Are you afraid of eggplant? Stop it, it’s good if you cook it right. (You’re right though—it sucks if you’re not good at cooking it.)
In this post we’re going to show you how to love eggplant by learning to cook it well. Baba Ganouj is the logical first step, because it’s totally easy—and because it’s simple to add some cannabis love. Here we go.
What Is Baba Ganoush or Baba Ganouj?
This dish is popular throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Although the dish itself is Lebanese, the delicious, savory eggplant dip is called baba Ganouj for a reason: in Arabic “baba” means dad and “ghanouj” is a term that means spoiled or pampered.
In other words, it’s so good to eat that you can’t help but feeling spoiled during the experience. Chefs around the world call roasted eggplant “caviar,” so that feeling isn’t culturally specific.
My point is: get over your eggplant fear. It’s totally worth it. And this creamy, silky, mouth-wateringly smoky dip loaded with tahini, citrus, spices, and garlic is your gateway to eggplant.
Some people ask me: “Why should I bother? Hummus is easy and practically the same.”
Do you think rich, umami-laden, smoky bacon tastes the same as a hot dog? You don’t, right?
I love beans and chickpeas. I do. But they do not taste the same as a smoky roasted or grilled vegetable, especially not this one. I promise.
What’s In It?
So…what exactly is in this stuff?
- Eggplant. 1 large globe eggplant is what you need for this recipe, and you should be able to find that in most grocery stores. You can either roast it or grill it over open flame to prepare the eggplant for baba ganouj. Either way, we aim for a smoky flavor.
- Garlic. At least 2 fresh garlic cloves, crushed. I use lots of garlic, honestly, but it depends on how garlicky you like things.
- Tahini. Tahini paste is like the peanut butter of toasted sesame seeds and it is a Mediterranean staple. Soom tahini is what I like best, but you should be able to find other options. Don’t skip it; you need it both for its nutty flavor and creamy texture.
- Infused EVOO. This blends into the baba ganouj to lend it a silky consistency, not to mention lots of cannabinoids. It also gets drizzled generously on top.
- Lemon juice. Lemon juice elevates this dip in a subtle yet important way, don’t skip this.
- Seasonings. Sea salt and fresh pepper, to taste. I also use smoked paprika to enhance the natural smokiness of the eggplant, sumac, and a dash of cayenne or red pepper flakes.
- Greek yogurt. This is optional, and you can use the vegan version if you like, or skip it. It just makes it a little creamier and adds complexity to the flavor.
- Garnish. In addition to more infused EVOO, top with pine nuts, more smoked paprika, and fresh parsley if desired.
How to Make Infused Baba Ganouj
Here’s how to make this amazing infused baba ganouj:
1. Prepare your eggplant. Choose your poison:
- Smoke or grill: Over the flame of a gas stove or a grill, char your whole eggplant until it’s skin is flaky, deep purple, and visibly, heavily charred.
- Roast in the oven: Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Make a few cuts in the skin. Salt the cut sides of the eggplant lightly and allow the eggplant to “sweat” for 30 minutes. Pat dry, removing excess bitter juice and salt. Place on a greased baking pan, cut side down, and roast at 425°F until very tender.
2. Once you can handle the eggplant, scoop out the insides into a colander discard the peel. Allow the eggplant to drain for 5 minutes. Losing all the excess water really helps you nail that creamy texture and avoid any bitterness.
3. Move eggplant into a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse a few times, just until everything seems combined, and taste.
4. Adjust spices as needed, and pulse to ensure dip is smooth, but not longer. Remove and chill.
5. Serve with another generous helping of infused EVOO drizzled on top of the bowl.
What to Serve With Baba Ganouj
Once you taste this, you won’t even read this part, trust me. It’s so good. But here are some ideas:
- Pita chips (I like to use the pita that’s going stale; I just slice it into chips, spray it with avocado oil, dust it with za’atar spices usually—that’s our favorite—and bake until crispy.)
- Tabbouleh salad
- On a sandwich
You won’t run out of ideas, if you even have any left. And serve this at a party. Tell them it’s infused, and let them guess about the eggplant.
Final Thoughts on Infused Baba Ganouj
Baba Ganouj is a perfect way to eat your cannabis—and your weird veggies! It’s a complex, flavorful dish that can hide a decent amount of cannabis flavor, and it’s perfect to share. It’s also a very fun party food, so try it at your next gathering!