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Vegetarian Recipes

Baba Ganoush

https://www.loveandlemons.com/baba-ganoush/

Baba ganoush is one of those things that I eat pretty darn often, but I rarely make at home. Well, that’s about to change because 1) it’s eggplant season, and 2) it’s way too easy and delicious not to have on hand at all times! Seriously, every time I’ve made baba ganoush lately, I haven’t been able to resist eating it by the spoonful standing at the kitchen counter. It’s creamy, it’s lemony, and it has a nice nuttiness thanks to the tahini. If I don’t eat it all in one go, it’s best served on a platter with warm pita and crisp summer veggies.


Baba ganoush ingredients

What is baba ganoush?

If you’re asking, “what the heck is baba ganoush?”, don’t worry –  it’s a lot simpler than it sounds. Baba ganoush is a Mediterranean eggplant dip made from roasted or grilled eggplant, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Like hummus, it’s delicious with pita or fresh veggies, but its silky texture and irresistible smoky flavor set it apart. This baba ganoush recipe is a must-try summer dip!

Baba Ganoush Ingredients

My baba ganoush recipe calls for 6 basic ingredients:

  • Eggplant, to make the smooth, smoky base
  • Tahini, to add creaminess and nutty flavor
  • Lemon juice, to brighten it up
  • Olive oil, to make it rich and smooth
  • And sea salt, to sharpen the nutty, smoky flavor

I list it as optional, but I like to add a small pinch of smoked paprika to amp up the smokiness of the dip. This is still a great recipe without it, but the extra smoky kick really takes it over the top.

Another note – be sure to use good tahini in this recipe. Because there are so few ingredients here, you really taste it, and bitter tahini will make for a bitter dip. My favorite brands are Cedar’s and Seed + Mill.

How to Make Baba Ganoush

Making baba ganoush isn’t difficult, but it does take some time, as the first step is cooking the eggplant. While many traditional recipes ask you to grill the eggplant, I find it easier to roast it in the oven. I wrap 2 medium eggplant in foil so that the eggplant steams inside its skin without the risk of exploding in the oven. Then, I place them on a baking sheet and roast them in a 400-degree oven until very soft, about 1 hour. Grilling instructions are also included in the recipe card below.

Once the cooked eggplant is cool, peel and discard the skin. Then, transfer the eggplant flesh to a strainer over a large bowl or your sink. Let it drain for 20 minutes – this step is essential for creating a thick, creamy dip that won’t become watery.

After that, it’s easy! Blend the eggplant in a food processor with the other ingredients until smooth. Traditionally, baba ganoush is mixed together without a food processor, but I personally like my final dip silky smooth, and the easiest way to achieve that is with a few quick pulses of the food processor.

Last – Garnish it up! Drizzle the dip with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped parsley, a pinch of smoked paprika, and a few red pepper flakes.  Sesame seeds would be a good choice too. Warm your pita and serve!

What to Serve with Baba Ganoush

My favorite way to serve baba ganoush is as an appetizer or snack with crisp veggies and pita bread. You could also serve it as the creamy dip in a summer crudité platter or make an epic Mediterranean appetizer board with pita chips, tzatziki, hummus, and fresh or grilled veggies.

Alternatively, load it into pita sandwiches (I especially like it with falafel) or serve it alongside a simple salad like my Greek salad, couscous salad, or tabbouleh.

If you love this baba ganoush recipe…

Try my pesto, chipotle sauce, cilantro lime dressing, or guacamole next!

Baba Ganoush

Total time

Author: Jeanine Donofrio

Recipe type: Appetizer

  • 2 medium eggplant
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Finely chopped parsley, for garnish
  • Pinch of smoked paprika
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
  • Pita and veggies, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and wrap the eggplant in foil. Roast the eggplant for 50 to 60 minutes, or until it is soft and collapses to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Once cool to the touch, peel the skin from the eggplant, removing any big clumps of seeds. Place the flesh in a strainer over a bowl and let stand for 20 minutes to remove excess water.
  3. Place the eggplant flesh, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes, if using. Serve with pita and veggies.

Note: For a more traditional, smokier baba ganoush, cook the eggplant on the grill (no foil), until the eggplant is very soft and charred all over. Remove the charred skin and continue with the recipe instructions.

 

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Vegetarian Recipes

CAULIFLOWER BOLOGNESE

“I want you to come watch the movie with us ON the couch, not be in the kitchen!”

I’ve been filling out this one-question-a-day journals for moms that I received for Christmas. It records a little thought or memory over the last year, and then starts again, so you can see how your answers change over a few years. One of the recent ones, prompted me to jot notes about what I am learning as a mom, and I found the question so general I was basically annoyed. I am a romantic, and also wildly pragmatic. In the span of a day I can tear up over the depths of love I feel for my kids, and also wish for them to have a mute button. We all have worlds within us; mothering pushing me into the corners of myself I am sometimes proud of or other corners ashamed of, but am I learning? Yes, every single day. Sometimes in the moment and other times after a particular season. But in 2021, my answer in the bullet journal was that I see my kids are wanting me to play with them. They aren’t registering all the service and shuttling and laundry and what it takes to pull off a week, they just want to play WITH me. It’s natural for me to move within lists and tasks and responsibilities and hustling, but playing is something I have to pay attention to. For them and for me. We usually do a family movie on Friday nights and my son (6.5), see quote above, pointed out that I don’t actually watch the movie, I tinker in the kitchen and he wants me in the couch cuddle. Flattered, and found out that I’d rather make granola than watch The Croods 🙂 So from annoyed, to passing on the question to fellow parents, what are you learning? Try not to be annoyed. Maybe circle back to it.

I published this recipe over on SKCC a few weeks ago and wanted it to live here. We’re trying to find more family-friendly vegetarian recipes (it’s easy for me to fill up on roasted veggies and big salads, not so much for the kids). This batch lasts us two meals – once with noodles, maybe half zoodles, and the second round on toast or english muffins with cheese melted on top, like a pizza sort of thing? It freezes well and is great to deliver to new parents.

CAULIFLOWER BOLOGNESE

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion – roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 head of cauliflower (about ¾ lb. or 12 oz. riced)
1/2 cup of raw walnuts pieces
1/2 tsp. of Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. of fennel seeds – crushed
2 Tbsp. of tomato paste
2 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of red wine (or broth of any sort, and double the vinegar to mimic the wine’s acidity)
28 oz. of canned, crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup of red lentils
red pepper flake to taste

For serving

12 oz. of pasta or choice, zoodles, etc.
parmesan
fresh, torn basil

Directions

In a large Dutch-oven or stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium low heat.

In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic into smaller bits. Add them to the pot with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté to soften, about 3 minutes.

Pulse up the cauliflower florets to get a rice-like texture. Add the riced-cauliflower to the pot and sauté to soften, about 5 minutes.

Pulse the walnuts in the processor and add those to the pot along with the Italian seasoning, fennel seed, another few generous pinches of salt and pepper, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Sauté until fragrant.

Add the red wine, cook about 3 minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes, ½ cup water, lentils, pinch of pepper flakes and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, put the cover ajar and let it simmer gently for 30-35 minutes. Turn off the heat, taste for seasoning and adjust.

Cook your pasta or zoodles according to instructions. Top with cauli Bolognese, grated cheese, fresh basil and enjoy!

The Bolognese will keep in the fridge for a week and can be frozen for a few months.

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