later!
- Use a large soup spoon to scoop the flesh from the roasted eggplant halves.
Frequently Asked Questions:
You can roast the eggplant two days in advance of making the baba ganoush. Let the eggplant cool to the touch and scoop into a container. Cover and refrigerate. When ready to make the baba ganoush, transfer it to a food processor or blender.
For the best flavor, serve within two days. Without the topping, baba ganoush is fine in the refrigerator for up to four days.
A food processor or blender makes quick work of making baba ganoush however neither are customary in a lot of Middle Eastern or Mediterranean homes. Use a food mill, potato masher or fork then using a fork or whisk, whip the baba ganoush to incorporate the olive oil.
More delicious ways to enjoy eggplant!
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment or star rating! Join my mailing list to get all the latest posts!
Loaded Roasted Eggplant Dip (Baba Ganoush)
For the Dip
- 2 pounds globe eggplants (2-3 small to medium eggplants)
- ⅓ cup olive oil divided, plus more for drizzling
- ⅓ cup tahini
- 4 cloves garlic minced (or to taste)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (2-3)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 pinch smoked paprika for garnish
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts lightly toasted
- Cherry tomatoes halved and quartered
- Mini cucumber slices
- Pitted and halved Kalamata olives
- Parsley leaves
- Pita bread cut into wedges
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Halve the eggplants from the top down (lengthwise) and brush the cut sides with half the olive oil. Place on the prepared baking sheet cut side down. Roast for 45-50 minutes or until the eggplant is very tender and can be easily pierced with a knife. Let cool to room temperature.
- Scoop the flesh from the eggplants into a food processor and discard the skins.
- Add the remaining olive oil, tahini, garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice (to start), parsley, cumin, cayenne and salt to taste. Add more lemon juice if needed.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with extra olive oil. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and top with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, pine nuts and parsley. Serve with pita bread wedges.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.