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What Is Baba Ganoush?

Amy Pollick
Updated May 17, 2024
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Baba ganoush is a Middle Eastern dish that varies depending on where it is prepared. Its primary ingredient is eggplant, which makes it easy to prepare in the United States. In Syria and other parts of the Levant, baba ganoush is something of a salad. It includes chunks of grilled eggplant, diced onion, tomatoes and other seasonal vegetables. The ingredients are tossed together with a pomegranate vinaigrette.

The second kind of baba ganoush is found in other sections of the Middle East. In this variation, the eggplant is grilled, then scooped out of the skin. The vegetable is pureed with tahini to make a paste. It is then seasoned and eaten as a spread or dip. The seasonings used are left up to the cook’s imagination, but popular seasonings include garlic, parsley, lemon juice, salt, cumin and even mint. Other cooks use ground coriander and top the dish with red pepper or paprika.

Like many ethnic dishes, forms of baba ganoush change depending on location, and are even seen outside the Middle East. It is something of a “transitional” dish that has made its way into Greek and other Mediterranean cuisines. It has even traveled down to Egypt and Ethiopia!

The trickiest part of making this dish is probably roasting the eggplant. Some people always fry eggplant or bake it in something like eggplant parmesan, but roasting it is a good option, too. To roast an eggplant, first wash the vegetable and pierce the skin. Place it on aluminum foil on a baking sheet under the broiler and keep an eye on it. Turn the vegetable once, and remove the eggplant when it is oozing and black on all sides. Put it in cold water, then peel or slice it and scoop out the contents for the baba ganoush.

Baba ganoush can be eaten with pita chips, spread on flatbread or used in a wrap for a tasty, healthier condiment. It can be used in place of mayonnaise or salad dressing.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Amy Pollick
By Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at WiseGeek. With experience in various roles and numerous articles under her belt, she crafts compelling content that informs and engages readers across various platforms on topics of all levels of complexity.
Discussion Comments
By anon20559 — On Nov 02, 2008

about roasting eggplant:

1. do not forget to pierce it... otherwise it explodes :)

2. after roasting, place it in closed bag plus salt. let rest for 15 minutes. peeling will be a breeze.

easy way of serving roasted eggplant: puree using blender or wooden spoon. mix with diced onion. refrigerate. serve with tomato slices on top.

Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at WiseGeek. With...
Learn more
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