Baba ganoush is a Mediterranean dip similar to hummus, but its base is roasted or grilled eggplant instead of chickpeas. Eggplant, a vegetable in the nightshade family, is high in fiber and nutrient dense. The beautiful purple globe eggplants make really good baba ganoush! It’s an easy dip to prepare with just a few ingredients, and is simple to dress up with smoked paprika, pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of olive oil, as garnish. As with hummus, sesame paste or tahini binds the dip together. I roasted a head of garlic alongside the eggplant, for a more mellow flavored spread using the warm, caramelized cloves. The dip will thicken up when chilled and will last for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Serve with fresh vegetables, fresh pita bread or crackers.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Halve the eggplants lengthwise and coat lightly with olive oil. Place them on the baking sheet with the halved sides facing down. Prick the skin of the eggplant halves a few times with a fork.
Roasting Garlic (optional): Remove the papery outer layer of a whole head of garlic, leaving the skin intact. Carefully cut off about 1/4 inch from the top of the bulb, exposing the garlic cloves. Place the head of garlic in aluminum foil and drizzle olive oil over the exposed cloves, rubbing in the oil. Wrap up the head of garlic tightly and place on the sheet tray with the eggplant halves.
Roast the eggplant (and garlic) for about 30-40 minutes or until the inside is tender and the skin is collapsing. When the eggplant is cool to the touch, scoop out the flesh and discard the skin. Place the flesh of the eggplant in a food processor or blender. Add the roasted (or raw) garlic cloves, lemon zest and juice, tahini, salt and pepper. Blend for about 1 minute or until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube and continue to blend until incorporated. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, smoked paprika and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 3 days.