If you guys haven’t already noticed, i’m a sucker for dips and spreads and things i can make and keep in the fridge for the family to enjoy for days ahead.
I’m sure i’ve developed my love for dips, spreads and small plates from my Lebanese/Palestinian heritage where we eat something called mezza, which is a spread of small plates of appetizers, dips and spreads. Think of it like tapas. The table is always loaded with fresh veggies, freshly baked breads, gorgeous salads like tabouleh and fattoush and of course the necessary hummus, muhammara and baba ghanouj. These (mainly) vegetarian mezzas are a favorite around the Middle East because it gives you the ability to sit at a table with your friends and family and chat over a colorful variety of foods without getting too full off of just one. To me, Baba Ghanouj has always been my favorite (sorry hummus). The way an eggplant tastes after its been grilled or roasted just radiates a smokey aroma that lingers in your mouth along with the thick and creamy tahini. It’s healthy and filling and so quick to pull together that you’ll usually discovery a massive platter of it in my fridge in the summertime when eggplants are plentiful and the grill is the easiest way to cook. I alway serve my Baba Ghanouj chilled from the fridge, doused in olive oil and chili flakes and eaten with warmed up pita bread.
Does this sound good to you yet? It should. Give this ridiculously easy and healthy recipe a try. i guarantee you’ll find yourself making this once a week. The perfect after school snack for the kids, party platter, side dish for dinner or even pool snack.
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Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
1-2 globe eggplants (totaling 2 lbs)
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2-3 T tahini
3 garlic cloves
1 t ground cumin
Juice of one lemon - about 2 1/2 T
Salt and chili flakes to taste
1. Oven method Preheat oven to 400°F. Poke the eggplants in several places with the tines of a fork. Place on a baking sheet and roast until very tender, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
2. Grilling method Preheat grill. Poke the eggplants in a few places with a fork, then rub the eggplants with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Grill over high heat, turning as each side blackens. Put the charred eggplants in a paper bag, close the bag and let the eggplants steam in their skins for 15-20 minutes.
3. Scoop the eggplant flesh into a food processor with the garlic, remaining olive oil (about 2 Tbsp), tahini, cumin, 2 Tbsp of the lemon juice, the salt, and a pinch of chili flakes. Lightly puree the mixture until it is a mix of smooth and chunky.
4. Allow the baba ghannouj to cool to in the fridge, then drizzle a little olive oil on the top and sprinkle with more chili flakes or even some pomegranate seeds, if you have some!