Authentic smokey flavorful eggplant tahini dip! An easy smoked eggplant recipe that is packed with flavor and can be enjoyed in so many ways, even for eggplant skeptics!
There's something about the deep, smoky flavors of a traditional Baba Ganoush that takes me straight back to my grandma's kitchen. I remember vividly standing with her in her kitchen trying to learn the secrets of her cherished Lebanese recipes.
This dish, in particular, was a classic and family favorite! It was so cherished by her that she would often slightly alter the recipe when sharing it with others!!! It ensured that those who tried making her eggplant dip didn't quite hit the mark would come over to enjoy it at her place. Checky right?
But don't worry, this smoked eggplant dip I'm sharing with you today is the real deal! And it's a very easy recipe for a creamy dip you will love! Along with her tips on how to properly char your eggplant to ensure you get the best smokey flavor.
And if you are looking for more fun and delicious dips check out our tofu ricotta dip! We often add it to our charcuterie boards or dip in some veggies or crackers. Its also amazing in sandwiches, pasta, or lasagna!
👪Why You Will Love This Eggplant Dip
My family has been making this eggplant tahini dip for years. It has become a family staple for so many reasons. Here is why I think our smoked eggplant recipe will quickly become a favorite in your home like it is in ours:
- Packed with Flavor: Grilling the eggplant beforehand infuses this eggplant tahini dip with so much flavor making it stand out against store-bought versions. IT really is a delicious recipe.
- Just a Few Ingredients: Made with just 4 ingredients making it simple to make.
- Versatile: Not just a dip – spread it in sandwiches, dollop it on grilled veggies, or layer it in lasagna for a smoky twist.
- Crowd-Friendly Flavors: Its smooth, creamy texture and mild, smoky flavor are a hit with most crowds and diet types making eggplant tahini dip a good choice for any occasion.
- Health in Every Bite: Packed with nutrients from eggplants and tahini, and naturally gluten-free and dairy-free.
💡Expert Tips for the Best Dip
To ensure your smoked eggplant tahini dip turns out perfect every time, here are some tips and tricks I have learned by making this eggplant tahini recipe over the years:
- Choosing the Right Eggplant: Pick fresh, firm medium-sized Globe (American) eggplants. Look for glossy skin and feel heavy for their size.
- Consistent Charring: Make sure to char the entire eggplant uniformly.
- Balancing Flavors: After blending the ingredients, taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Texture Matters: For a chunkier dip, don’t add any of the eggplant flesh to the food processor. Simply shred it into smaller pieces. For a smooth consistency add the eggplant flesh into the food processor and pulse until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Use Fresh Ingredients: This recipe only uses 4 ingredients, so make them count!
Our smoked eggplant recipe is easy to prepare and only requires a few simple ingredients. Here's what you'll need:
- Globe Eggplants: Look for a medium eggplant for its perfect balance of skin-to-flesh – ideal for achieving that smoky taste. Globe eggplants (or American eggplant) have a thicker outside skin and a spongy, creamy flesh that chars well when grilled or roasted.
- Tahini: Made out of sesame seeds, creamy tahini is the secret weapon to that creamy, nutty flavor. It's a must-have in this eggplant tahini dish. You can use Tahini paste or homemade tahini if you prefer.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: Lemon juice and lemon zest adds a fresh, zesty note, cutting through the richness of the eggplant. I prefer to use fresh lemons to get the best flavor from this eggplant dip recipe.
- Fresh Garlic Cloves: Garlic for that essential kick – it's what brings the whole dip together. I suggest using fresh instead of garlic powder for this recipe.
- Salt: A little salt goes a long way in bringing out all the wonderful flavors.
- Olive Oil: A little drizzle to add a bit more creaminess and flavor to this recipe. You can also use sesame oil if you prefer.
For full quantities, see the recipe card.
👩🏽🍳How to Char Eggplant
Achieving that deep, smoky flavor in your smoked eggplant recipe starts with properly charring the eggplants. Here's how to do it:
Step 1: Pierce the flesh of the eggplants with a fork in several places before charring. This prevents them from bursting and allows heat to penetrate evenly.
Step 2: Char: The preferred method is with an outdoor BBQ or grill. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (375°F to 450°F (190°C to 232°C). Place the whole eggplant directly on the grill. Grill them for about 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally with a pair of tongs, until the skin is thoroughly charred and the eggplant feels soft inside. Then place them in a large bowl.
- Aim for a Deep Char: Aim for a deeply charred, almost blackened eggplant skin. The skin should be completely charred to impart that smoky flavor to the flesh. Don’t worry about burning the skin; that’s exactly what you want.
- Checking for Doneness: The eggplant is done when the skin is charred all around, and the flesh feels very soft to the touch. The eggplant should almost collapse under gentle pressure, indicating that the inside is cooked through.
Over an Open Flame: If you have a gas stove, the best way to char the eggplants is directly over an open flame. Char over medium-high flames using heat-safe tongs, turning them frequently for an even char. This usually takes about 10-15 minutes.
Oven Broil: If you don’t have access to an open flame or a grill, you can broil the eggplants in a hot oven. Place eggplants on a baking sheet and broil, turning occasionally, until the skin is charred. This method may not impart as strong a smoky flavor, but it's a good alternative.
👩🏽🍳Step-By-Step Dip Instructions
Step 1: Char The Eggplant:
Follow the directions above to get your cooked eggplant. Make sure to char the outside of the eggplant well to get the most flavor for this smoked eggplant recipe!
Step 2: Remove the Skin:
Once the cooked eggplants are charred, let them cool. Once cool enough to touch, peel off the charred skin. It should come off easily. If some bits of charred skin remain, that’s okay; they add to the best smoky flavor.
Step 3: Prepare the Eggplant:
After peeling, let the eggplant flesh drain in a colander for a few minutes. This step is crucial to avoid a watery dip. Then, cut them in half and scoop out the seeds from the eggplant pulp. Seperate the eggplant flesh from the seeds.
Step 4: Blend the Seeds:
Place the seedy part of the eggplant, nutty tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt into a food processor. Blend until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
Step 5: Add the Eggplant Flesh
Next, shred the meaty part of the eggplant with clean hands or a fork. They fold it into the blended seedy mixture. This adds a nice texture to your dip. If you prefere a creamy dip, then instead you can add in the fleshy part to the food processor and blend along with the seeds.
Step 5: Drizzle and Serve:
Transfer to a bowl and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on top for an extra silky finish. Top with fresh herbs or pine nuts for extra flavor.
For the perfect side dish or appetizer, serve with warm pita chips, tortillas, or your favorite gluten-free alternatives. Enjoy this smoked eggplant recipe that's sure to be a hit with family and friends!
Here are some time-saving tips to whip up this delicious smoked baba ghanoush dip without the stress:
- Pre-Char the Eggplants: Char the eggplants ahead of time. Once cooled, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or two. This is also helpful when trying to remove the skin as it will be cooled and easier to handle.
- Use a Food Processor: A food processor makes quick work of blending the ingredients. It's much faster and more consistent than doing it by hand.
- Double the Recipe: Make a larger batch of our smoked eggplant recipe and store half in the fridge. It's a great way to have a healthy snack or appetizer ready for unexpected guests or busy nights.
🍴Substitutions & Leftover Variations
Here are some ideas for substitutions and variations for this eggplant tahini recipe:
- Tahini Alternatives: No tahini? No problem! I suggest making this smoked eggplant recipe without tahini in this case, you can check out this great recipe by The Spruce Eats. Alternatively, you can use a nut or seed butter, such as peanut or sunflower seed butter as a substitute. However, the flavor will be different.
- Eggplant Varieties: While medium globe eggplants are ideal, feel free to use any type you have on hand such as Japanese eggplants or Chinese eggplants. They will yield a slightly different texture and flavor due to their thinner skin and more delicate flesh but it will still make a delicious dip.
Leftover Ideas and Variations
- Sandwich Spread: Spread any leftover eggplant dip on sandwiches or wraps for a flavorful, healthy addition.
- Pasta Sauce: Thin the dip with a bit of olive oil or water and toss it with pasta for an easy, flavorful meal. This is SO good!
- Spiced Baba Ganough: Traditional Baba Ganoush typically focuses on the flavors of its primary ingredients. However, I love adding in 1 tablespoon of cumin or smoked paprika for a spiced version.
- Mutabal: For a variation on this traditional dip recipe you can add equal parts full-fat plain yogurt to tahini (¼ cups each). This will create a creamier fuller version.
🥡How to Storage
To keep your smoky eggplant dip fresh and flavorful, follow these simple storage tips:
Refrigerator: Store this smoked eggplant recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It typically stays fresh for up to 5 days. Be sure to give it a good stir before serving again.
Freezing: Freezing is not traditionally recommended for dips like Baba Ganoush due to potential texture changes. However, if you choose to freeze this eggplant tahini dip, use a freezer-safe container. Thaw in the refrigerator, and keep in mind that the texture might be slightly altered upon thawing.
While both dishes feature eggplant as the main ingredient, Mutabal often includes yogurt and has a creamier texture. Baba Ganoush, on the other hand, typically relies on tahini and has a more pronounced smoky flavor.
Hummus is made primarily from chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. Baba Ganoush, while also using tahini and garlic, uses roasted or charred eggplant as its base instead of chickpeas. The textures and flavors are distinct, with Baba Ganoush having a smokier and more vegetable-forward profile.
This can happen if the eggplant isn't drained properly after charring. To avoid a watery dip, let the charred eggplant flesh drain in a colander to remove excess moisture. Also, be cautious with the addition of lemon juice and adjust according to the consistency.
🥣Eggplant Dip Pairing
I hope you enjoyed this smoked eggplant recipe, it is our favorite eggplant dish to share with friends and family! If you need more great appetizers be sure to check out these recipes, we suggest the baked leftover rice tots, we love dipping them into baba ganoush!
Smoked Eggplant Dip Recipe (Baba Ganoush)
- 3 medium eggplants Globe or American
- ½ cup tahini
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Pierce eggplants with a fork. On a medium-high grill (375°F to 450°F), grill the whole eggplants for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until charred and soft.Alternatively, char over an open flame on a gas stove for 10-15 minutes, turning frequently.
- Let charred eggplants cool, then peel the charred skin. Then cut them in half and separate the seeds from the flesh.
- Let the flesh drain for a few minutes to remove any excess liquid.
- In a food processor, blend the seedy eggplant parts with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt until smooth.
- Next, shred the meaty parts and add it to the seedy mixture. If you want a smooth eggplant dip then pulse until you get the consistency you want.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve with pita chips, warmed tortillas, or gluten-free alternatives.