Eggplant is a tough one for me! While I’ve never met a veggie I didn’t like, I have almost no experience with this nightshade. I can never come up with a way to cook it, and end up skipping over the eggplant section at the farmers market.
Until this past weekend that is! I spotted a beautiful bunch of small eggplants, streaked with purple and white, and decided to add them to my haul at the Kingfield Farmers Market. After brainstorming ways to use my new veggie, I quickly settled on making Baba Ghanoush.
This dip is a traditional Middle Eastern spread made with smashed eggplant, tahini and lemon juice, among other ingredients. Some make it smoky, by adding cumin or paprika and cooking the eggplants over an open flame, while others settle on a subtler flavor. Either way, it’s an incredibly easy dish that tastes great with raw veggies and warm pita bread!
What’s good about it:
- It’s filled with healthy fats, mainly from the tahini and any olive oil you add. Including good fats in your meals helps you absorb more nutrients and feel satiated.
- Eggplant is rich in vitamins and minerals, including certain antioxidants (like nasunin) in its deep purple skin. Antioxidants help the body fight against inflammation and stress, two underlying causes of illness and certain diseases.
- Baba Ghanoush includes fresh garlic that packs added benefits for heart and brain health (1).
Ready to dive in?!
Traditional Baba Ghanoush (Eggplant Dip)
This traditional Middle Eastern dip is a healthy and filling companion to fresh veggies and warm pita!
- 10-12 small eggplants, washed (or ~2 medium ones)
- Kosher salt
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Cumin or paprika for flavoring (optional)
- Olive oil for drizzling (optional)
- Preheat the oven to the “broil” setting. Cut the eggplants into 1/4″ slices, sprinkle both sides with kosher salt, and place in a colander. Wait approximately 10-15 minutes or until the eggplant begins to “sweat.” This helps remove any bitter flavors.
- Rinse the eggplant pieces, pat dry, and transfer to a lightly sprayed baking sheet. Roast under the broiler for approximately 5 minutes on each side (total of 10 minutes).
- Let cool and begin to peel skin from the eggplant slices. It should come off easily. Transfer flesh to a food processor or high-powered blender.
- Add tahini, garlic, and lemon juice. Blend until well combined (mixture will be slightly lumpy).
- Taste, and add cumin, paprika, or additional lemon juice as needed. Drizzle with olive oil if desired.
- Serve with sliced veggies and fresh pita!
Have a happy and healthy week!