I’ve always been partial to baba ganoush.
My warm feelings for this eggplant puree started the first time I heard the word, before I even knew what it was. Baba ganoush? That sounds fun. Exotic, but playful. Looking back on it, I might have associated it with Babar the Elephant, who seemed to be such a nice elephant fellow, so smart and sharp-looking in that green suit.
When I found out how simple it is to make baba ganoush, I was charmed. All you need is eggplant, a few dollops and dashes of other ingredients and a blender. I love low work/high results recipes. I awarded it a few more points for using eggplant, a relatively inexpensive but substantial vegetable I don’t cook with too much.
I like that baba ganoush mingles comfortably with vegetarian and paleo peeps alike. You gotta give props to a dish that can hang out with everyone.
Baba ganoush is typically served with crackers and pita chips. When I dropped those things from my life, I struggled with how to eat this eggplant dip. Carrots and peppers worked to scoop it up, but felt a little spartan. Cold veggie dip on cold veggies? It just didn’t seem like much of a treat. I would rather eat some bacon-wrapped dates. But nonetheless, I retained a lingering affection for baba ganoush.
Then last week, the proximity of eggplant and mushrooms in my vegetable crisper drawer made me think to use this flavorful, mid-eastern dip as a stuffing for mushrooms. It worked. The earthiness of the mushrooms and the heat of the oven made the baba ganoush interesting again.
My friend L.B. and I finished off a dozen or so baba ganoush stuffed mushrooms in one post-workout, pre-cooking session last weekend. She agreed the recipe was worth sharing here on the blog.
Baba Ganoush Stuffed Mushrooms
Olive oil, 1 tablespoon +2 tablespoons
Tahini, 2 tablespoons
Lemon juice, 1 teaspoon
Garlic, 1 clove
Cumin, 1 teaspoon
Cayenne pepper, one or two shakes
Salt, ½ teaspoon or more (to taste)
Pepper, to taste
Mushrooms, 20 or so (about 1 ½ pound)
Options to garnish: Drizzle of olive oil, fresh parsley, hot sauce, chopped olives
- Remove top stem and peel eggplant.
- Chop eggplant into pieces. (My pieces were about 1 inch square.) Toss eggplant with olive oil.
- Place eggplant on greased baking tray. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until soft. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Add tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper and blend in food processor until smooth.
- Wash mushrooms, pat dry and remove stems. You don’t need the stems for this recipe but don’t discard them. You can toss them into a stirfry or sauté with garlic and spinach for another tasty side dish.
- Stuff each mushroom cap with about a tablespoon of babaganosh. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until mushrooms are soft.
- Garnish if desired and serve.