This baba ganoush Lebanese recipe is a delicious and creamy eggplant dip that is perfect with fresh hot pita bread. This smoked aubergine dip is full of flavor and compliments so many other Middle Eastern dishes. If you are looking for recipes with eggplant, this one is the best!Jump to Recipe
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If you have ever been to a Mediterranean restaurant, you probably have seen baba ganoush on the menu. Maybe you have wondering what is baba ganoush? It is a really creamy eggplant dip made with tahini, garlic, a few spices and is served on the mezze platter (appetizers).
If you are looking for a healthy dip recipe, this one is it! Not only is babaganoush super good for you, it also fits many special diets. It is gluten free, dairy free, keto and paleo and it tastes amazing!
Baba ganoush (also spelled baba ghanoush, baba ganouj, baba ghanouj) is a famous Middle Eastern appetizer dish that is commonly eaten in Lebanon and Jordan and the surrounding areas. This dish is a Levantine dish and is a very typical Lebanese food to serve as an appetizer and alongside other meat dishes.
What does baba ganoush taste like? Lebanese baba ganoush is extremely creamy and has a slightly smoky flavor to it, since it contains grilled eggplant, or sometimes smoked eggplant. It's earthy, slightly tangy from fresh lemon juice and has a bit of garlic as well.
The ingredients for this baba ganoush recipe Lebanese style are:
- fresh garlic
- lemon juice
- olive oil
There are also lots of toppings that you can use for authentic baba ganoush, some of which are covered in the "variations" section below:
As will most Lebanese recipes, every family has their different versions of them. Sometimes people make recipes of baba ganoush with pomegranate molasses or add pomegranate seeds to the top.
Toppings are definitely a BIG variable when it comes to traditional baba ganoush. It is very common to add lots of toppings to it like chopped tomatoes, parsley and a load of red onions. It would be served more like a salad in this way.
Also, not all Lebanese baba ghanoush recipes are smoky. Sometimes I bake my eggplant in the oven instead of grilling it or roasting it over a flame. You can still get a hint of smokiness if you use smoked paprika to garnish on the top of it, if you would rather.
Since recipes vary from region to region and family by family, there are quite a few different recipes for baba ganoush out there. Some baba ghanoush recipes are more smoky than others because the method of preparing the eggplant differs.
The first thing that needs to be done before cooking the eggplant, is to cut it in half lengthwise and brush it with olive oil. You will be preparing it this way for all of the cooking methods listed below EXCEPT for the last cooking method (stovetop broiling).
You want to make sure NOT to drizzle it with olive oil, but rather use a pastry brush to apply it. If you drizzle olive oil onto the eggplant, since it is a porous vegetable, all of the olive oil will soak into the spots that you drizzle it onto.
It is best to brush the olive oil on!
Now let's talk about cooking methods...
I've had super smoky baba ganoush and I've had it when it has hardly been smoky at all. It really depends on your preferences and I will go through the eggplant cooking methods below:
- Oven baked or broiled- If you do not want your aubergine dip smoky at all, you should bake the eggplant in the oven. I do this by preparing it according to the directions above, and baking it at 400 ℉ for 25-30 minutes or until it's tender and brown on the top.
- Air fryer baba ganoush- This method for making baba ganoush will also not be smoky at all. If you have a smaller eggplant, prepare it as instructed above and put it face up into the air fryer on 400 ℉ for 20 minutes or so.
- Grilling- Place the prepared eggplant halves facedown on the grill over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. The eggplant should have good grill marks and be very tender
- Broiling over an open flame- This is a very traditional way of making this baba ganoush smoky. If you have a gas stove, you can carefully place the whole/uncut eggplant over the open flame and broil it on all sides until it is blackened (it should take several minutes on each side). After it is cooked and blackened, let it cool off for about 10 minutes, you should be able to easily peel the skin off of the eggplant.
After you have finished of cooking the eggplant per method of your choice, scoop out the eggplant flesh (seeds and all) of the eggplant and put it into a food processor. Add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini and spices to the food processor also. When it is all smooth and creamy, transfer it to a bowl for serving.
Top it with garnishes of choice like: olive oil, fresh diced tomatoes, onions, pomegranate arils, pine nuts, parsley, olives etc.
🥗 Serving suggestions
If you are wondering what to serve with baba ganoush, I will lead you in the way! Since this is a typical Middle Eastern appetizer, it belongs on the mezze (appetizer platter) alongside other finger foods and appetizers.
First and foremost the best way to serve and eat baba ganoush it is with hot fresh pita bread (click for recipe). It's also a good idea to have an assortment of salads like Lebanese Tabbouleh or Fattoush and of course along with some homemade hummus. It also pairs very will with baked and fried kibbeh and other Lebanese grilled meats like shawarma and kafta.
Check out these other popular recipes!
- Instant Pot French Dip Sandwich Recipe
- Marinated Mozzarella Balls
- Lebanese Falafel (Vegan Falafel Recipe)
- Mint Yogurt Sauce - Lebanese Yogurt Dip
- Mediterranean Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard
- Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce)
Is baba ganoush like hummus?
While both of these Middle Eastern dips are creamy and perfect with pita bread and veggies, they are quite different. Hummus is made with garbanzo beans and is high in protein and baba ganouj is made with eggplant and is truly paleo.
Is it healthier than hummus?
Hummus and baba ganoush are both very healthy Lebanese dips. It's hard to really say which is healthier, but baba ganoush just might be. There are some added benefits to using a vegetable (like antioxidants and vitamins) as opposed to a bean as the meat of the dish. You can check out the health benefits of eggplant on Healthline.
What's the difference between mutabal and baba ganoush?
While these two Lebanese dips are very very similar, there are a few minor differences. Mutubal has alot more tahini in it. In fact, Lebanese baba ganoush can easily be made without tahini and it would be fine. Sometimes mutubal has added yogurt for more creaminess and a bit of tartness, but it is usually served without many of the toppings for baba ganoush.
Is baba ghanoush keto friendly?
YES! Traditional baba ganoush is about as keto as it gets!
Should I remove the seeds from the eggplant?
Removing the seeds from the eggplant is simply unnecessary and tedious when it comes to making this Lebanese baba ganoush recipe. If you think the seeds will be too much, you can remove some of them after the eggplant is cooked.
It is important that you have a good quality food processor for this recipe, and for many other Lebanese recipes. I highly recommend this Cuisinart food processor, I've had mine for years. Check out my affiliate link below:
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- 1 large eggplant
- 3 Tablespoons tahini paste
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 lemon juiced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- Cut the eggplant in half and brush it with olive oil.
- Cook the eggplant via you method of choice for 25 minutes (bake, grill, air fry, stovetop broil). See Note #1 below
- Remove the pulp of the eggplant and put it into a food processor along with the fresh garlic, lemon juice, tahini and salt and process in a food processor until smooth
- When it is incorporated and creamy, transfer to a serving dish and garnish with olive oil toppings of choice (see Note #2 below). Serve and enjoy