Friday, July 9, 2010

Baba Ghanouj (or Ghanoush) Egglplant Dip

This is a great alternative to hummus -- fewer calories and very healthy!

1.5 pound whole eggplant
1-2 cloves of garlic (start with one)
1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice (freshly squeezed) - can add more to taste
2-3 Tbsp. tahini - again, can add more to taste
1 Tbsp. olive oil + extra for baking eggplant
1 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
small bunch of flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry eggplant. Cover lightly with olive oil and poke eggplant with a small knife or fork several times. Place eggplant on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes until it is soft when poked with a knife. Remove from oven and allow to cool. You can also grill the eggplant to give it a smoky taste. When cooled, the eggplant should deflate and be flat.

Cut open the eggplant and scoop out the flesh, taking out any big chunks of seeds and place flesh into a colander and allow to drain for about 10 minutes. Removing the excess liquid removes most of the bitter flavor.

In a food processor, mix the eggplant flesh with the remaining ingredients, except parsley. Pulse a few times to make it smooth like hummus. Taste and adjust to your own taste and liking. Fold in parsley.

Sprinkle with chili powder and garnish with a little extra olive oil before serving with pita chips, pita bread, or raw veggies. You can also spice it up a bit by adding crushed red pepper (cayenne). For a delicious, refreshing flavor, garnish with fresh mint instead of parsley.

This will keep up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator. I make it a day in advance to allow all the flavors to meld.

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