Ghanouj Recipe - The Authentic Israeli Vegetarian Dish


Ghanouj Recipe - The Authentic Israeli Vegetarian Dish
Region / culture: Israel | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet



Ghanouj, also known as baba ghanoush, is a popular Middle Eastern dish made from roasted eggplant mixed with various seasonings. It is a delicious and healthy appetizer or side dish that is perfect for serving with pita bread or vegetables.


Ghanouj has its origins in the Middle East, where it has been enjoyed for centuries. The dish is believed to have originated in Lebanon and has since spread to other countries in the region. It is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine and is often served as part of a mezze platter.


How to prepare

  1. Place the whole unpeeled eggplant directly on a gas burner with the flame set at medium, turning it as the skin chars and the inside becomes soft. Alternatively, you can bake it in a pan at 450°F (250°C) until it is charred and tender (about 30 minutes).
  2. Let the eggplant cool slightly, then cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the eggplant pulp using a wooden spoon (as it preserves the flavor).
  3. Chop the eggplant pulp finely in a ceramic or wooden bowl.
  4. Grate the onion using the largest holes of a grater.
  5. Squeeze the juice from the onion.
  6. Chop the parsley finely and blend it with the eggplant and onion.
  7. In a separate bowl, thoroughly blend the tehina with lemon juice and garlic.
  8. Stir in a small amount of water until it turns white in color.
  9. Add the tehina mixture to the eggplant mixture, along with salt and a dash of cayenne pepper.
  10. You may add more lemon juice for extra flavor.
  11. Garnish with parsley.


  • Add roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes for a different flavor.
  • Mix in chopped olives or capers for a salty kick.
  • Top with toasted pine nuts or chopped fresh herbs for added texture and flavor.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to char the eggplant skin well to give the dish a smoky flavor.

- Use a wooden spoon to scoop out the eggplant pulp to preserve the flavor.

- Blend the tehina mixture thoroughly to ensure a smooth and creamy texture.

- Adjust the seasonings to taste, adding more lemon juice or cayenne pepper as desired.

Serving Suggestions

Serve ghanouj with pita bread, vegetables, or as part of a mezze platter.

Cooking Techniques

Roast the eggplant over an open flame or in the oven for a smoky flavor.

Ingredient Substitutions

Use tahini instead of tehina for a slightly different flavor.

- Substitute lime juice for lemon juice if desired.

Make Ahead Tips

Ghanouj can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Presentation Ideas

Garnish ghanouj with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of paprika, and a few fresh parsley leaves for a beautiful presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Serve ghanouj with falafel, hummus, tabbouleh, and other Middle Eastern dishes for a complete meal.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover ghanouj in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop before serving.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of ghanouj contains approximately 120 calories.


Each serving of ghanouj contains approximately 10 grams of carbohydrates.


Each serving of ghanouj contains approximately 8 grams of fats.


Each serving of ghanouj contains approximately 3 grams of proteins.

Vitamins and minerals

Ghanouj is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium.


Ghanouj contains sesame seeds, which may be an allergen for some individuals.


Ghanouj is a nutritious dish that is low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals. It is a healthy option for those looking to enjoy a flavorful and satisfying appetizer.


Ghanouj is a delicious and healthy Middle Eastern dish made from roasted eggplant and seasonings. It is a versatile dish that can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or part of a mezze platter. Enjoy this flavorful and nutritious dish with pita bread, vegetables, or other Middle Eastern favorites.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was filled with a sense of awe. It was the summer of 1965, and I was visiting my friend Fatima in her small village in Lebanon. She took me to her grandmother's house, where I was welcomed with open arms and a tantalizing smell wafting from the kitchen.

As I sat at the table sipping on hot tea, Fatima's grandmother, a wise and gentle woman with deep lines etched into her olive skin, began to prepare a dish unlike anything I had ever seen before. She took a shiny purple eggplant and pierced it with a fork before placing it directly onto the flames of the stove. The skin crackled and blackened, releasing a smoky aroma that filled the room.

I watched in fascination as she peeled the charred skin off the eggplant, revealing the soft and creamy flesh beneath. She mashed it with a fork and added tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil. With a final sprinkle of salt and a handful of chopped parsley, she presented me with a small bowl of creamy, smoky goodness.

"Try this, habibti," she said, her eyes twinkling with pride. I scooped up a spoonful of the creamy mixture and brought it to my lips. The flavors exploded on my tongue - smoky, tangy, and rich all at once. It was a revelation.

I begged Fatima's grandmother to teach me how to make this dish, which she called Ghanouj. She smiled and patted my hand, promising to show me the ropes before I left the village.

The next day, we spent hours in the kitchen together, Fatima's grandmother guiding me through each step with patience and love. She taught me the importance of charring the eggplant to impart that smoky flavor, the secret to achieving the perfect creamy texture, and the balance of flavors that make Ghanouj so addictive.

Over the years, I have made Ghanouj countless times, always thinking back to that summer in Lebanon and the kindness of Fatima's grandmother. I have added my own twist to the recipe, incorporating roasted bell peppers or a hint of cumin, but the essence of the dish remains the same - simple yet deeply satisfying.

I have shared this recipe with friends and family, passing down the tradition from generation to generation. Each time I make Ghanouj, I am transported back to that humble kitchen in Lebanon, where I first fell in love with the flavors of the Middle East.

Now, as I sit in my own kitchen, surrounded by the familiar smells of garlic and olive oil, I am filled with gratitude for the experiences that have shaped my culinary journey. The recipe for Ghanouj may have originated in a small village in Lebanon, but it has found a home in my heart and my kitchen, a testament to the power of food to connect us across borders and generations. And for that, I am eternally grateful.


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