Looking for a dip that is creamy, delicious, healthy and dairy-free? Say hello to my Easy Babaganoush, a simple recipe that totally delivers on taste and satisfaction - and is also hubby approved!
DON'T FORGET TO DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE
AT THE LINK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST
This famous Middle-Eastern dip is something I've been wanting to try for a very long time - and this dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan-friendly version is surprisingly easy and bursting with goodness!
So you need to know a little something about me, I've never been an eggplant lover. I was a fussy eater as a child and grew up detesting foods like coriander and mangos (yes I know) - both foods that I now love. Today I can also proudly say I like eggplant - huzzah!
I was really impressed with the tang of the lemon and the utter creaminess of the eggplant. In this recipe, the eggplant is roasted in the oven (because as a busy person, I have better things to do than stand over the grill grilling eggplants). Baking the eggplant allowed the oven to do the hard work, allowed it to develop a beautiful flavour and a resulted in super soft texture - plus not annoying peeling off the skin after. The addition of herbs and spices, (including ground coriander which isn't traditional but I added it and it was delicious), makes it a true delight.
The hubby who has lived in Dubai was equally impressed by this version of babaganoush and polished it off pretty much instantly which I took as a sign of great success!
The best eggplants for this recipe are your simple long purple eggplants.
Smaller eggplants will cook through faster so go for those compared to the larger ones. You want a bit of char - that adds a lovely flavour.
Another small tip I wanted to share with you is that while traditionally olive oil is used to "baste" the surface of the eggplant, I recommend a light brushing of health boosting coconut oil because it can tolerate the higher temperature and does not affect the end flavour. Olive oil is full of beautiful nutritional benefits that are destroyed when heat is applied, so coconut oil is a much better option. These days you can get amazing coconut oil that is very mild in flavour and work amazingly well for frying and baking. I buy mine from my local grocery store but you can also order it online here. (This link is not a sponsored ad link and I receive nothing, just sharing it for my readers who can't find it locally).
One more thing, be sure to cook these cut side down, because we want them to char a little and develop flavour. Once cooled, simply flip over and easily scoop out that gorgeously soft flesh with a large spoon.
Olive oil isn't a good choice for baking as it can't withstand high temperatures, although not traditional, I brushed my cut eggplant surfaces with coconut oil which is healthier for baking as it can maintain its integrity at high temperatures.
Be sure the cut your eggplants in half to reduce cooking time and prevent the eggplant from possibly exploding in your oven.
The eggplant is done when the skin begins to collapse. When you touch the outer skin it should be very soft and offer no resistance. This will ensure a silky, rich dip.
Draining the excess moisture out of the eggplant is a crucial step.
To roast your pinenuts, simply pop them into a small non-stick pan over medium heat until golden brown.
Roasting the garlic makes is lovely and sweet but you can also gently fry some minced garlic in a pan with a touch of coconut oil so it doesn't burn and add it to the mixture.
As you mix, most of the eggplant strands should break down, however a few small ones will not affect the end result.
It's a little out there, but the addition of tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) add just a touch of umami flavour which I think enhances the end result
2 medium-sized purple eggplants (total weight of approximately 1kg / 2 pounds)
Coconut oil (for brushing the cut surface of the eggplant before baking)
2 large cloves of garlic in their skin
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (taste after 2 tablespoons and see if you'd like some more zing)
¼ cup tahini
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Pinch of smoked paprika, for garnish (optional)
1 tablespoon roasted pinenuts, for garnish (optional)
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil for garnish (optional)
OPTION: If dairy isn't a problem for you, you can mix a heaped tablespoon of Greek yogurt into the mixture before garnishing.
OPTION: Add a little sumac for another level of exotic flavour.
Preheat the oven to 200c / 400F degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking tray with baking paper. Halve the eggplants lengthwise and brush the cut sides lightly with coconut oil. Place them in the prepared pan with the halved sides down. Add the garlic cloves in their skin as well.
Roast the eggplant until the interior is very tender throughout and the skin is collapsing about 40-45 minutes. They are done when there is no resistance to the touch, and they feel soft and mushy. Set the eggplant aside to cool for a few minutes.
Flip the eggplant over and scoop out the flesh with a large spoon, discarding the skin, into a large mesh strainer over a mixing bowl to catch the drips. Pick out any stray bits of eggplant skin if needed and discard them. Drain excess liquid by letting the eggplant rest for a few minutes - stir the eggplant to release some more liquid.
Discard the excess liquid in the bowl, wipe it down and then add the drained eggplant into the bowl. Squeeze in the roasted garlic, discard outer the skin and give a quick stir to combine.
Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and stir vigorously with a whisk until the eggplant breaks down and most of the strands are gone.
Add the tahini to the bowl and mix well.
Slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil and continue stirring until the mixture is pale and creamy, use your whisk to keep stirring and use your fork to break up any particularly long strings of eggplant.
Stir in some of the parsley, salt, cumin and coriander. Season to taste with more salt and lemon juice if you like a tangy flavour.
Transfer the babaganoush to your serving bowl and lightly drizzle olive oil on top. Garnish with the remaining parsley, a little smoked paprika and roasted pinenuts if using.
Serve with warmed or toasted pita wedges, tortilla chips carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, cucumber slices, olives, etc. and enjoy.
MAKES ONE BOWL
DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE HERE