The History of Baba Ganoush, and a Recipe

November 16, 2020  |  By Peg Kern
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A plate of baba ganoush with homemade pita during a cooking vacation with The International Kitchen.We’ve talked before about eggplant and what an amazing vegetable we think it is, and one of my favorite preparations is in baba ganoush. Also spelled baba ghanoush or baba ghanouj/ganouj/gannuj, this eggplant spread is ridiculously easy to make and exceedingly tasty.

Originally a dish of Levantine cuisine (more on that here), its etymology is a bit opaque. “Baba” is an endearment and also the Arabic word for father, while ghanouj means “spoiled” or “pampered.” Why an eggplant spread is named “pampered father” is anyone’s guess, but it matters little, as it is delicious under any name!

Discover our culinary vacations in Turkey.

Another great thing about baba ganoush? It’s not only gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian, it’s vegan as well – so a sure bet for any party.

Baba GanoushA delicious bowl of baba ganoush, a tasty Middle Eastern eggplant spread.

Serves: 8-10
Prep time: 90 minutes
Cook time: 70 minutes
Cook method: Roast


  • 2 large eggplant
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • salt, to taste


Roasted eggplant ready for making baba ganoush.1. First, prepare a charcoal grill to cook over low (or indirect) heat. Place the eggplant away from the flames and allow to roast slowly. (A large eggplant may take 60-70 minutes).

2. Allow the eggplant to cool to room temperature, then peel it and place the pulp in a food processor.

3. Add the tahini, garlic, and lemon juice and process for 1 minute. Add salt to taste.

4. Serve it drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with a bit of fresh chopped parsley, and homemade pita bread.

Discover the flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine during a cooking vacation with The International Kitchen.You can also try it with our grilled lamb kofta kebabs.

You can make the eggplant in the oven, simply roast it for about an hour at 350 degrees, but it’s better if you roast it on the grill to get the characteristic smokey flavor.

Try preparing it on our fabulous Cuisine & Culture of Israel tour.

By Peg Kern

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