baba ghanouj (vegan eggplant dip)

December 6, 2011

baba ghanouj, vegan eggplant dip

baba ghanoush, baba ganush, baba ghannouj or baba ghannoug, or بابا غنوج

some kids, wrinkling their noses, asked me yesterday, “what are you eating? it looks like brown mush.”
you know what else looks like brown mush? hot fudge. don’t judge a book by its cover!

two eggplants
one head of garlic
one hot pepper
one zucchini (optional, or whatever extra veggies you have in the house)
parsley (optional)
olive oil
salt, pepper
cayenne, sumac, cumin, wild thyme, roasted sesame seeds, or hot sauce to sprinkle on top (opt.)

stick the first four veggies in an oven (not the parsley!) and roast at a high temperature (425? 400? depends on your oven and elevation.) until blackish outside. you can also grill them, or blacken them over a gas stove. discard blackened skins.

while the veggies are roasting, pour a tall glass of water and add a few ice cubes.

add a FAT spoonful of tahini (sesame paste) to a food processor or blender. turn on, and drizzle the ice water into the blender until you get a white paste.

add fresh lime or lemon juice. once the veggies are cool, peel the eggplant, take the garlic out of its paper, seed the hot chili if you don’t like super-spicy, and add all that stuff into the blender.

add roasted garlic. puree. add the rest of the veggies, salt, and pepper. adjust seasonings to taste.

top with a drizzle of olive oil, hot sauce, or spices.


ice water trick is from Yotam Ottolenghi, and it will make the most pleasantly cream-colored hummus or baba ghanouj you’ve ever had

you can add anything to this and it’d be fantastic. sometimes i’ll stick in whatever vegetables are going bad in my fridge (hence the addition of the zucchini to the recipe). often i’ll add a pinch of cumin, cinnamon, paprika, black pepper, and/or za’atar. cayenne is a must for me, but the hot raw chili and cayenne powder are, of course, both optional. smoked paprika is incredible. za’atar (wild thyme and sumac) is traditional, and if you can find it, highly recommended.

if you, like those kids, are really offended by its color, why not add paprika, roasted beets, or tons of green leafy vegetables?

wonderful served as a dip, along with hummus, pita (or dosai or any other bread,) and veggies. don’t worry, dieters, celiackers, and other gfs! you can dip anything in this – kebabs, carrots, celery, tomatoes, anything. make “tortillas” out of lettuce, kale, cabbage, or mustard greens and wrap up some beans and baba. you can use it as a sandwich spread – a great lo-cal mayo substitute with way more flavor.

a great baba trick? buy a week’s worth of veggies, roast them all in one day, tupperware ’em, and your mid-week baba fix will be ready in less than five minutes.



– bitter eggplant? if you haven’t started yet, cut into chunks, salt, and rest for a half hour before roasting. if you already made the dip and it’s bitter, add more fresh lemon or lime juice!

– bland? add salt, or a seasoning with a strong flavor, like smoked paprika, sumac, or cayenne. seasoned salt would be great, too. eggplant needs more salt than seems reasonable, but start with a few pinches and bump it up from there so you don’t oversalt.


(recipe from 2011. updated 2020 with ice water trick, which i have been doing for years, and a photo of some homemade baba ghanouj topped with palestinian fair-trade olive oil and za’atar)



  1. Love it! Never really thought of making it myself. Definitely going to try it out :)

  2. Great blog, thanks for share this article with us

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