Roasting the eggplants until they’re completely soft is essential for baba ghanoush with a rich, smooth texture.
MAKES about 2 cups VEG
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Baba ghanoush is a meze staple across Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, and beyond. It’s typically made by concentrating the rich flavors of eggplant over an open flame before scraping and mashing the pulp into a dip seasoned with any number of regional spices and oils. Hoping to bring this recipe indoors, we decided to prepare it in the oven. We pricked the eggplants’ skin to encourage moisture to evaporate during cooking, then roasted them whole in a very hot oven until the flesh was very soft and tender. To avoid a watery texture in the finished dish, we scooped the hot pulp into a colander to drain before processing it. We kept the flavorings simple, processing the eggplant with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and tahini. Look for eggplants with shiny, taut, and unbruised skins and an even shape (eggplants with a bulbous shape won’t cook evenly). We prefer to serve baba ghanoush only lightly chilled; if cold, let it stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving. Serve with Olive Oil–Sea Salt Pita Chips , fresh warm pita, or raw vegetables.
2 eggplants (1 pound each), pricked all over with fork
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Place eggplants on aluminum foil–lined rimmed baking sheet and roast, turning eggplants every 15 minutes, until uniformly soft when pressed with tongs, 40 to 60 minutes. Let eggplants cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet.
2. Set colander over bowl. Trim top and bottom off each eggplant and slit eggplants lengthwise. Using spoon, scoop hot pulp into colander (you should have about 2 cups pulp); discard skins. Let pulp drain for 3 minutes.
3. Transfer drained eggplant to food processor. Add tahini, oil, lemon juice, garlic, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pulse mixture to coarse puree, about 8 pulses. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Transfer to serving bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. (Dip can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours; bring to room temperature before serving.) Season with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with extra oil to taste, and sprinkle with parsley before serving.
Making Baba Ghanoush
1.ROAST EGGPLANTS Roast whole, unpeeled eggplants until skins darken and wrinkle and eggplants are uniformly soft when pressed with tongs.
2.REMOVE AND DRAIN PULP Trim top and bottom off each eggplant and slit eggplants lengthwise. Use spoon to scoop hot pulp from skins into colander; let drain for 3 minutes.
3.PULSE DIP Pulse drained eggplant, tahini, oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper together in food processor until mixture has coarse texture, about 8 pulses.
4.CHILL Transfer to serving bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
OLIVE OIL–SEA SALT PITA CHIPS
SERVES 8 FAST VEG
Both white and whole-wheat pita breads will work well here. We prefer the larger crystal size of sea salt or kosher salt here; if using table salt, reduce the amount of salt by half.
4 (8-inch) pita breads
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Using kitchen shears, cut around perimeter of each pita and separate into 2 thin rounds.
2. Working with 1 round at a time, brush rough side generously with oil and sprinkle with salt. Stack rounds on top of one another, rough side up, as you go. Using chef’s knife, cut pita stack into 8 wedges. Spread wedges, rough side up and in single layer, on 2 rimmed baking sheets.
3. Bake until wedges are golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes, rotating and switching sheets halfway through baking. Let cool before serving. (Pita chips can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)
ROSEMARY-PARMESAN PITA CHIPS FAST VEG
Reduce amount of salt to ½ teaspoon. Toss salt with ½ cup grated Parmesan and 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary before sprinkling over pitas.
Preparing Pita for Chips
1.Using kitchen shears or scissors, cut around perimeter of each pita to yield 2 thin rounds.
2. Brush rough sides of each round with oil, season with salt, and stack them. Using chef’s knife, cut stack into 8 wedges.
MAKES about 2 cups FAST VEG
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Nutty, rusty-red muhammara has deep roots in Aleppo, where Syrian home cooks have been combining nuts, red peppers, and spices into this sweet-and-spicy dip for centuries. Traditional recipes call for Aleppo peppers, but jarred roasted red peppers proved an easy-to-find substitute; we quickly processed them to a spreadable consistency. Toasting the walnuts underscored the peppers’ smoky quality. Bread is a standard muhammara ingredient, but we turned to crumbled wheat crackers (Carr’s Whole Wheat Crackers worked well) for texture and some extra nutty impact. Finally, we added some pomegranate molasses, which gives the dip its hallmark sweet yet slightly bitter flavor. If you can’t find pomegranate molasses, you can make your own (see here ). Serve with Olive Oil–Sea Salt Pita Chips, fresh warm pita, or raw vegetables.
1½ cups jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed and patted dry
1 cup walnuts, toasted
¼ cup plain wheat crackers, crumbled
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Lemon juice, as needed
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (optional)
Pulse all ingredients except parsley in food processor until smooth, about 10 pulses. Transfer to serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. (Dip can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours; bring to room temperature before serving.) Season with lemon juice, salt, and cayenne to taste and sprinkle with parsley, if using, before serving.