Thursday, July 22, 2010

Healthy Eggplant and Tahini Dip

Since I had the oven on yesterday for the sweet and spicy tofu I decided to also bake an eggplant for baba ganoush, or my version of it I should say. As you all know I never follow a recipe, mine or those of others. I think recipes are simply suggestions unless we are talking about baking, and I don’t do that any longer for health reasons. I also suggest you don’t follow recipes but use them as ideas to change to your own tastes. Much of the fun of cooking is taking a recipe and making it your own.

Over the years my cooking has changed dramatically. In prior decades my cooking more closely resembled what you would find in a restaurant. Many evenings dinner was a celebration at our house. I am not talking about national holidays but just some random weeknight. Before the cancer we would eat for taste assuming we had plenty of time to make healthy changes later before we were old. Little did we know the universe had other plans. I mention this because I want you to think about what you are consuming. Eating is a chance to refuel your body and provide much needed macro and micro nutrients. When you look at food as fuel rather than an indulgence it is much easier to make healthy choices. Well at least that works for us. Climbing down off my soapbox now. ;-)

Okay, back to the dip. I say this is my version of baba ganoush because it doesn’t contain olive oil and certainly not in the ridiculous quantities that most recipes call for. I think it still tastes great it just isn’t causing inflammation or coating the inside of our arteries with crud. Here is how I make a healthier eggplant dip:

Eggplant and Tahini Dip
Makes 6 servings


1 medium eggplant, well scrubbed
½ cup raw sesame seeds (tahini if not using a high speed blender like a Vitamix)
½ lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (ground if not using a high speed blender)
¼ - ½ teaspoon sumac, add to taste
6 tablespoons of water, or whatever is necessary to achieve the creamy texture you desire


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a pan with parchment or silpat.

Prick the eggplant with the tip of a paring knife and bake until the eggplant slumps, about 30 minutes. You want it to be completely soft and easy to pierce with a fork. Allow the eggplant to cool a little so that you can remove all the skin. You want to be sure to get all the skin because it can impart a bitter flavor to the dip if you leave it on the eggplant.

Place the peeled eggplant, sesame seeds (or tahini), lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and sumac into your blender. Start with a couple of tablespoons water and turn on the blender. Add more water a tablespoon at a time until the blender is processing easily and the texture is creamy.

Refrigerate in a closed container until needed. I like to serve this with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses and a few pine nuts which is how it is pictured above.

Nutritional Information (for 1/6th of the recipe):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 90.94
Calories From Fat (57%) - 51.88

Total Fat - 6.21g
Saturated Fat - 0.87g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 4.23mg
Potassium - 253.19mg
Total Carbohydrates - 8.45g
Fiber - 4.48g
Sugar - 1.84g
Protein - 3.1g


This dip is very much like hummus but with a base of eggplant. It is creamy, rich and very flavorful. Since the base is eggplant and not garbanzo beans it is lower in fiber, starch, and protein. I really like eggplant dip but Dan is not a big fan of eggplant so he actually prefers hummus. However the sesame paste smoothes out both the texture and flavor of this dip enough that even Dan likes this in moderation.

I use this on wrap sandwiches, with collard leaves as the wrapper of course. This is also good on a salad in place of dressing. We also like to dip raw veggies in it.

Today’s lunch:

I had a late lunch today because I have been out of the house for a while with a friend. When I got home I wanted something quick but nutritious. So I decided to make a veggie sandwich in a collard wrap. I stuffed the collard leaf with green cabbage, marinated mushrooms, roasted red peppers and eggplant dip. Here it is unwrapped,

and then wrapped and cut.

It was a nice light little lunch. Perfect for this hot weather we are having.

Unrelated note:

Today I spent some time with my friend Sheila who is trying to make more healthy food for her family. Now that is a project I can completely get behind. ;-) She is new to vegan cooking and wanted to know how to make nut cheese. I showed her how to make my almond feta spread. We also made cinnamon walnut butter. We had a productive late morning/early afternoon. It went so well I think we may have to do this again soon. Hopefully her husband and son enjoy our efforts as much as we did.

I need to do a few things around here and then work on dinner. I will chat with you all again later. My plan is to make an Asian salad with the quick tofu I made yesterday. I hope everyone is having a great Thursday.


  1. The wraps look so good. Yum. Thanks for this recipe. I love eggplant but rarely use it as a dip.

  2. Heather,

    I love collard wraps. My lunch tends to be something like this or a salad most weekdays. I think I am in a bit of a food rut. ;-)

    I love eggplant too and am always looking for different ways to use them.


  3. When I first saw the picture of the eggplant dip, I thought it was homemade (vegan) ice cream with chocolate sauce. I thought the pine nuts were a strange addition to ice cream. Of course this made sense after I read through :)

    I really like the looks of those wraps. We'll soon be traveling to some places where we've been warned most bread contains lard and milk. Perhaps this is the solution: homemade green wraps!

  4. Jill,

    Pine nuts would be odd on ice cream and chocolate sauce but might work, LOL. ;-)

    I use collards for bread all the time now. It takes a time or two to learn to wrap them tightly and not overstuff (which was my initial problem). However after you have made one or two green wraps you will get the hang of it. I actually prefer them to bread now.

    Enjoy your trip,

  5. Hummus and baba ganoush (also known as mutabel) are great mixed too ... I like to call it "hummabel".

    I really must get a Vitamix!

  6. Laura,

    I add eggplant to hummus, or chickpeas to baba ganoush sometimes too. Great minds....LOL. I had not heard the name mutabel before, thanks for sharing that. I love learning new things.


  7. I thought that it looked like chocolate sauce at first too. Pine nuts are actually really good in baked good and sweets...but, of course I realize know that I was mistaken.

    That wrap looks the business!

  8. Rose,

    I used to make a Sicilian baked ricotta dessert with pine nuts, mini chocolate chips and candied orange peel. I wonder if I can make a healthy version of that? Hmmmm, maybe that needs to go on my to-do list.

    I really enjoy wraps in collards now. If you are a sandwich person like I am collards are very important to have on hand. ;-)

    hope you are having a good Thursday,

  9. I make baba ganoush almost exactly like yours, except without the sumac, I've never had that. Sounds like I need to find some;) My daughter hates the texture of hummus, but loves baba ganoush, since the eggplant is creamier than garbanzos. I will try this in collard wraps, sounds yummy. And since my kitchen access is very limited right now, quick and easy is good!

  10. Janet,

    I order by sumac on-line from Zamouri Spices. It is a dried red berry that has a lemon flavor. I think you would like it.

    Sorry to hear about the limited kitchen access. =(


  11. the wraps look delicious - are collard leaves a bit like vine leaves, or cabbage? Presemably you soften them in hot water before using them? or am I way out here?

  12. Christine,

    Collards are a large flat leaf. They are a member of the cruciferous family. I use them raw when they are subbing for bread. I trim the thick part of the stem but that is all I do. Do a search on collards on my blog and you will see other pictures and more detailed instructions on using them as a flat bread substitute.

    If you wanted to use cabbage you would need to soften that. It is much stiffer than an collard leaf, which I would describe as floppy. You can also use swiss chard leaves if they are easier to find.


  13. You know what, this looks like perfection. Beautifully photographed and described. Gracias
    I'm following.

    I have a sandwich blog and would be flattered to have you visit some time.


  14. Keri,

    Well aren't you just too sweet. Thank you so much for your kind words.



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