condiment, snack, vegetable

Baba Ghanoush

What is your favourite Canadian Thanksgiving treat? While I’m a huge fan of freshly made pumpkin pie with whipped cream, my favourite way to celebrate this special day is by leaving the traditional aside and instead make it about discovering new dishes or celebrating those long forgotten.

Baba ghanoush is this year’s favourite appetizer. It’s a delicious roasted eggplant dip with creamy roasted garlic, fragrant and slightly bitter sesame paste, and a touch of tangy lemon juice. It pairs perfectly with toasted pita wedges drizzled with good olive oil and sprinkled with za’atar (which is a middle eastern seasoning mix of seeds, nuts, and spices).

What makes this particular recipe special? Instead of roasting a whole eggplant on the grill, which can take quite a long time and requires a watchful eye, this recipe oven-roasts the eggplant in slices which significantly reduces the cooking time but still gets that toasty caramel flavour that makes baba ghanoush such a favourite. It can also be made a couple days in advance, which is fantastic when you’re planning a whole Thanksgiving meal!

This favourite recipe is adapted from the Minimalist Baker.

Baba Ghanoush

Ingredients:

– 2 medium-sized eggplants (I used one medium and two small)
-1 bulb of garlic
– olive oil for roasting
– juice of one lemon
– 2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
– 2 tbsp fresh parsley, cilantro, or other preferred green herb
– sea salt, to taste

Directions:

1. Position your oven rack so it is at the highest positioning, and preheat oven to broil (I set mine to medium heat broil).
2. Slice your eggplants cross-wise in about 1-inch thick pieces. If desired, sprinkle them with salt and allow them to sit in a colander for about 5 minutes (this removes some of the bitterness). Rinse slightly and then pat them dry with a towel.
3. Lay out the eggplant slices onto a baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Place them in the oven and allow them to get very soft and golden, about 20-30 minutes, turning them over every 5-10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, chop off the top quarter of your garlic bulb, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, and wrap it in aluminum foil. Place it in the oven along with the eggplant.
5. Removed the eggplant from the oven once they’re ready and cover with aluminum foil to steam for about 5 minutes. Reset the oven to 350F and continue roasting the garlic for another 20 minutes or until fragrant and softened (it will easily squeeze out of the papery skin).
6. Peel away the skin of the eggplant- it should pull off quite easily- and discard. Put the eggplant flesh, lemon juice, tahini, parsley, and about 1/4 of the roasted garlic pulp in a food processor. Mix until well combined, taste and adjust seasonings if required (I had to add salt). Reserve the unused portion of roasted garlic for another time- such as mixing it with butter for a delicious garlic bread side dish!

Can be stored for a couple days in the fridge until ready to serve. Best enjoyed at room temperature with pita chips.