ABOUT 2½ cups

Baba ghanoush is a Lebanese dish, but cooks in Egypt, Turkey, India, and even Romania have their own versions: a little more tahini here, onion instead of garlic there. Slightly smokey and laced with garlic and sesame, baba ghanoush is as much fun to eat as it is to say. “Baba” means father in Arabic, so I guess it’s no accident that my dad taught me his way to make this timeless dish.


• 2 pounds globe eggplant, about 2
• 1/4 cup tahini
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice
• 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
• 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
• extra-virgin olive oil
• a handful of fresh parsley leaves, minced
• 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Bonus! Tahini Dressing Recipe: Omit the eggplant and reduce garlic to one clove. Use the dressing as a dipping sauce for vegetables or drizzle it over cooked meat.


1. Preheat a gas grill or broiler on high heat with the lid closed for about 10 minutes.

2. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and use a sharp knife to cut a few diagonal score lines in the flesh. Place your face down on the grill, close the lid, and grill for 5 minutes. Turn the eggplant face up, close the lid, and grill for an additional 10 minutes, until the skin is blackened and the eggplant is very tender (almost squishy). Set aside to cool.

3. While the eggplant cools, place the tahini, salt, lemon juice, garlic, chili powder, and cumin in the bowl of a food processor.

4. Scoop the roasted eggplant pulp out of the skin and place it in a colander to drain extra moisture for 3-5 minutes. You should have about 2 cups of eggplant. Place it in the food processor and puree to your desired consistency.

5. To serve the traditional way, spread the baba ghanoush on a plate or in a shallow bowl and drizzle with olive oil, parsley, and sesame seeds. Use raw veggies and olives to scoop it into your mouth with abandon. Baba ghanoush tastes best at room temperature but should be stored in the fridge. Its delicate flavor will hold up for 2–3 days.


1. OVEN METHOD: Place the oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 500 F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Poke the whole eggplant a few times with a fork and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 40–50 minutes, until the eggplant is very soft and beginning to collapse. Allow to cool, then follow the instructions above.