Paleo hummus, baba ghanoush, or “really tasty dip”

Hummus (and all the various spellings) in Arabic means chickpeas, so technically you should call this recipe “baba ghanoush” (which is just really fun to say) or “really tasty dip.” The point is that it will taste so much like hummus that you’ll think it is hummus! Make it your own and call it “my super-secret world-famous dip.” Bottom line: this is a great alternative to hummus, it gives those non-guacamole eaters some other kind of dip to enjoy, and it just plain tastes good.

A few notes on this one: if you are struggling with some autoimmune issues, ditch the eggplant (a nightshade) and use the zucchini or raw cashews instead.

Don’t be afraid to play with flavorings. Hungarian smoked paprika and sumac are widely used in many Middle Eastern recipes, and go beautifully with this. Love garlic? Then add some more! Feel like using roasted garlic instead, or basil or some parsley or some other interesting mixture? Go for it!

1 large eggplant or 2–3 small Chinese egg plants
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1–2 cloves garlic
~ pinch of cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
~ salt to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).
  2. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise and brush with some olive oil. Place on foil lined sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes or until soft.
  3. Allow eggplant to cool, then scoop out insides of eggplant and combine in food processor with tahini, lemon juice, garlic and cumin, discarding the skins. Mix all until smooth.
  4. Slowly drizzle in olive oil through feed tube until well combined.
  5. If you have some smoked paprika or sumac at home, sprinkle a little bit of that over the mixture. Add salt to taste. Serve with some sliced veggies to dip in.

Ingredient Notes—Tahini is sesame seed paste, and can be found in the ethnic aisle of most grocery stores (just check the label to make sure there aren’t any added ingredients!). Sumac, should you choose to use, can be found in some Middle Eastern markets, cooking stores, and online stores (Penzey’s and Surfas are two of my favorites). It has a slightly sour flavor and a reddish color. Great to use in spiced nut mixtures too!

Variations—If eggplant is not your thing, use 2 zucchinis (no cooking needed, but I find it preferred to peel). Spice things up and use some chili powder and lime juice for more of a “tropical” flair, or add in some sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers to change up the flavor. To make things even creamier with a little more fat, replace the eggplant with ¾ cup of cashews that have been soaked in water for a few hours. Drain, place in processor, then add in remaining ingredients and enough water to reach your preferred consistency.