Photos by Alicia Sokol
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 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!
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
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.