I’ve recently discovered a newfound obsession with hummus. I’ve always liked hummus, especially white bean hummus, but when I began dabbling with other versions of hummus (from classic hummus made with chickpeas to mung bean hummus) I discovered I was hooked. (Both recipes were delicious, BTW.) I’m constantly on the search for new flavor of hummus or hummus made with a bean or legume I’ve not yet tried. And in this quest for a new hummus recipe, I ran across recipes for Baba Ganoush.
So here’s a bit of an embarrassing confession. While I’ve heard of Baba Ganoush, I literally had no idea what it was. And I had no idea what type of ingredients were involved in Baba Ganoush; I didn’t even know it was a dip! When I found out Baba Ganoush is a dip made with eggplant I recoiled a bit. I just don’t eat eggplant. I can count the number of times I’ve tried eggplant on one hand (fried eggplant, eggplant lasagna) and I can honestly say there’s nothing about eggplant that has ever made me want to keep trying it.
Of course the fact that this delicious looking dip is made out of hummus intrigued me a bit. I wanted to try it, because I will try almost anything once, and scoured the internet for a good recipe to try. I stopped when I read Cookie + Kate‘s Epic Baba Ganoush recipe, convinced by the word “epic” in the title but also hesitant due to my general lack of love for eggplant. For this reason I leveled my expectations and hoped the dip turned out to be edible.
While I decided to go with the ingredients found in Cookie + Kate‘s recipe, I decided I wanted to use a food processor instead of mashing the ingredients. I wanted a smooth hummus-like dip. When I settled into separating the skin from the flesh I was perplexed by the enormous amount of seeds buried in the flesh. I researched several recipes and none of them addressed the seeds. Was I supposed to include them? Discard them? They looked suspiciously like off-colored chia seeds plumped by liquid, so I figured I would discard as many as possible in hopes of making the dip as smooth as possible. I believe this to have been a wise decision.
When I make hummus, I generally let it chill for a few hours or even a day before trying it. This maximizes the flavor of the hummus as all the ingredients get cozy. I decided to do the same this recipe. I did try a bit while scooping it into my serving bowl and was more than pleasantly surprised — ecstatic! — to discover it tasted rather like a smoky hummus than not. I believe I could pass this off as hummus to unsuspecting and unfamiliar eaters.
Because I love hummus, I also loved this dish. Would I make this again? Again and again and again and again!
- 2 lbs Italian eggplants (about 2 small-to-medium eggplants*)
- 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
- 2 T. lemon juice
- ¼ c. tahini
- ⅓ c. extra-virgin olive oil + more for roasting and garnish
- ¾ tsp salt, or to taste
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- ⅛ tsp. smoked paprika + more for garnish
- Warmed or toasted pita or middle eastern flatbread, pita chips, carrot sticks, or cucumber slices
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the eggplant from sticking to the pan. Halve the eggplants lengthwise and brush the cut sides lightly with olive oil. Place them in the prepared pan with the halved sides up.
- Roast the eggplant until the interior is very tender throughout and the skin is significantly wrinkled, about 35 to 50 minutes. Set the eggplant aside to cool for a few minutes. Scoop out the flesh with a large spoon, leaving the skin behind and attempting to remove as many seeds as possible. You will feel like you’re wasting a lot of flesh when you do this!
- Place a mesh strainer over a mixing bowl, then transfer the flesh to the strainer. Remove as much moisture from the eggplant as possible, so let the eggplant rest for a few minutes and push/stir the eggplant to release some more moisture.
- Add the eggplant flesh to the bowl of a food processor. Add garlic and lemon juice, tahini and olive oil and puree until smooth.
- Stir in salt, smoked paprika and cumin. Adjust taste by adding more seasoning, salt or lemon juice.
- Transfer the dip to a serving bowl and lightly drizzle olive oil on top. Garnish with smoked paprika.