Welcome back to a new recipe this week: Baba Ganoush. I do not know about you, but in between spending time with my family and friends, working on the blog and everything else – it feels like this week has simply flown by. I hope you all had a fantastic week and are ready to start into the weekend. 🤗
So… what is Baba Ganoush?
This dish originates from Lebanon and is an appetizer. I usually make this when we have guests coming over and want to nibble on something before the “main” affair – so to speak 😉. I also often serve it for either brunch or bring it along to a pot-luck. The great thing about baba ganoush is – as opposed to hummus (not that hummus is not ahmazing!) – it does not use beans as a base. Rather, it uses aubergine (which some of you may know as eggplant – I will continue to refer to it as aubergine – a force of habit sorry LOL). This means that next to being vegan, this dish is also suitable for those of you living a paleo lifestyle.
Baba Ganoush tends to live by the smokiness of the aubergine – some people say the smokier the better. There are a lot of recipes out there that use liquid smoke or a smoker in order to infuse smokey flavor. Truthfully, I like my recipes simple, and working with liquid smoke sounds a bit too complicated for my liking. I solved this by using smoked salt in order to increase the smoked flavor. If you have a gas stove and/or are grilling anyway, I highly recommend putting the aubergine in one piece on the open flame and letting the outside char whilst the flesh becomes soft – this will also infuse the smoky flavor. You can simply skip step “1” in the recipe instructions when doing so. Do not worry though – it also tastes perfectly awesome without the smokiness 😉.
What makes this Baba Ganoush healthy?
Aubergine / Eggplant
This vegetable can come in different shapes and colors! Most commonly known is the deep purple variety, but they can also be red, green or even black. Aubergines contain Manganese, Folate, and Potassium along with healthy doses of Vitamin K and C. The vibrant color of eggplants is – amongst others – made by a pigment called “anthocyanins”. This is said to have antioxidant properties that protect our cells against free radicals and damage to our cells. Studies done under lab conditions suggest that eggplants may be effective at lowering our risk of heart disease.
Tahini is a paste made of ground sesame seeds. It is high in Phosphorus and Manganese, which help to protect your bone health. These small seeds also contain very high doses of Calcium, which help your body to relax. Sesame seeds are also high in Tryptophan an amino acid that cannot be produced by your own body. Tryptophan helps to stimulate the production of Serotonin (= our happy hormone), thereby potentially elevating your mood levels.
Lemons are a great source of Vitamin C. High amounts of Vitamin C help to promote and boost your immunity and protect you against common colds / flus. They also reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke. The citric acid in lemons may also protect you against kidney stones. The acid increases both your urine volume and PH Level thereof and this appears to be creating a less favorable environment for kidney stones to develop and grow. Last but not least, lemons allow your body to absorb plant-based Iron better.
Cumin – is a spice widely used in the Indian and East Asian regions to enhance flavor in dishes. It is rich in Iron, which helps your body to carry oxygen through your bloodstream and makes red blood cells. Cumin also promotes healthy digestion in your body and may even speed it up by activating digestive enzymes in your gut. In addition, there have even been some promising studies showing that Cumin may aid to improve your blood cholesterol levels, but further research needs to be done in this space.
I hope you enjoy this awesome, truly delicious dip. I know aubergines sometimes tend to get a bit of a “bad rap” but they are amazing in this dish and perhaps I can convert you from a “so-so” aubergine person to 😍🥰. As always, feel free to leave a comment below and tag me in your creations on Instagram under @life_and_lemons_foodblog. Happy cooking everyone!