Veggie Resolution #3: Baba Ganoush

January 21, 2011 By: Serena

This post could also be called “Is eggplant supposed to taste like that?” or “Where did I go wrong?”  For my third veggie resolution, I continued tackling veggies that were scary or blah – after all I was 2 for 2 with veggie WINS!  I hoped I’d face similar success with the eggplant.   The eggplant, or aubergine, as I prefer to call it in my hoity-toity voice, looks beautiful.  However, my rare encounter with it have left me disappointed – either bitter or bland, mushy and just generally unappetizing.  General blergh-ness all around.   I then happened upon this recipe from David Lebovitz, with some of my favorite things – salt? Good.  Olive oil? Gooood.  Cilantro? Yummers.

So why did it come out funny?  Help me out, readers.  First, the recipe.

You will need:

3 medium-sized eggplants
1/2 cup tahini (roasted sesame paste)
1 1/4 tsp coarse salt
3 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/8 tsp chile powder
1 tbsp olive oil
a half bunch picked flat-leaf parsley or cilantro leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 375F.

2. Prick each eggplant a few times, then char the outside of the eggplants by placing them directly on the flame of a gas burner and as the skin chars, turn them until the eggplants are uniformly-charred on the outside.
So I didn’t know when the skin was charred, so I just kinda winged it.  Oh and NO ONE TOLD ME EGGPLANTS CATCH ON FIRE!  Geez louise. Scared the whahoosies out of me. 

3. Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until they’re completely soft; you should be able to easily poke a paring knife into them and meet no resistance.  Remove from oven and let cool.
In the mean time, I prepared the cilantro, garlic and lemon juice.

4. Split the eggplant and scrape out the pulp.

5. Puree the pulp in a blender or food processor with the other ingredients until smooth.

 

6. Taste, and season with additional salt and lemon juice, if necessary. Chill for a few hours before serving. Serve with crackers, sliced baguette, or toasted pita chips.

Storage: Baba Ganoush can be made and refrigerated for up to five days prior to serving.

And how did this turn out? Well, I followed the recipe to a tee.  I had an eating buddy sample it, and he liked it enough. But I just thought it tasted kinda bitter, and not delicious at all!  I would NOT try this again.  Tell me, where did I go wrong?

This was my first Veggie Resolution FAIL. Wah wahhh.

Other (better tasting) veggies:
Veggie Resolution #1: Kale Chips
Veggie Resolution #2: Brussels Sprouts

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27 Comments to “Veggie Resolution #3: Baba Ganoush”


  1. Euw, I'm sorry. I'm iffy about eggplant anyway, but you'd think this would be good, even almost like hummus. I hope you figure out what happened!

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  2. Try Anything Once Terri says:

    Hmmm…I've never made homemade Baba Ganoush. I feel like it's something I'd just rather buy. :) Same with hummus.

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  3. I'm selfishly sad your recipe didn't turn out to your liking, I have an eggplant I need to use up too! Hmm, wonder what made it seem bitter? :/
    Hope you get your answer!

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  4. Ok well when it looks like that I might not eat eggplant either! The only way I've had it was breaded and fried!

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  5. Mrs. Hot Cocoa says:

    I love eggplant, and I'm totally sure I would have scarfed down that baba ganoush!

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  6. honey my heart says:

    looks really good!! i don't eat very much eggplant but really enjoy it when i do :)

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  7. lavenderpug says:

    it looks delicious and i'm so impressed you ventured to make your own baba ganoush! eggplant is finicky–i try to use smaller ones because of the belief (whether true or not) that the smaller ones have less chance of being bitter. also, in the winter, i'm not sure if bitterness is avoidable (again, don't know whether that's true or not).

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  8. Wish I could help. I'm still on the fence about eggplant myself. This is not helping ;)

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  9. I like eggplant, but I'm not a baba ganoush fan. Do you normally like baba ganoush out at restaurants? One of my faves is eggplant parm. Lots of mozz covers a multitude of sins.

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  10. I'm not a huge eggplant fan, but you could try "sweating" out the bitter juices by cutting the eggplant in half and lightly salting the flesh before charring it. Let the halves sit for about 30 minutes, rinse, and follow the rest of the recipe as usual. Hope this helps!

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  11. Nuha Sofiyan says:

    Baba Ghannoush always has a distinct flavoring, so don't feel bad. I grew up eating, and I'm finally learning how to appreciate it. Maybe you could make an eggplant lasagna?

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  12. BigAppleNosh says:

    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I've had store-bought baba ganoush before, and I liked it enough. My homemade version definitely tasted different! When I try making eggplant again (Veggie Resolution #21 perhaps?) I'll try smaller eggplants and the "sweating" technique.

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  13. mintedlife says:

    Oh no! I hope that your next veggie resolution will turn out better! I like eggplant, but don't love baba ganoush, so I'm not sure what to suggest, but it sounds like you already got some good suggestions.

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  14. San Jose Love says:

    Good attempt. I either love an eggplant dish or totally hate it, depending on how it tastes. Eggplant is not a consistent vegetable. I agree with lavenderpug that the small ones may taste better. At least that's why my mom buys them. I would also guess that maybe your eggplants were not charred enough? I always thought charred looks alot like almost burnt.

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  15. I love eggplant, but when it's bad it's BAD. Not sure where you went wrong as I really only cook it simply – pre-cut, in the oven, with a little sea salt and olive oil – but I'm surprised because David Lebovitz is usually spot-on!

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  16. I've heard the sweating technique helps a LOT. That's a shame…I hate recipe fails!

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  17. Be still my heart!!

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  18. Eggplant is kinda my favorite thing ever- and I just started cooking it- it's a scary veggie.

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  19. THE ALTERNATIVE WIFE says:

    Oh I have no idea…it sounds great but eggplant can be tricky…

    Have a fabulous weekend, sweetie! xo

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  20. It looks good to me! When I make eggplant, I make it Indian style (baingan bartha) and its super easy to make!

    I just microwave the eggplant until its soft and mushy (8 minutes or so), scrape out the inside soft parts and mash it up. (you can grill it which gives it a nice smokey flavor but its snowy and this isn't an option right now). Then I saute onions in oil, add finely chopped ginger and garlic. Then add seasonings one at a time (chili powder, a bit of turmeric, garam masala). Add some chopped fresh chili peppers (i like things hot so this is optional) and 1-2 fresh diced tomatoes and let it saute for a few minutes. Add the mashed up eggplant, salt to taste and then let it sit simmer over medium/low heat for 10 or so minutes minutes. Finally add some fresh cilatro and you are done. :)

    It really takes about 20 minutes to make max but its pretty tasty.

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  21. BigAppleNosh says:

    @San Jose Love They probably weren't charred enough. After one caught on fire, I got scared! Haha.

    @Charms that sounds DELICIOUS! I think I'm going to make that my next eggplant attempt :)

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  22. Charlie @ SweetSaltySpicy says:

    The baba ganoush I like has chickpeas in it. It is like eggplant hummus. I usually don't like eggplant but I love it in this.

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  23. I've never had luck with baba ganoush either! I find that if you salt slices of eggplant and leave it to sit (the salt draws out the eggplant's "bitter juices"), it totally changes the taste, but I'm not sure if you're meant to do this with baba ganoush…

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  24. mmmmmm…that looks so delicious! thanks for sharing this you have a great blog!
    xoxo
    Olivia

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  25. I don’t think that you charred the eggplant enough. You’ve gotta cook it until the skin is literally almost peeling off. Also, cilantro is rather un-traditional, and quite powerful in taste so I would omit that and the chili powder the next time. Other than that, emulsify the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, in the processor, add eggplant pulp and then slowly stream in olive oil as you pulse to create a smooth yet somewhat chunky mix.

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  26. Post revival, google took me here.

    If bitter, I’d say cut back on the tahini and cilantro while increasing citrus and salt, do in increments, taste as you go. Cilantro may be a bit out of place also, try omitting that or subbing with oregano and cumin.

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