baba ghanouj


If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’d be aware that I have a slight obsession with smoky, creamy baba ghanouj. It’s become a staple favourite for weeknight dinners, games nights, picnics and after work snacks. I’d almost go as far as saying that it’s replaced my hummus addiction, but… well, it hasn’t. Yet.


lemonBaba ghanouj is a Levantine dish made from mashed aubergines mixed with olive oil, garlic, tahini and other seasonings. It’s eaten in various forms all over the Middle East as a starter, appetizer or side dish, occasionally topped with pomegranate molasses, mint, fruity olive oil or spiced tomatoes.

Though baba ghanouj is traditionally made with raw garlic, I recently tried it with roasted, sweet garlic cloves for a softer, more fragrant result. If you’re unaccustomed to eating raw garlic, I’d encourage you to try this method for a less in-your-face garlic sweetness: just splash a good amount of olive oil into a small pan, toss in some unpeeled garlic cloves and roast the lot on medium heat (180 degrees C/360 degrees f) for 15-20 minutes or until the cloves are softened and slightly golden. Squeeze the cloves from their skins before use (these roasted garlic cloves are also fantastic spread onto charred ciabatta with some sea salt, avocado slices and extra virgin olive oil. Yum).

garliccooking garliccup garlicpeeling

Despite the charring process, baba ghanouj is relatively easy to make. It takes about 30 minutes from start to finish and each second is completely worth the investment.

Try it next time you intend to make hummus as a smoky, creamy and delicious alternative. You’ll be glad that you did.


dip4Baba Ghanouj

Makes about 2 cups

  • 2 medium aubergines (eggplant)
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • juice and zest of half a lemon (equivalent to about 1 tbsp juice)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed (roast prior to crushing for a milder garlic flavour)
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (if roasting your garlic cloves, use the oil from the roasting pan)
  • 1/4 tsp toasted cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • to serve: extra virgin olive oil, za’atar, sumac or smoked paprika

Carefully grill the aubergines over an open gas flame, turning them with tongs until the skin is evenly blistered and the flesh is soft.

flame1 flame2

Refrigerate or soak in cold water for ten minutes to cool.

Peel the blackened skin from the aubergines and place them into a bowl or colander. Leave them to drain for 20-30 minutes.

cooked peeling2 peeling3

When drained of fluid, chop coarsely and place into the bowl of a food processor.


Pound lemon zest, chilli flakes and cumin in a mortar and pestle, then add to the food processor bowl with the remaining ingredients. Process until well combined and creamy.

mortar crushed blender

Taste and adjust flavours as required; you may wish to add extra tahini, lemon juice, chilli or salt.

Scoop the baba ghanouj into a serving bowl and make a small ‘well’ in the centre. Pour over some extra olive oil and sprinkle with za’atar, sumac or smoked paprika to serve.

dip3 debrisdipping fin

107 responses

  1. Wow, Laura, your baba ghannouj looks truly heavenly, and your pictures are fantastic! As the season of aubergine starts for you, we are eating our last ones… as much as we can! Baba ghannouj reminds me of my travels to Syria, where it was always served with herbs, tomatoes, and pomegranate seeds (we were always there when it was pomegranate season)… with warm bread, we never tired of it!

    • Thanks so much Darya! It was heaps of fun to take the photographs… the blackened, charred aubergines were pretty photogenic :) I’ve never been to the Middle East but I’d love to go one day. The baba ghanouj there sounds amazing… I definitely need to try it with the pomegranate. Yum! Thanks for the lovely comment xx

  2. I’m with Darya, this reminds me of travelling and eating around Syria. If we have our tent feast, can I put in an order for baba ghannouj? :-D I’ll bring fesenjan, and it will be a feast of pomegranates.

    • So jealous of all who have been to Syria!! Ah, I’d love to go one day. YES. When we have our tent feast, I’ll bring the baba ghanouj, anything you request… just as long as it happens. Please? Soon? :)

  3. I love that you are embracing your inner Middle East! ;)
    My favourite way of eating Moutabel (what they call Baba Ghanouj here) is when serving along with the olive oil putting on a healthy dollop of a chunky chili sauce which is similar to harissa, but not quite as firey. My family in law also add a dollop of labeneh (thick yoghurt) when making it to get it extra creamy – oh so yummy!
    Email your address so that I can send you a little parcel of spices when I’m back in Australia. I won’t risk sending them until I’m home as customs sometimes gets funny about spices in the mail, but I have always been able to bring them with me. xx

    • Ooh, that sounds so delicious! I adore harissa, it’s one of my favourite things. Ever. In the whole world (I think I’ve accentuated that enough now, right?!). I’ll have to try with the chili and yoghurt. Sounds amazing. I’ll email you my address lovely. Wish I could actually be there to meet you though, don’t suppose you could fit Perth onto the itinerary? ;) xx

  4. Ok at the risk of sounding like a stalker, here I am commenting on yet another post! Love the roast garlic idea, why haven’t I thought of that before? Cant wait to give this a go :)

    • Mattster! Haha, I think stalking is kind of an accepted thing in the blogging world. Besides, I’ve been reading all of your posts so we’re equal! Yep, the roasted garlic was really delicious. I do love raw garlic though so either would be eagerly devoured by me (particularly with warm bread, mmm). ONE DAY til EDB 2013. Excitement!

      • Ah I finally found I world I fit into haha. Raw garlic is great… providing you avoid people for a good 24 hours :) Yes is very exciting! Do you know anyone else going? Or will you be a fellow loner?

      • Haha, I knew a couple by name but hadn’t met them before. Fellow loners unite ;) So good to have met the Perth blogging community over the weekend though! Good things are to come, I’m sure!

  5. It always shocks me how something that tastes so decadent, can be so good for you. Lovely silky, smooth eggplant mush with your addition of roasted garlic to take it into another realm of smoky heaven and a basket of flat bread is my idea of a good time. Come to me Baba… I mean baby.

    • I completely agree Jen. It’s awesome when something delicious actually ends up to be good for you. The aubergine mush adds so much creaminess without adding… well, cream, or anything similar :) I am a bit of a roasted garlic addict at the moment. I end up roasting the whole bulb when I do roasted potatoes or Aaron ends up with none ;) So good. xx

    • Thanks so much dear Fae! It was lots of fun to take the photographs. The charred eggplant skins were quite fascinating, very photogenic (haha, I sound strange but it’s true!). I’m a bit sad that the whole batch is gone now. Time to make another! xxx

  6. Laura, this looks fabulous and your photos of the charred eggplants are wonderful! I’d really like to sit down with a bowlful of your Baba Ghanouj this afternoon/evening – the perfect time of day for it!

    • Aw, if you lived closer we could sit together and devour the lot with some warm bread and a glass of wine! Pleeease? The only bad thing about having blogging friends from around the world is the fact that we live so far apart. We need some sort of rich sponsor to pay for all of our air tickets so we can meet up! xx

    • Oh Linda, if you love eggplant you are going to adore baba ghanouj. It’s so easy to make at home, so much cheaper than buying some from a store. Let me know if you try the recipe, it’s never failed me yet :) xx

  7. I have an ongoing love affair with Middle Eastern Food, your Baba Ghanouj is wonderful, I love charring the eggplants I am glad you roast the garlic, thats what I do also and I never added chili flakes, great addition and I will try that next time I make it. You inspired me to make a batch. I love topping with sumac, serve with charred flat bread or lavosh. Oh this is so delicious.

    • Oh, I feel exactly the same Suzanne. Middle eastern food is so rich in flavour, texture, colour, everything… I never get sick of it :) I love a bit of chilli warmth in my food so it was natural to add the chilli flakes…. I think you’d like it! Wish we could eat a batch together with a plate of warm flatbread. Good friends make the best of food that little bit better xx

  8. Gosh, this looks good. I love baba ghanoush, although I haven’t made it in ages. I should – eggplants are good quality at the moment. But like Paula, I make mine with roasted eggplant – easier and IMO superior flavor. Anyway, super post – thanks.

    • Thanks so much John. Eggplants have been pretty cheap and in good supply here too… I bought three last time I was at the market! I’ll try your suggested method next time. I’m sure it’ll be delicious!

    • Thanks Erin. Haha, I always have tahini in the fridge too… it’s become one of my staple ingredients (I’m a little Middle eastern food obsessed!). Hope that you enjoy this if you give it a go. It’s so moreish, I can easily devour a whole bowl with some warm flatbread :) xx

    • Haha! Yay, I’m glad to have started the obsession in your household too lovely! It’s so easy and delicious. Perfect if you’ve got lots of aubergines available (they were cheap in the market the week that I made this, I bought three huge ones!). Just warm up some flatbread and you’ve got instant deliciousness… I love the fact that it’s all chickpeas and eggplant. Veggies and protein come at me! xx

    • You definitely need to try it Mackenzie! It’s delicious, particularly if you’re already a fan of eggplant :) Wish you guys could come over for dinner and I’d make you some. Darn it, why do blogging friends have to be so far away? :( x

  9. Laura, I’ve wanted to make baba ghanouj for FOREVER and yours looks so perfect!! You make it sound easy, but I have a feeling I would not be able to pull it off as effortlessly as you…okay question for you. I don’t have a gas stove, so do you think I could broil the eggplant in my oven instead? Or my boyfriend has one of those George Foreman grills, but I don’t know if that would work since there’s no flame. In any case, I love the idea of roasting the garlic because I CANNOT handle eating raw garlic. I get the worst breath hangover ever. Roasted garlic sounds heavenly!

    • I think the eggplants would be perfect if you roast them in the oven. Just try and turn the broiler up high enough to blister the skin a bit before you roast the rest :) I’m sure your batch of baba ghanouj will be delicious Erika!! Trust me, it’s easy once you’re familiar with making it! xx

  10. This is such a great recipe, Laura. Roasting the garlic is a great idea and would really work in baba ghanouj. I could make a bowl and sit down with some pita, easily finishing both before the movie’s end. I know. I’ve done it with baba ganouj that wasn’t nearly as special as yours. Thanks for sharing your recipe with us. :)

    • Hi John! Thanks so much for the kind words. YES. I would do exactly the same thing if I was snacking during a movie (I’ve done the same thing with hummus and crackers, haha!). I tell myself it’s all vegies and protein from the tahini, right? :)

  11. Hi Laura! Strange, I adore hummus and food from the middle east (I’ve been to a few countries and the food is gorgeous) but if there is one thing I’ve never liked and its this, I don’t know why as I’m not fussy and usually love everything!… Maybe I just haven’t tried yous ;)

    • Hm, it’s fair enough Sofia! Sometimes certain things just don’t appeal to our tastebuds, even though it doesn’t make sense (I am the same with brulees, I like custards and panna cotta but creme brulee just doesn’t appeal to me!). I definitely wouldn’t be offended if you didn’t like my version either :) xx

    • Haha, definitely know what you mean Cass (and yeppers, I feel hungry whenever I visit your beautiful blog!). Smokiness is the BEST when it comes to eggplant dishes. So yummy xx

    • Oh, I can imagine how amazing that baba ghanouj must’ve been. I have a Lebanese friend whose dad makes the most amazing food. Better than anything I can replicate in my own kitchen. So delicious! Hope you’re well Whitney! xx

  12. I am equally obsessed with hummus and baba ghanouj – can’t wait to give this recipe a try! I love how you styled your pictures, and those terra cotta dishes are beautiful! Hope you’re doing well love! xoxo

    • They’re delicious aren’t they? I never get sick of either, particularly as an easy crowd-pleaser when friends come over. Thanks for the kind words about the food styling too love, the little terracotta dishes are handmade and glazed by a beautiful older lady in Margaret River (south of Perth city where I live). I bought them for $4 each from her market stall, they’ve become fast favourites! We’re doing very well. I hope that you are too? Hugs xox

  13. Laura, the step by step presentation is informative and artistic at once. You are making me absolutely crave my own baba ghanouj, my friend!

    • Aw, thanks beautiful! It was so much fun to take the photographs. I never expected charred eggplants to be so photogenic ;) I am completely obsessed with Middle Eastern food Azita. I do think that Persian cuisine is amongst the most beautiful in the world! xx

    • You’ve got it in one. Sooo messy, I ended up with bits of sticky aubergine skin everywhere! Definitely very worth it. Tahini is one of my very favourite things! Thanks for taking the time to comment lovely xx

  14. I’ve never tried baba ghanouj, but I’m a big fan of hummus, so I think I’d love this! I adore that you used roasted garlic too, that stuff makes every dish x1000 times better, so so flavorful! This looks spectacular and your pics are gorgeous :) x

    • If you like hummus I definitely think that you’ll love baba ghanouj. It’s got the same tahini, garlicky quality but the eggplant provides such a gorgeous creamy smokiness. I love it. Thanks so much for the kind comments Consuelo. It was heaps of fun to photograph this post! xx

  15. I love baba ganouj but have to make mine sans garlic. Honestly, it is so good without the garlic, as well. I wish they could concoct a pill that I could take so I could at LEAST eat roasted garlic! It just looks so amazing!

    • I haven’t actually tried it without the garlic but I imagine it’d still be amazing. Wah, roasted garlic is one of my all-time favourite things. Good thing you’re such an awesome cook that you can survive without it ;)

  16. I’m a huge fan of tahini & garlic, and of course anything creamy. Gorgeous photos, just simply beautiful eggplants! <3 Smoking Veggies over a glass flame, too…especially tortillas ;)

    • Thanks Rika! I always feel lucky to have gas hotplates so that I can char veggies on there, I do the same thing with capsicums/peppers/zucchini. So good! Thanks for the sweet words. It was fun to take the photos! x

  17. Wow! I have read a lot of Baba Ghanoui recipes, but this is more like a most lovely essay about the beauty and sensuality of preparing it. Gorgeous, Laura! If I had the ingredients at hand right now, I would straigth away go to the kitchen and prepare some :-).

    • Aw, thanks Claudia dear! You’re way too kind (I am SUCH a fan of your blog so the compliment is definitely returned!). I do hope you prepare some too, it’s so delicious. Hope that you are well lovely xx

  18. Love to make babaganoush with roasted garlic. I agree it add such a nice garlic aroma without the pungent flavor of raw garlic. Just recently I started “burning” the eggplant instead of just roasting it and I make such a difference in the flavor. It is definetely worth it!

    • I am obsessed with roasted garlic at the moment. It’s so delicious and relatively easy to prepare. Yep, completely agree that the effort and mess is entirely worth it! Thanks so much for the kind comment, I love getting to know the amazing blogging community… stopping over at your blog now! x

  19. I love the charred, smoked flavour of eggplants when they are roasted on an open flame. This reminds me of a similar Indian dish and we use roasted garlic and Indian spices to go along with it. I would love to make this recipe….love that it uses Tahini!

    • I completely agree Sonali, love the smokiness! I’d love to make the similar Indian dish. Sounds absolutely divine, do you have it on your blog? And yep, tahini is awesome. So delicious xx

  20. yum!! this looks so delicious!! :) i love the idea of roasting the garlic!
    so going to try this recipe – thanks!
    and great photos! :) xx

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  24. I’m slowly making my way through all your blog but this caught my eye because I love baba ghanouj. It is probably my favourite dip. Dave wasn’t a fan to begin with but I have totally converted him :) I love the idea of roasted garlic in there xx

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