This is the first recipe I ever tried for Baba Ghanoush, and my guinea pigs were 12 young teenagers. No one was more surprised than I was when they absolutely loved it! They couldn’t get enough of this dip.
This particular class was all about Tapas. So we planned to serve Bruschetta, Hummus, and Goat Cheese with Marinara.
Baba Ghanoush was an afterthought. My neighbor presented me with the most beautiful eggplant, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Remembering that I planned to make hummus at my next Healthy Kids Camp I was teaching, I thought of Baba Ghanoush.
Since Baba Ghanoush and Hummus share the many of the same ingredients, and I already purchased them for the camp, I decided to just add this Baba Ghanoush recipe to our menu.
Why Eat Baba Ghanoush?
Baba Ghanoush like so many other Middle Eastern dishes is loaded with nutrition. It’s full of vitamins–C, K, E, and some of the B vitamins along with the good kind of fat our bodies need to stay healthy. Baba Ghanoush improves your energy level and may just lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. And who can’t use a little help there?
Nasunin is really potent phytonutrient and antioxidant. It’s found in the skin of dark-colored fruits and vegetables, such as eggplant.
Nasusin is known to fight free radical damage and inflammation and helps prevent cellular oxidative stress. Keep in mind, though, that nasunin is only found on the skin, meaning you have to include the skin in the Baba Ghanoush. The addition of the skin tastes fine but changes the texture. We skipped the skin when preparing it with the teens.
Also, keep in mind that it is a nightshade vegetable and contains oxylates. This means that those suffering from kidney stones or gout need to keep Baba Ghanous consumption to a minimum, unfortunately.
Did the kids like it? And how about the adults?
The teens were excited to prepare this odd sounding dish. None had ever even heard of it.
First they had to prep and then roast the eggplant. That seemed to take the longest time. But once they had their ingredients together in the food processor, it took them no time at all to process their Baba Ghanoush to perfection.
Within minutes they were dipping carrot and celery sticks in it, tasting for seasoning as they ran the food processor. They overdid the garlic just a bit, but the extra garlic flavor didn’t seem to bother them at all. They especially loved the dip on the Naan flat bread that I found at Aldi.
Maybe using the food processor for the first time spiked their interest in eating the Baba Ghanoush, but I actually,think using that Naan bread from Aldi as the dipping vehicle will get kids of all ages eating healthy dip. That bread is so good (and it freezes well, too).
The camp counselors also went crazy over the Baba Ghanoush. So, it turned out to be one of those happy accidents that all were happy to repeat.
I think the most important thing to remember is that you have to drain the eggplant after roasting it. Eggplant holds a LOT of water. If you don’t drain it, your Baba Ghanoush will egg up really watery. So, just allow enough time to drain. Maybe whip up a batch of hummus while you wait.
- 1 eggplant
- ½ cup lemon juice juice from approx 1 lemon
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon pepper or to taste
- 1½ Tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- ¼ cup Kalamata olives chopped, for garnish (optional)
PREHEAT oven to 400 degrees. GREASE a baking sheet.
PLACE eggplant on baking sheet. MAKE several holes in the skin with a fork (or it may explode). ROAST for 30 to 40 minutes, turning occasionally, until soft. REMOVE from oven, and PLACE in a large bowl of ice cold water. REMOVE from water. PEEL skin off eggplant.
DRAIN eggplant pulp well (put the pulp in a colander and place a plate and top it with a heavy weight (like a bottle of olive oil) DRAIN for 15 minutes.
COMBINE eggplant, lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeds, cumin and garlic in an electric blender or food processor. PUREE.
SEASON with salt and pepper to taste. PLACE in a bowl and REFRIGERATE for 3 hours before serving.
Garnish with chopped parsley and chopped olives if desired.