The end of summer’s harvest approaches, welcoming in a new wave of bounty; this week, it means an abundance of dirt cheap, gorgeous graffiti eggplant for making baba ganoush. When I bought a handful of peppers, a bag full of scuppernongs, and a large basket of graffiti eggplant for only $5 from a local farm stand, I knew the creamy eggplant dish was in my future!
What Is Graffiti Eggplant?
A smaller, white-and-purple-marbled version of traditional eggplant common at most grocery stores, this varietal is known to be less bitter than its solid purple cousin, which has thicker skin and is about twice the size. Some people even describe its flavor as fruitlike and suggest that steps like removing the skin or salting the eggplant before cooking are unnecessary given these sweet, tender characteristics. This sightly vegetable originates from the Mediterranean but grows well in most warm climates.
Health Benefits of Eggplant
Graffiti eggplant is rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, manganese, and folate. Additionallyy, in accordance with traditional Ayurvedic medicine, eggplant is prescribed as a means of fighting diabetes. (Eggplant contains high concentrations of polyphenols, which help the body process sugar.)
Eggplant is, on its own, a low-calorie food. Its high fiber content makes it a great addition to any diet!
Also, eggplant is high in antioxidants. This helps to prevent cancer and heart disease.
Ways To Cook Eggplant
If you, like me, find yourself with an abundance of eggplants, you may be looking for cooking inspiration! Happily, eggplant varietals are interchangeable in most recipes. When cooked, eggplant takes on a creamy texture. It absorbs neighboring flavors and seasonings very well. Here are some ways to use up your eggplant:
- grilled eggplant medallions with balsamic vinegar glaze
- tender roasted eggplant cubes
- eggplant steaks
- eggplant parmesan
- roasted eggplant tossed with seasoned, spicy rice noodles
- Persian tomato and eggplant stew
- eggplant curry
- Bhartha (spicy Indian eggplant)
- silky eggplant pasta sauce
Clearly, there’s no shortage of ways you can use this amazing vegetable! If you want further eggplant inspiration, look up some Mediterranean, Indian, or Middle Eastern recipes. Eggplant has a rich history in the cuisines of these cultures.
What is Baba Ganoush and Where Is It From?
Simply put, baba ganoush is a creamy eggplant dish blended with garlic, olive oil, lemon, and tahini. Sometimes spelled “baba ganouj,” this Levantine appetizer pairs well with pita bread for dipping.
Primarily eaten as a spread, dip, or sauce, this delicious condiment hails from Lebanon. There are variants of baba ganoush in many other cuisines, including Ethiopian, Armenian, and Israeli.
How to Eat This Spicy Eggplant Dip
Think of baba ganoush as a cousin to hummus. Slather it into a veggie sandwich or drop it over your salad greens. Alternatively, dip rustic bread, pita wedges, crackers, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, or other veggies into this silky smooth dip.
Additionally, baba ganoush makes a great ingredient on any charcuterie board!
Is Baba Ganoush Vegetarian?
Yes! Baba ganoush contains no animal products, so it’s even considered vegan!
Is Baba Ganoush Healthy?
Yes. Baba ganoush boasts a modest amount natural fats from olive oil. There is also a good amount of nutrient-rich sesame seeds from the tahini. These contribute anti-inflammatory properties as well as vitamins and minerals.
Of course, the real star of the show is eggplant. Since the eggplant roasts in the skin which is later removed, it absorbs a relatively low amount of oil in the cooking process. This means the eggplant is even healthier than cubed roasted eggplant. This is about as healthy as eggplant gets.
So, this fiber-rich, filling dish is incredibly satisfying and healthy! (And yes, baba ganoush is even keto-friendly!)
Simple Spicy Baba Ganoush
One great aspect of this recipe is its wonderful simplicity! Waiting for your eggplants to roast is the hardest part.
Pierce the skin of your eggplants with a fork like you would a baked potato. Drizzle with oil and roast.
I roasted my eggplants for around an hour. They caramelized beautifully in the oven!
Allow the eggplants to cool until you can handle them. Use a knife and spoon to separate the tender roasted flesh from the skin. Drain over a fine mesh sieve to remove any excess moisture.
Simply add all your ingredients to a food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy!
It’s as easy as that! I plated mine with some sumac, olive oil, and sheep’s milk feta. Yum!
A perfect summer treat! 🙂
Simple Spicy Baban Ganoush
- fine mesh sieve
- 3.5-4 pounds eggplants (I used 7 small graffiti eggplants, but 2 standard eggplants will do)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 small serrano pepper, stemmed and seeds removed
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp olive oil, for garnish optional
- 1 oz feta cheese, for garnish optional
- dash of sumac, for garnish optional
- Preheat oven to 425°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Wash and pat dry the eggplants. Pierce all over with a fork like you would a roasted potato. Drizzle with olive oil, and roll in oil to coat. Roast for an hour to an hour and half, or until eggplants are tender and collapsing.
- Allow eggplant to cool to room temperature. Using a knife and spoon, cut the eggplants in half and scoop flesh out, discarding the skins. Place eggplant pulp in a fine mesh sieve over a medium-sized bowl and allow to drain for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, remove the seeds and stem from your serrano and set the pepper aside. Crush garlic with the flat side of a knife and discard the skin. Juice the lemon and set aside.
- Place drained eggplant, garlic, serrano, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth and creamy.
- Plate with a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of sumac, and feta cheese crumbles. Serve immediately. Keeps up to 4 days in the fridge in an air tight container.