Veggie Chef: Eggplant Extravaganza

Aug 5, 2014

During our last Veggie Chef segment, we discussed what to do with an abundance of zucchini. Now, at least at my house, we've got a lot of eggplant thanks to my in-laws' prolific garden. Just as with the zucchini, grilling it is an option. 

Turning grilled eggplant into a dip is also a tasty way to go. Every other time I've made the eggplant dip, Baba Ganoush, I've roasted the eggplant in the oven. Recently, I grilled the eggplant instead, as I've seen in other versions of the recipe. It seems as though this way imparts a smokier, earthier flavor. Plus, there's the bonus of not heating up the oven during the summer. 

Also, I should mention that traditional Baba Ganoush does not have beans. I add beans to mine to make it heartier. However, there are many variations I've seen that include adding smoked paprika, parsley, cilantro and even my own version a few years ago that included a whole head of roasted garlic, which was lovely as rosted garlic is so mellow.

Today, I'm sharing another interpretation of this classic, mediterranean dip.

Bean-y Baba Ganoush
(Makes approximately 3 cups)

1 lb eggplant
1 15 oz can or 2 cups cooked cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 TB tahini
1/4 C olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 

To prepare the eggplant, you simply need to poke several holes in an uncut eggplant and place it on the grill on low heat. Turn the eggplant occasionally and remove from heat when the skin is crispy and charred - about 25 minutes. Once the eggplant is cool enough to handle, you'll discard the skin and add the eggplant to all of the other ingredients in a food processor to blend well. That is all! 

I served this at a lunchtime "pita party" recently. I put out pita and wraps along with the Baba Ganoush, homemade red pepper hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, onion, peppers and pickled veggies. This way, your guests can customize a pita to their taste, and this is a healthy, delicious but easy option for the host. I also put out a large salad to round out the meal.  

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