Baba ghannouj with zaatar

August 6, 2015  •  Category:

Baba ghanouj

Eggplant is the Summer vegetable head-to-head with the zucchini. As much as I love a good (well-seasoned, light) baba ghannouj, the creative urge in the kitchen takes over more often than not. I had bought some really good zaatar  in the town of Baakline (in the news  lately because it is where George Clooney’s wife’s family comes from). I thought, with a bit of trepidation, why not add zaatar to baba ghannouj? Dare I?

As a Lebanese-born American, adding zaatar to baba ghannouj is like telling your family you will not be serving turkey for Thanksgiving. I was scared, but, hey, I was ready to take the plunge. I added a couple of teaspoons to the dish. It tasted…good! Emboldened, I sprinkled more zaatar on the surface, and drizzled more olive oil. The zaatar added a nice sparkle to the eggplant. From now on, I will have it nearby whenever I eat baba ghannouj.

Baba ghanouj

Baba ghannouj with zaatar

Joumana Accad Mediterranean, Middle Eastern August 6, 2015 Mezze/Appetizers, mezze, dip, baba ghannouj, zaatar, tahini, eggplant, tagged,

4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Passive Time: 20 minutes


1 large eggplant shiny and smooth, about 1 3/4 pounds
1/2 cup tahini more, to taste (stir before using)
3 cloves garlic, mashed more, to taste
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice or bottled, as a substitute
2 teaspoons zaatar mix more, to sprinkle on surface
1/3 cup olive oil to drizzle, more to taste
2 loaves pita bread cut into quarters or pita chips


1. Grill the eggplant over an open flame, on a BBQ grill or on top of the gas stove. The idea is to get it charred all over. (See instructions on my video). Cool a bit, peel and drain over a sieve.

2. Mash with a meat mallet (see video) and add the other ingredients, adding more or less of each to taste. I suggest preparing the dressing ahead and adding it gradually to the eggplant. Add the zaatar last, tasting as you go. Transfer to a plate, form a ridge with the back of a spoon, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with more zaatar if you like. Serve at room temperature with pita chips or bread.

Recipe Notes

If you can find it, you can use a canned eggplant purée if it has been smoked. If you prepare the dressing first, start by mixing the garlic and lemon juice. Add the tahini and when it curdles, add a tiny bit of water till it get smooth. Then add it to the eggplant. Keep in mind that the eggplant has water so you need to be careful and not get the tahini dressing (tarator) too liquidy.

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12 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    Delicious! Lovely presentation.



  2. Susan says:

    Well you are living on the wild side aren’t you :-)) Even though I’ve never made my own baba ghannouj I will try it after my next trip to the farmers’ market yields some beautiful eggplant. I found zaatar at Penzey’s (a spice vendor from our little neck of the woods) so I’ll be good to follow in your upstart footsteps.

  3. la nonna says:

    ça doit etre trés bon

  4. Velva says:

    Eggplant is everywhere right now! Baba ghannouj is delightful. I laughed out loud about adding zaatar seasoning. We get older we are willing to keep pushing the envelope right to the edge of the table (laugh). I think this Thanksgiving I will announce to the family we are having tofurkey!


  5. Evelyne says:

    I love baba ghannouj but not sure if I have ever made it myself. I should and I love your suggestion of adding zaatar to ti, I am all for exploring 🙂

  6. Hélène (Cannes) says:

    Vive tes délicieux mezze, Joumana ! ;o) Bises

  7. Elisabeth Avsar says:

    Hallo whats zaatar mix elisabeth avsar

    • Joumana says:

      @Elisabeth Avsar: It is a spice mix very popular in Lebanon, in fact, present in every pantry in Lebanese homes. It is made-up of ground fried thyme or wild oregano, sumac, salt and toasted sesame seeds. It is available in Middle Eastern shops and online.

  8. Tamar says:

    Yummmmm!!!! Now, I’m imagining sprinkling with deep red, juicy pomegranate jewels!!!:D

  9. Vanika Gupta says:

    Is there a place you would recommend to buy za’atar from?

  10. gourmet alchemist says:

    I’m just glad you’re using tahini. Too many versions of baba ghanoush made with mayonnaise in local shops and restaurants. Talk about cultural appropriation mixed with bastardization . . .

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