Aubergine (eggplant) has been making a regular appearance in our veg box recently which is good news for us. Aubergine is delicious regardless how it is cooked (although I know that some, including Baby Green, dislike the mushy texture aubergine has when cooked in a liquid). This delicious Middle Eastern spread celebrates the smoky flavour of oven baked aubergine.
Baba Ganoush is a favourite in our household, and by household I mean Baby Green, as it is an undisputed truth that if he likes a dish, it stays on the menu. We are delighted that Baby Green likes Baba Ghannoush, as the recipe contains a fair amount of healthy fats and calcium contributed by the tahini, both of which are particularly important for a growing child.
The aubergine is baked whole and without the addition of any oil or salt. Lemon juice adds a nice zing which enhances the flavour of the dish. For a three-ingredient dish, this packs a lot of flavour and nutrition, and is pretty easy to prepare to boot.
Traditionally the aubergine for Baba Ganoush is roasted whole over an open flame, wrapped and cooked in a hot oven, and, once cooked, the flesh is scooped out and blended with the remaining ingredients. I include the skin of the aubergine in this recipe as it is a powerhouse of nutrition and I do not think that it detracts in any way from the flavour of the final dish. While roasting the aubergine over an open flame is really optimal for achieving best flavour, the aubergine will nevertheless be delicious simply baked, uncovered, in a hot oven. A drizzle of a very good quality (organic) cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil can be added once the Baba Ganoush is prepared, but it is not necessary.
In keeping with the plant-based whole foods ethos, I use a dark tahini in all of our recipes. This does not reflect the seed variety, but means that the entire sesame seed is used. The lighter (in colour) versions generally have the husk removed. Again, I do not think this alters the taste, or rather, if it does, it only does so to impart a deeper and richer flavour, and I am happier knowing that I am using whole ingredients in our dishes. As I have previously noted in respect of seed and nut butters on the market, it is often the case that these contain added vegetable oil and sometimes also other “nasties” which are best avoided. We generally look for a tahini that contains only whole sesame seeds.
Keep in mind that the tahini that you find may not have the same consistency as ours: the brand we use provides a very thick texture, so a safe bet is to use the below measurements and add more tahini to taste or to achieve the desired texture. The mixture can also be thinned out by adding a little water.
- 2 X large aubergine
- 1 X juicy lemon
- 3 tbsp tahini
- Salt (to taste)
- Parsley to garnish
Method: (see video below)
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- Prick aubergines all over with a knife or fork (this lets out steam to avoid an explosion in the oven) and place on an oven rack and into a preheated oven for 60 minutes.
- Allow to cool before handling.
- Once cool to the touch, cut off and discard the top with the stem and split the aubergine open lengthwise. Cut once more lengthwise to quarter the aubergines and finally chop into chunks and place in a food processor.
- Juice the lemon and add the lemon juice with the tahini to the food processor and blend to smooth.
- Put some of the blended mixture aside for any youngsters and salt the remaining mixture to taste and blend for a further minute or so.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and dip in!