Have you ever tried baba ganoush? If you’re a hummus lover – I mean who isn’t? – then you will love love this flavourful Middle Eastern aubergine spread. You’re warned though, it’s highly addictive. Which is fine since it’s also very healthy.
I know what you’re thinking, oil-free? I see oil on the cover picture! Well, traditional baba ganoush recipes contain high amounts of olive oil while mine only has an optional drizzle on top. I chose to incorporate a half cup of white beans instead of the oil to give it a beautiful creamy consistency and boost its nutritional profile.
I think aubergines (or eggplants if you prefer) were a big revelation for me this fall. Before leaving for Greece, I was already starting to cook with them more and our trip to the Cycladic islands only made me love them more. You do need to learn how to prepare them well to avoid ending up with a watery bitter dish, but once you’ve mastered the art of the aubergine, you’ll keep coming back for more.
How to roast aubergines without foil
There are a few ways to roast aubergines without using foil, which is not only wasteful but also not very healthy. You can leave them whole and burn them on a gas stove, on the grill of a barbecue or in the oven on the highest rack close to the element. You then peel and discard the skin and scrape out the flesh.
Or, what I personally prefer is to cut the aubergines into halves, score them, sprinkle them with salt and let sweat for 15 minutes. This will remove any excess water and also prevent them from being too bitter. Then squeeze them gently over the sink and pat with a clean dish towel to remove most of the salt.
I don’t like to turn on my oven for only one aubergine, which feels like a waste of electricity, so I like to fill a baking sheet and have some more cooked aubergine to use in tomato sauce and other recipes throughout the week. Since this baba ganoush only requires half a cup of white beans, I usually also bake my chewy chocolate chip cookies to use up the rest of the can (when I don’t cook them myself).
So next put the aubergine halves on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat, cut side up and brush with a little olive oil (or don’t to keep the recipe fully oil-free, but it really does help with the finished result) and bake in the oven preheated to 375F (200C) until nice and soft, around one hour. A convection oven speeds things up a lot so if you have one I totally recommend using it and checking on the eggplants after 20 minutes.
Now to the actual baba ganoush
Once the aubergines are cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh out using a spoon and transfer to a bowl. Press down with the spoon to let the juice out and discard to avoid ending up with a runny dip. Now, the fun begins.
In your food processor, puree all the ingredients until you have a luscious puree. When not using beans, baba ganoush is usually simply mashed with a fork, so you don’t have to aim for a very smooth spread.
Ideally, let sit for at least half an hour to allow the flavours to combine. Transfer to a shallow dish and, if feeling fancy, serve with a drizzle of good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, pomegranate arils and fresh herbs like mint and parsley. I like to eat it the traditional way, with warm pita chips and a few veggies, but it’s also delicious in a sandwich or in Buddha bowls!
If you try this recipe, make sure to snap a picture and share it on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #valisesetgourmandises. I wanna see your creations! And don’t forget to leave a comment below :)
Oil-free baba ganoush - vegan, gluten-free
- 2 medium-size aubergines 1/2 cup white beans cooked and rinsed1/4 cup tahinijuice of 1/2 lemon 1 small garlic clove, crushedsalt & pepper to taste
- Cut the aubergines into halves, score them, sprinkle them with salt and let sweat for 15 minutes. Then squeeze them gently over the sink and pat with a clean dish towel to remove the salt.Put the aubergine halves on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat, cut side up and brush with a little olive oil and bake in the oven preheated to 375F (190C) until nice and soft, around one hour (or about 30 min with a convection oven).Once the aubergines are cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh out using a spoon and transfer to a bowl. Press down with the spoon to let the juice out and discard.In your food processor, puree the cooked aubergine with all the other ingredients until you have a luscious puree.