This Syrian baba ganoush is a smoky eggplant and walnut dip made without tahini, flavored with tangy pomegranate. This Mediterranean dip gets the smoky taste from charred eggplant, and walnuts add a delightful crunch.
Baba ganoush (Baba ghannouj, or بابا غنوج) is one of my favorite Middle Eastern party dips, and it was probably the dish that initiated my love affair with eggplant. I never liked the mushy vegetable before I tried it in my mother’s baba ganoush. She always whipped up a big batch of the charred eggplant, walnut, and pomegranate dip for any large dinner party we were going to be having, and it was always one of the most popular appetizers. The sweet smoky flavor of eggplant shines through this dish, dressed simply with only olive oil, some garlic, and pomegranate molasses.
You may know baba ganoush as the grilled-eggplant-and-tahini dip, but the traditional Syrian recipe does not use any tahini, and instead we call the familiar eggplant-and-tahini dip mutabal. Both dips are absolutely smoky and delicious, but not many people know about this simple non-tahini version, which I actually prefer to mutabal, because I like the smoky eggplant to be the ultimate star of the dip!
I also love the crunchy texture of the walnuts and pomegranate seeds in this dip. Plenty of parsley adds just the right amount of refreshing bite. The parsley, tomatoes, and bell peppers can be mixed into the dip (which I like because it makes it chunky!) or simply used as a garnish. This dip is perfect scooped up with warm pita bread!
- 2 large eggplants
- ⅓ of one small red bell pepper
- 1 small tomato
- ½ cup parsley leaves, tightly packed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2.5 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375F. Pierce each eggplant twice with a fork. Char whole eggplants by placing them directly on an open flame until the skin blackens, turning them halfway through. This should take 10-15 mins. Alternatively, broil the eggplants on high for 5-10 minutes until you charred skin is achieved.
- Bake eggplants in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until they are completely soft on the inside.
- Meanwhile, finely chop the red bell pepper, tomato, and parsley.
- Once eggplant is soft, peel off the charred skin. Finely chop the insides of the eggplant or mash with a fork. Alternatively, pulse a few times in the food processor for a smoother consistency. Transfer to a bowl and mix in salt, olive oil, garlic, pomegranate molasses, walnuts, and half of chopped parsley.
- Fold in half of the chopped tomatoes, bell peppers, and pomegranate seeds, reserving the rest for topping.
- Drizzle baba ghanoush with some extra olive oil. Top with remaining pomegranate seeds, chopped peppers, chopped tomatoes, and parsley leaves. Enjoy with warm pita bread!