by Holly on August 15, 2012

in appetizer,eating out,gluten-free,recipes,vegetarian

It’s no secret that I love going out to eat.

The worst month of my entire life was probably May of 2009 when I decided to not eat out for an entire 31 days. No happy hours with co-workers…no grabbing lunch to catch-up with friends…no I’m too lazy to make cereal so I’ll order take-out Thai instead. Instead, I had to get up off the couch during a Project Runway marathon on Bravo to pour milk into a bowl.

It took excruciatingly serious effort.

But it was the smartest month of my life! I saved a lot of money and forced myself to get more creative in the kitchen making black bean burgers, yummy junk salads and vegetable curries.

Now, I try to be more cognizant of eating out – how often I do it and where I choose to spend my money. Because there is nothing worse than going to a new restaurant, ordering an entree and the first thing you want to yell to the cafe patrons is, “I could make this at home!”

Case in point: me in a local coffee shop last Wednesday at 1pm.

In between sips of tangerine rooibos tea, I’m dunking fresh tomatoes & cucumbers and fluffy pita bread in heaps of creamy red pepper hummus & tangy feta and totally chowing down on the spiced artichokes. Suddenly, my blogging Jiminy Cricket appears on my shoulder coaxing, “Hello Holly thy Healthy Everythingtarian! You have a blog. You are always looking for blog content. Recreate this at home!” I swat him away and will have nothing of his common sense persuading.

I get home, exhausted after nearly eight hours of computer work at the coffee shop, and before I know it, the local Thai take-out place number has magically appeared on my phone.

The lazy part of me (the overwhelming part of me) wants to immediately hit call.

But I resist, knowing that there are two perfectly purple eggplants in my crisper begging to be made into baba ghanoush, a smoky Arabic spread made with mashed eggplant, tahini, garlic and olive oil. I usually buy Whole Foods’ version, but again that pesky Jiminy Cricket reminds me – I can make this at home! With a just a wee bit of roasting, pureeing and taste-testing.

So I do.

Saving money.

Saving locally-grown eggplants from ending up in the garbage.

And saving heartburn pills that I would undoubtedly need after an extra spicy green curry.

Making baba ghanoush at home? A total win-win.

Baba Ghanoush
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 to 45 minutes

2 medium-sized eggplants
1/4 cup tahini
2 cloves of garlic
2 T lemon juice
1 T olive oil
pinch of crushed red pepper + cumin
salt + pepper, to taste
1/4 cup basil, cilantro OR parsley, finely chopped
pita bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, artichokes + feta, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Poke holes all around both eggplants with a fork. Place on a baking sheet, and roast for 30 to 45 minutes or until they are completely soft. Set aside to cool.

Scrape eggplant pulp into a food processor or blender. Add tahini, garlic, lemon, olive oil and spices. Blend until smooth. Transfer into a bowl, and fold in herbs. Season to taste. Serve on a platter with pita, vegetable crudites and feta.

Makes 1 1/2 cups baba ghanoush


Lauren August 15, 2012 at 11:27 am

I have never attempted Baba Ganosh because it was even too difficult to say let alone make but you seriously make it seem easy! :)

Ashley August 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Love the photos!!! I’m not a huge eggplant fan because of the texture. Once in awhile is okay but turning it into a dip sounds much more appealing.

Hillary August 15, 2012 at 12:25 pm

True story: I ordered baba ghanoush at Happy Hour last night and realized I had never made it at home. Thanks for taking the work out of it and providing me with a wonderful recipe!

Lauren @ The Climbing Chef August 15, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Very nice post, as always. I love Baba Ganosh and have never made it but now I must. I move into my new house this weekend, I finally have a kitchen, yes, I know… a food blogger without a kitchen?! Anyway, I’ll have to make it as a snack after moving all weekend :)

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table August 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm

As much as we both love to dine out, I would LOVE to take you on a little culinary adventure through ATL.

Yummy dip! Despite having made a baba ganoush soup, I have never made the actual dip. I need to save the soup for winter and try this!

Megan (Braise the Roof) August 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm

I have a similar Jiminy Cricket that talks to me. :) I think it’s smart to order things that you wouldn’t make at home (either because the combination of necessary ingredients would cost $80 or it involves deep frying). Of course, sometimes the cravings want what they want. I LOVE baba ghanoush and your version looks incredible.

Christa @ Edible Balance August 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm

ok, so apparently I need to face my fears of eggplant… I keep buying them, but then because I have no idea what to do with them they go bad. This looks so delicious and so easy!

it honestly drives me nuts when I go to restaurants, and end up paying crap-loads of money for food that I can make at home. yes, it’s nice for someone else to do the cooking once in a while, but seems like such a waste!

happy little life August 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm

you are always so funny! thanks for that :)

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey August 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm

I’m going to trust you – mainly because the only time I ever made baba ganoush, it turned into a disgusting mess and I hated it. If I try it again, I’ll be coming back here!

carrie (actsofrebellion) August 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm

i’m with you sista… the thai take out gets me every time.

Sarah B. August 15, 2012 at 10:26 pm

So I recently found your blog and may or may not have been doing a bit of stalking. So fun!

Umm, and about that concoction photographed above? I want. The not eating out for 30 days is a smart challenge! Sheesh, I need to learn how to cook!

evan August 16, 2012 at 9:17 am

I think about this internal struggle with making vs. ordering all the time (especially in restaurant PR). In addition to saving money, cooking is sort of a “use it or lose it” skill that requires practice. Love this recipe and wish I had a pureeing apparatus in my kitchen to test it out :)

Ally Behne August 16, 2012 at 10:25 am

After reading this post yesterday, I picked up an eggplant today and can’t wait to whip up your fabulous-looking recipe! :)

Sam @ Better With Sprinkles August 16, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I absolutely hate eggplant, except in baba ganoush – something about it is just amazing!

I hear you on the restaurant thing…I love going out to eat, but nothing is more annoying than realizing you just ordered something you know you can make your own version of.

Mary @ finding joy in all things August 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I found it a lot easier to not order out when I was in a volunteer program and only had a monthly stipend of $85. Now that I actually have an income, my self-control is lacking. Thai take out is also one of my pit falls — as is Jimmy Johns (guilty sigh).

I have more motivation to eat at home when I have fresh food from my CSA or my garden to use in my meals. AND when I have tasty recipes to make – especially a new one that seems exciting. This recipe falls in that category. Looking forward to trying it! I’ve got a few Japanese eggplant in the garden that should be perfect for it!

Alysha @Shesontherun August 17, 2012 at 11:36 am

What a beautiful spread. I love eggplant like nobody’s business. But I have yet to taste a good baba ghanoush. I’m thinking I could try the homemade route though and give it another try.

Sunnie(moderngirlnutrition) August 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Just found your blog and I love it! I love this dip at Whole Foods, and have wanted to recreate for as long as I can remember:) Thanks or the recipe!

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