Baba ganoush is a popular Lebanese eggplant dip recipe made with grilled eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, crushed garlic, and salt. Baba ganoush, baba ghanouj, and baba ghanoush are all the same thing: a creamy, smoky, tangy, vegan Lebanese dip that only takes 20 minutes to make. The secret to the best baba ganoush is charring the outside of the whole eggplant while grilling it on an open flame or gas stove.
If you don't have a grill or gas burner, you can roast the eggplant in the oven like this baba ganoush without tahini.
What I Love About This Recipe
I love smoky eggplant dips like this recipe and this grilled eggplant dip with mint! This authentic baba ganoush recipe is a tasty appetizer made with simple ingredients, and it's a great alternative to hummus. Batch grill the eggplants and store them in the freezer (peeled) for a quick and simple way to make baba ganoush on demand. Another thing I love about this recipe is that the main ingredient is a vegetable: eggplant!
- Large eggplant (purple): Use large eggplants preferably because small eggplants tend to be more fragile. I prefer using purple eggplants found in my local grocery store.
- Tahini: Tahini is sesame paste. Use homemade tahini or store-bought tahini to make the eggplant dip creamy.
- Freshly mashed garlic: Mashed garlic is similar to crushed garlic, and it gives this baba ganoush some bite.
- Fresh lemon juice: Use freshly squeezed lemons rather than bottled lemon juice.
- High-quality extra virgin olive oil
See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for quantities.
How To Make Lebanese Baba Ganoush
The traditional way to make baba ganoush is on an open-flame with an outdoor grill. Cut four slits into each eggplant and place the eggplant on a very hot grill.
Char the eggplant skin while grilling, continuing to turn them every few minutes. Remove the eggplants from the grill when the eggplant is soft and has collapsed (about 5 to 8 minutes). If the eggplants are still firm, they are not cooked through. Allow the charred eggplants to cool off.
While the eggplants are cooling, peel and mash the garlic cloves with a mortar and pestle.
Squeeze the lemon. Once the eggplant is cool, remove the charred skin. Sometimes the skin breaks up into bits. If it's difficult to pick off the charred skin bits, run the eggplant under some water from the faucet to remove the small pieces.
Place the grilled eggplant flesh, tahini, lemon juice, mashed garlic, and salt in the food processor. Blend on high for about 15 seconds until fully combined.
Important! Taste the baba ganoush and adjust the salt, lemon, garlic, and tahini to your desired preference.
Scoop this delicious dip into a serving bowl. Serve this authentic baba ganoush recipe with some olive oil. Dip with pita bread or pita chips.
Tips and Tricks
- Char the outside of the eggplant. It might feel weird to char the outside of the eggplant the first time you do it. The charred eggplant skin gives the eggplant the deep smoky flavor that characterizes authentic baba ganoush dip. The best way to char the eggplant is on an open flame from a grill. I use firewood for the best smoky flavor.
- Adjust the flavor makers to your preference. Some people like more garlic, more lemon, and less salt, you get the idea.
- Freeze the grilled peeled eggplants. Batch grill several eggplants and store the peeled eggplants in freezer-friendly bags for future baba ganoush. All you need to do is thaw the eggplant and continue with the recipe steps.
- Serve with high-quality olive oil.
Variations and Substitutions
- Add some pomegranate molasses, paprika, or chili powder for some extra flavor.
- Sprinkle some pomegranate seeds on top. The sweet flavor pairs well with the garlicky lemon tahini.
- Roast eggplant in the oven on a baking sheet rather than on a grill, similar to this baba ganoush without tahini recipe.
- Omit the tahini and add some fresh mint, like this grilled eggplant dip with mint.
- a grill or gas stove to char the outside of the eggplant
- a food processor to blend the baba ganoush dip
- mortar and pestle or garlic press to crush the garlic
- lemon squeezer to juice the lemon
Store this grilled eggplant dip in an airtight container in the fridge without olive oil for about five days. The eggplants freeze well for up to 6 months in an airtight freezer bag. Don't freeze the baba ganoush after it has been mixed with garlic, tahini, and lemon juice.
No! The base of baba ganoush is made from roasted eggplant whereas the base of hummus is made from boiled chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). However, both Lebanese baba ganoush and Lebanese hummus add the same flavor makers: mashed garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and some salt.
Baba ganoush is made of grilled eggplant, lemon juice, crushed garlic, tahini, and salt.
Baba ganoush literally translates to spoiled father.
Different Ways to Make Eggplant
Middle Eastern Dips
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- 2 large eggplants about 2 lbs total
- 2 to 3 lemons
- 5 to 6 garlic cloves
- 4 tablespoons of tahini
- salt to taste
- Cut four slits in each eggplant. Place the eggplant on a very hot grill for about 5 to 8 minutes until the eggplant has collapsed and softened. Rotate the eggplant so that it cooks evenly. If cooking the eggplant on a gas stove, just char the outside of the eggplant with the stove then continue roasting the eggplant in the oven at 400 ℉ (205 ℃) until it's completely soft (about 30 to 40 minutes).
- Once the eggplant is completely soft, allow it to cool so you can easily remove the charred skin. Remove the skin from the eggplant.
- Mash the garlic with some salt. Alternatively use a garlic press to crush the garlic. Squeeze the lemon.
- Add the eggplant, mashed garlic, lemon juice, and tahini to a food processor. Blend on high for about 15 seconds until combined. Taste the baba ganoush and adjust the lemon, salt, tahini, and garlic as desired.
- Serve the baba ganoush with some olive oil drizzled on top.
- The eggplant can be roasted in the oven in lieu of grilling.