If you would have told me when I was little that our Lebanese food such as Baba Ghannuj and Hummus would one day be in restaurants and grocery stores throughout America, I would have never believed you. Fortunately, the food of my heritage continues to become popular in America because they are healthy and delicious!
Today, almost every grocery store carries hummus. Many restaurants have now added Baba Ghannuj to their appetizer selection. If you haven’t had it, it’s a delicious smoky eggplant dip. You will find it spelled both Ghannuj and Ghanoush.
I am not only sharing my mom’s fabulous recipe but also two of her tips: How to store tahini (one of the ingredients) and how to always have fresh tasting pita bread on hand. But first, I wanted to show my preparation of her delicious Baba Ghannuj.
Easy Prep for Baba Ghannuj
Baba Ghannuj is so easy to make and only requires 5 ingredients. To prepare the eggplant, prick it several times with a fork or knife. You can either grill it or broil it until it is charred.
Once the eggplant is well done, split open and scoop out the eggplant and place in a bowl. Add other ingredients per the recipe below.
I use my potato masher to mash the eggplant. You can also use a handheld electric mixer.
Blend all ingredients well. Chill for 3o minutes.
Garnish with olive oil, whole mint leaves or chopped parsley. You can also sprinkle paprika on the dip.
Great Tip for Storing Tahini
Tahini is ground sesames in the form of a paste. If you have ever purchased Tahini before, you know it often comes separated as shown below. The paste may even become a little hard at the bottom of the jar with the oil on top. Empty the container into a food processor or blender and blend until thoroughly mixed.
Once you blend the tahini, it will be much easier to use and stay blended.
I like storing my tahini in wide-mouthed containers such as these Talenti Gelato jars that I saved. (The Sicilian Pistachio is delicious!)
Store in the fridge. It will be easily pourable anytime you need it.
How to Always Have Fresh Tasting Pita Bread On Hand
Pita bread was a staple in our house growing up. We used it in place of crackers for dips such as hummus and baba ghannuj. We also made sandwiches with it. As a child, I loved making sandwiches with peanut butter and marshmallow fluff! OMG! It was one of my favorite sandwiches. To this day, I still spread cream cheese inside the pita pocket and toast it in my toaster oven. It’s my version of a bagel and cream cheese!
You can stock up on pita and freeze it. But you can’t just put it in the freezer. You have to prep them first. My mom taught me to cut the pita in half and open the pocket. The purpose of opening the pita pocket before freezing is so the two layers won’t stick together.
Stack the cut pita, place back in the original bag, removing all air pockets. Store in a second ziplock freezer bag. When you want a piece of pita, remove from the freezer and place on a paper towel on the counter. Within 5 to 7 minutes your pita will be defrosted and taste fresh. If you are not using the pita right away, place in a sealed plastic bag after fully defrosted.
Lemon Juice Tip
I always have lemon juice on hand. See my post For Lovers of Lemon Juice. It’s easy to do and always comes in handy when making dips like this or salad dressings.
Now, for the recipe! Be forewarned! It’s addictive.
- For Dip
- 1 large eggplant, about 1½ to 2 lbs.
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup tahini
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- For Garnishing
- fresh whole mint leaves or
- parsley, finely chopped
- paprika, optional
- olive oil
- Prick eggplant several times with a fork. Place on foil lined pan. Broil (or grill) eggplant until charred and well done, turning frequently.
- Scoop out eggplant and place in bowl. Cool. Mash with potato masher. (You can also use an electric mixer).
- Add crushed garlic, salt, tahini and lemon juice. Blend thoroughly with eggplant.
- Place in serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with fresh mint leaves on the side or sprinkle chopped parsley on top. You can also sprinkle with paprika if desired.