Baba ganoush is sometimes served with a mixture of tomatoes, onions, or a variety of vegetables. It’s made from cooked, mashed eggplant, as well as a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, and maybe some tahini.
This creamy, flavorful appetizer can be a great dip, and you can make it at home. I’ll show you how to roast eggplant for baba ganoush (also spelled baba ghanoush) and make it as good as anything you would get in a restaurant.
Choosing the Right Eggplant
The key ingredient is the eggplant. Everything else is secondary, so you want to start with fresh eggplant. Make sure it’s not too soft and doesn’t have any dark spots on it. If you’re not sure how to buy eggplant that’s good to use, let me just show you what to look for.
It should be firm but not hard, if it’s ready to eat. If it’s overly soft and you could easily puncture the skin with your finger, then it’s gone bad. It shouldn’t have as much give to it as a ripe peach, for instance. It should be smooth all over and have a shiny appearance.
Take a second to check the stem out as well before buying your eggplant. You want a stem that’s green and has no mold or other irregular looking patches on it. Even if the rest of the eggplant looks perfect, the stem may have some imperfections that can tell you whether it’s going bad or not.
One final test to determine whether an eggplant is good to use or not is to hold it in your hands. If it feels a little heavier than you might expect or a little heavy for its size, then it’s probably good to use.
Eggplants that are starting to go bad will be mushy on the inside and have a lighter feel to them, as some of their juices may have run out.
How to Grill Eggplant for Baba Ganoush
Probably the best way to fix eggplant for baba ganoush is to grill it. This helps retain a lot of the nutrients and flavor, and then you get that wonderful fire-grilled taste.
Start by heating up the grill on a medium high heat and then oil the grates lightly. The eggplant can be placed directly onto the grill grates. You’ll want to grill the eggplant for about 30 minutes. It can get done as quickly as 25 minutes or take as long as 35 minutes to cook.
Keep cooking until the skin starts to char and blacken and the interior flesh becomes tender enough to poke with a fork easily.
Allow the eggplant to cool off, and then cut it in half, scoop the flesh out and then drain out the scooped flesh. You can scoop it into a colander to help drain it out easier. It can drain out naturally for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
Now that it’s grilled and ready to be used, you can take the eggplant innards and mix them together with all your other ingredients in a food processor to make baba ganoush.
How Long to Grill Eggplant for Baba Ghanoush?
If you’re grilling, it should take around 30 minutes for the eggplant to cook. It may take longer if you have a large eggplant, or it may cook quicker with a smaller eggplant.
If you’ve cut the eggplant in half or smaller pieces, it will cook faster, though I wouldn’t recommend it. It’ll be easier to scoop the inside of the eggplant out from the skin if you grill the whole eggplant at once. You’re giving yourself a lot of extra work if you slice the eggplant instead.
Look at the exterior of the eggplant to tell if it’s done cooking on the grill. It should have charred and taken on a blackened look. That doesn’t mean it’s completely black, but it will be pretty dark when it’s done cooking. You won’t be using this skin anyways in the baba ganoush, so don’t worry if it looks like charcoal and unpleasant to eat.
How to Roast Eggplant for Baba Ganoush
There’s more than one way you can learn how to cook eggplant for baba ganoush. I want to share with you an oven roasting method that works pretty well. This will be helpful if you don’t have an outside grill to use.
- Begin by preheating your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. This ensures that the eggplant won’t stick to your pan when it’s done roasting. You can cook several eggplants at once in the oven, and you need to prepare them by cutting them in half lengthwise.
- Brush some cooking oil (or olive oil) lightly on the sides of the eggplants and place them on the pan with the cut side facing down.
- Put the tray with the eggplants into the upper third of the oven after the oven has preheated and cook for about 40 minutes. Larger eggplants may take longer to cook. You want to keep cooking until the outside starts to collapse and the inside of the eggplant is really tender all the way through.
- Once the eggplants have cooled, you can scoop out the flesh using a spoon. You won’t use the skin for the baba ganoush.
How long to roast eggplant for baba ganoush? That’s going to depend on how large your eggplant is and how many you’re cooking at once. It can take as little as 35 minutes for them to roast in the oven, but it may take up to 45 minutes if you’re cooking a couple of eggplants or you’re cooking a very large eggplant.
If the eggplant has seeds, you’ll want to remove those before you mix the flesh into the rest of the baba ganoush ingredients. Larger eggplants tend to have more seeds, so you can stick to the smaller ones if you want less work to do.
Once you’ve mixed together all the ingredients, you can store your baba ganoush in the fridge. If you put it into an airtight container, it can store for up to four days in there.