Can you imagine authentic Mediterranean cuisine without dips? Decidedly, there is no better way to jump-start a meal than with a velvety baba ganoush alongside freshly baked pita bread or gluten-free pita chips.

This delectable dip comprises eggplant, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and seasoning. 

Its widespread reputation has encouraged food enthusiasts to whip up variations. Yet, the flavor stays close to its roots, short of a personal touch.

For instance, you can increase or decrease the zestiness or add a sprinkle of your favorite chili spice. Perhaps up the creaminess with extra tahini or Greek yogurt.  

Ultimately, there is room to play to accommodate how you enjoy it!

While this recipe calls for traditional spices, don’t worry; you can substitute them with popular pantry-ready products.  

So, without further ado, let’s create a traditional eggplant dip with an unforgettable smoky flavor.

How to Make Authentic Baba Ganoush: A Smoky Sensation

Before you get cooking, let’s explore the story behind this delectable dish.

What is the Myth of Baba Ganoush?

The exact origin of baba ganoush is unknown.  However, several dishes offer an intriguing myth.  

In this case, baba ganoush is an Arabic term meaning “pampered daddy.”  Legend has it that a servant combined eggplant, tahini, garlic,  lemon juice, and salt to spoil her sultan with a luxurious meal.

No matter how you associate with this myth, you can be sure this servant introduced a symphony of flavor that has continued to tantalize tastebuds for centuries.  

Time to cook!

Recipe Overview

Dietary Information Vegetarian, vegan
Servings 6 or more
Prep 20 minutes
Draining and Resting 1 hour
Cook 20 minutes
Total 1 hour 40 minutes

Gather your baba ganoush ingredients:

  • 2 eggplants:  opt for smaller eggplants about 4 -5 inches (12 – 14cm) in length.  Smaller varieties are sweeter, more tender, and have fewer seeds.  
  • ⅓ to ¼ cup Tahini:  Tahini paste is made from roasted sesame seeds, then pressed to produce a smooth paste with a gorgeous earthy taste.  For extra indulgence, go for a ¼ cup.
  • 1 – 2 gloves fresh garlic (minced or finely chopped): Adjust to how garlicky your palate is.
  • 1 – 3 tbsp (15 – 45ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice: if you enjoy super zesty dips, go wild with 3 tbsp.  Alternatively, add 1 tbsp, and you can add more to the finished product.
  • Optional suggestion:  1 – 2 tbsp (15ml – 30ml) Greek or double cream yogurt or sour cream.
  • Seasoning:  a healthy pinch of kosher or Himalayan salt and pepper to taste.  
  • Recommended optional seasoning:  ½ tsp (2.5ml) of sumac and ¼ to ½ tsp (1.25 – 2.5ml) cayenne pepper for spiciness.  
  • Garnish:  a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and fresh parsley
  • Recommended optional garnish:  roasted shaved almonds or pine nuts with a dash of sumac for color.

How to Make Baba Ganoush

Preparing baba ganoush is easier than you think, but it does take some time. You will begin by grilling the eggplant over an open flame or baking it in the oven.  Then, you add the remaining ingredients and whizz them together in a food processor or mix by hand.

For best results, follow the instructions below:


  • Grill the Eggplant (preferred): this method ensures you get distinct, deep, smoky flavor.  Place the eggplant over an open gas flame (medium to high heat).  Turn occasionally using heat-resistant tongs until skin is perfectly charred. Flesh will soften and collapse (around 15 – 20 minutes), which should do the trick.
  • Bake the Eggplant: Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). In the meantime, cut eggplant in half (lengthways) and place it face down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes until flesh is soft and cooked through.
  • Cool and Drain: Place the cooked eggplant in a colander that comfortably fits in a bowl or rimmed plate. Using a sharp knife, open it wide to cool faster. Then, push the eggplant down with a wooden spoon to drain excess liquid.
  • Peel off the skin:  Once cool to the touch, peel off the grilled, charred skin and stem and discard (or add to your compost collection).  For baked eggplant, scoop out the tender flesh with a spoon.
  • Mixing: Place the eggplant flesh in the food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Pulse a few times to combine the ingredients, then blend until creamy.
  • Manual Mixing: Put the flesh into a mixing bowl and mash with a fork. If any liquid arises, drain through the colander again for luck!  Then, gently combine the remaining ingredients with a wooden spoon until velvety.
  • Chill: Cover the mixture with clingfilm and refrigerate for 10-20 minutes. It’s okay if you don’t have time to chill it, but it does enhance the texture and flavor.
  • Serve: Arrange the baba ganoush on a rimmed plate or serving bowl. Use the back of a spoon to create a spiral pattern.  Drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil and garnish with fresh parsley, roasted shaved almonds or pinenuts, and sumac.

Suitable substitutes

Suppose you don’t have sumac.  Before you squeeze the lemons, use a zester to remove 1 tsp (5ml) of lemon zest.  Although it offers a more robust citrus flavor, it is an ideal alternative you have on hand.

Furthermore, if you prefer a dip without heat, swap the cayenne pepper for smoked paprika (1:1 ratio).  In particular, it enhances baked eggplant, as it lacks the natural smoky elements when grilled.

What to Serve with Baba Ganoush

Naturally, a freshly baked pita is an excellent choice.  On the other hand, here are a few serving suggestions:

  • Add to a meze platter alongside hummus, marinated olives, and artichokes.
  • Use it as a sandwich spread.
  • Serve alongside tortilla or pita chips at your next ballgame gathering
  • Add as a side for Mediterranean-inspired lamb or chicken 
  • Place a healthy dollop in your next dinner bowl

5 Pro Tips for the Best Baba Ganoush

  1. Grill the eggplant over and open the flame.  Even better, place them whole on the BBQ and follow the grilling method above.  
  2. Ensure you drain as much excess liquid as possible.
  3. Authentic baba ganoush has a smooth and creamy texture.  To achieve this, mix by hand.  Using the food process is quicker but produces an extra velvety texture, which moves away from its traditional consistency.
  4. Chilling is beneficial for enhanced flavor.
  5. Keep baba ganoush refrigerated and consume it within 3-4 days. Freezing is not recommended. When defrosting, the ice produces liquid, affecting taste and texture.

While you fasten your apron, take a look at some answers to your common questions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How do you get the bitterness out of Baba Ganoush?

When roasting sliced or halved eggplant, rub a generous pinch of salt on the flesh and allow it to rest for approximately 15 – 30 minutes.  Then, rinse with water and dry off with a kitchen towel before proceeding with the recipe.  Alternatively, purchase smaller-sized eggplants when grilling whole, as they tend to be sweeter than larger varieties.

Do you eat baba ganoush hot or cold?

Baba ganoush is best served chilled.  Even so, if you need to serve it immediately, the preparation time will bring it to room temperature.  It is still delicious, but allowing it to sit in the refrigerator for 15 – 20 minutes enhances the texture and flavor.

Is Baba Ganoush healthy or unhealthy?

Baba ganoush is healthy and offers excellent nutritional benefits.  The main ingredient is eggplant, which is high in fiber and low in calories and carbohydrates.  It is also a super source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K and potassium.

Final Take Aways

Baba ganoush is the supreme dip sensation.  It is bursting with goodness and rich, authentic flavors.  Certainly, Mediterranean dining would be lost without it!

Whether you are looking for a starter, a side dish, or a meze condiment, baba ganoush brings a touch of luxury and indulgence. At Aladdin Houston, we prepare a heavenly baba ganoush and invite you to try it at our restaurant.

Related Reads:

What is Baba Ganoush?  A Journey into the Smoky Delight of Mediterranean Cuisine

Top 10 Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet for Well-Being