Alicia's Seasonal Kitchen

September 26, 2011

EggplantsScooped PulpEggplant-Garbanzo Bean Dip
Photos by Alicia Sokol

- Alicia

It warms my heart to witness a union between those I love. Imagine my delight at the marriage of hummus and baba ghanouj! Like any well-matched couple, these two complement one another beautifully. The smooth texture of puréed garbanzo beans embraces the smoky eggplant pulp, resulting in a protein-laden dip worthy of dressing up anything from crudités and pita chips to sandwiches.

Do I see hands raised in objection to this union? Eggplant can be divisive. My theory is that those who don't enjoy it have at some point encountered bitterness. One trick I use to nip bitterness in the bud is to salt the exposed flesh of the eggplant. Allow the salted halves to sit for about 30 minutes. Tiny beads of moisture will appear. Wipe these away with a paper towel, then proceed as directed with roasting the cut halves. It may be helpful to lightly oil the baking sheet before placing the cut halves down in order to remove the roasted eggplant halves easily. 

Salting trick
Salting the eggplant prior to roasting helps draw out bitterness (photo by Alicia Sokol)

With eggplant halves ceremoniously roasted, this recipe can be very quick. But I have a knack for taking simple recipes and adding steps to extend the fun. Why let a good time end so quickly? I started with 1 cup of dried garbanzo beans instead of using the canned variety. After soaking them overnight (4 cups cold water per cup of beans) then simmering them gently for 2 hours, I had 2 cups of recipe-ready tender garbanzos. If pressed for time, eloping is always an option. Run off with canned beans, if you must. 

Anyone married for more than 10 minutes knows that the best unions are enhanced with a bit of spice. It's not often that I make a dish without any salt or oil. This recipe was no exception. I added both in the name of bold flavor, but folks watching sodium and fat intake may prefer to follow the recipe as written. After brightening up the mixture with the juice of two lemons (1/4 cup lemon juice in total), I finished the dip with a generous crank of sea salt and a drizzle of fruity olive oil. I now pronounce you ready for company! 

Eggplant-Garbanzo Bean Dip by Whole Foods Market

Makes 3-1/2 cups

2 large eggplants (about 1 pound each), halved lengthwise
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
3 tablespoons sesame tahini
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Like this post? Read Alicia's previous post: Bhutanese Red Rice, Millet and Oat Breakfast Pudding

Alicia writes the blog Weekly Greens, where she gives busy families healthy recipes for everyday farm-to-table eating.

Alicia Sokol Weekly Greens

10 Comments Add a Comment
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    Vivi says: YESSS!!!! Reading my email this morning I saw the word eggplant and was drawn to it like a magnet! Ok....I llllllike eggplant(? lolol) but have been getting at least one in every weekly organic produce box from my CSA. Ug! I was thinking of making baba-g but I'm pretty sure I've gotten to the point that I CANT enjoy the flavor anymore....I've curry/tofued it....I've eggplantlasagnad it.....parmeseaned it....cubed it....stirfried it and---SPEWED IT!!! I think this is a great idea! Maybe the chick peas(Aussie friend - did you read that?) will lend it some new texture and substance. Tahini buyer - try a tbs. of natural unsalted creamy peanut butter and 2 tbs. of TOASTED sesasme oil. You can always use the oil in stirfries and drizzled on pea soup or....yummm Thanks so much Maddy for this solution to the overpopulation of eggplants in my fridge......I'm thinking dip for a party this weekend!!!!

    over 2 years ago Reply to this »
  • Wg_icon

    Weekly Greens says: Yes, this is a perfect party dip! I hope you enjoy. I, too, enjoy new uses for eggplant and thought this was a well-worthwhile endeavor.

    over 2 years ago
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    Sip says: Is there a way to create this dish without the tahini? To buy such a big jar and the expense does not make this cost effective, especially when one is single.. I just could not eat enough before it would go bad? Thanks and it sounds like a great receipe!

    over 2 years ago Reply to this »
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    Vivi says: Hi Sip! Try some natural unsalted peanut butter and as much TOASTED sesame oil as you'd like as a sub for the tahini. Ive done this before and it works pretty well. If you eat peanut butter it's not an extra expense. If you use finishing oils in stir-frys or make soups the toasted sesame oil is fantastic and keeps for a long time.

    over 2 years ago
  • Missing_avatar

    Sip says: Thanks Vivi! How much unsalted peanut butter do you recommend? Chunky or smooth.. Thats great b/c you can as much as you like at some Whole Foods fresh ground.

    over 2 years ago
  • Missing_avatar

    Vivi says: Smooth would work better unless you want the texture of the chucks. I'm thinking not, though. It's always best to start with less than the ammount of what it is you are substituting .......like in this recipe they have 3 tbs. tahini. I'd start with 1 tbs. p.b. Taste it. Good? Not enough? Add more. It's a personal option. I have tried other nut butters from time to time in other substitutions for other recipes. Almond, walnut, cashew "butters" are all great....very versatile and lend a bit of exotic "what IS that taste?" (secret ingredients!!!) to many recipes. The good thing about dips and dressings is you can taste as you go along. It's not like you are baking a complicated dish that needs exact measurements and temp. to work. Mix, add, taste....ponder......the only thing is DONT add too much salt.....once you've done that....there is a point of no return. Remember you can add more later but cant get rid of it. Have fun and enjoy! Oh yeah....if you decide to buy the tahini.....you can make an AWESOME dressing with tahini and greek yogurt...healthy and delish.....can put on anything from salads to meats.......experiment! Happy Whole Foods Shopping and cooking!

    over 2 years ago
  • Wg_icon

    Weekly Greens says: Thanks for these great tips, Vivi! I also love to mix tahini with Greek yogurt for dressing. We put that on sandwiches, dip veggies into it...so many uses.

    over 2 years ago
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    Chef Mom says: Why would you want to ruin two perfectly delicious dips that are wonderful on there own? Coming from a Middle Eastern background where both of these dips originate, you often find them on a plate NEXT to each other- but to combine them cheats people out of the fabulous individual tastes and textures wach of these dips provide! You have some really great recipes I would say- leave these two alone! They are great just as they were meant to be.

    over 2 years ago Reply to this »
  • Maddy-macau-robuchon

    Maddy is the senior editor of Whole Foods Market Cooking.

    Maddy, Editor says: Hi Chef Mom -- We love hummus and baba ghanouj on their own, too, but we also get excited about trying new combinations. If you have recipes you'd like to share, please upload them to the site -- we'd love to see them!

    over 2 years ago
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    montecello says: Sounds lovely! I very often make my own hummus, - just have to check what garbanzo beans are called in the UK!? Btw my daughter lives in Charlottesville, I have visited Wholefoods many times, love it! AND she told me about the new store, - sounds fantastic, can't wait to visit.....and shop!

    over 2 years ago Reply to this »

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