Baba Ghanouj

Baba gha whadda?

I know.  Baba ghanouj is something I heard of only after visiting Trader Joes while at the University of Oregon.  It’s a close relative to hummus (which I hadn’t heard of until my freshman year of college on the mainland either, but is now quite mainstream and popular).  Both are Mediterranean dips made with tahini [ground sesame seeds] and lemon juice, but, while the main ingredient in hummus is garbanzo beans, the main ingredient in baba ghanouj is roasted eggplant.

Since there were huge eggplants at the farmer’s market this weekend, I decided to bring one home and whip up this healthy dip.  The recipe is super simple (the roasting takes the longest) and creates a thick, creamy low-fat and lower calorie product that is great on it’s own or as a spread for sandwiches or wraps.

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Baba Ghanouj

[Ingredients]

  • One small-child sized eggplant [or 3-4 medium sized eggplants]
  • 2 Tbsp tahini [you can get this in health food stores or in the ‘ethnic’ section at most big chain supermarkets]
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ~2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste [I used about 1/2 tsp because we watch our salt intake]

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Using a fork, poke holes in the eggplant.

[told you this sucker was huge!]

If you’re using smaller eggplants, you can place them in the oven as is.  If you’re using a child-sized eggplant, cut it in half and place the eggplant on a baking sheet face down (to keep from creating a “crusty” top.

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Bake until the skins shrivel and the meat is soft (about 30-45 minutes).

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Once the eggplant is cool enough to handle, scoop out the meat, leaving behind the skins.

Strain out the excess moisture,

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then place the meat into a food processor along with the other ingredients.

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Mix until thoroughly combined; taste and adjust lemon and/or salt [some people like to drizzle a bit of olive oil in at this point, but for me it’s just unnecessary calories, as it’s great as is].

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Enjoy! Makes about 2 cups.

We enjoyed our baba ghanouj warm with nut thins and crackers that night and then cold on a goat-cheddar-topped veggie burger the next day (it is the perfect flavorful low-fat and lower calorie substitute for mayonnaise!).

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