Smoked Baba Ghanoush and Lentil Dip
Eggplant is anything but bland in this zesty and savory dip—essentially a jazzed-up Baba Ghanoush. Read on to learn a simple trick that makes all the difference in creating a rich, smoky, creamy, heavenly—and truly irresistible dip.
As you may have noticed, Middle Eastern dips such as hummus and tahini have been popping up in healthy restaurants and cookbooks everywhere. But, there’s a wide range of delectable Middle Eastern dips out there beyond hummus, like this recipe. So grab some crudités or gluten-free bread or crackers and get ready to scoop up your new favorite dip!
Baba Ghanoush is a classic Middle Eastern dip, made from eggplants. It has a smooth and creamy texture. Adding smoke to this dip makes all the difference! An open flame would be ideal for cooking the eggplant, either using a grill or stove top. Another method (which we will use in this recipe and certainly does the job) is roasting the eggplant in the oven. The key to perfection with this dip is burning the skin of the eggplant, which brings out the most amazing flavors of smokiness and subtle caramelized sweetness in the flesh. The smoky eggplant mixed with some acid, healthy fats, and some heat creates the most irresistible dish!
Rich in fiber and low in carbohydrates, eggplant can help regulate blood sugar levels and control the absorption of glucose. It is a good source of vitamins including C, K, B1, B3, and B6. It is low in calories, sodium, and cholesterol and high in folate. Eggplant is also loaded with a host of minerals essential including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and potassium.
Tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds, is a must-have condiment for your kitchen. From homemade hummus, to salad dressing, to baked goods and chocolate, tahini adds an irresistible creaminess and tangy kick to everything it touches.
Lentils, which are often underutilized, are fiber-rich, phytonutrient-rich legumes. They slow the release of sugars into the bloodstream and help prevent the excess insulin release that leads to insulin resistance.
Set the oven to broil to char the eggplant and jalapeño pepper. Puncture each eggplant a few times with the tip of the knife to prevent them from exploding in the oven. Place the eggplant and jalapeño on a baking sheet and transfer to the top shelf of the oven.
Broil the eggplant and jalapeño until charred on the outside and tender on the inside, about 45 minutes for the eggplant and 15 minutes for the jalapeño. Rotate the eggplant one quarter every 15 minutes. Once ready, remove from the oven and let them rest until they’re cool enough to touch.
At the same time, toast the walnuts on a baking sheet in the oven, on the lower rack until fragrant and golden brown, about 5-10 minutes. Once ready, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
While the eggplant and jalapeño pepper are cooking, prepare the lentils. Fill a medium saucepan halfway with cold water and place over high heat. Rinse lentils in a fine-mesh sieve and transfer to the saucepan. Water should cover the lentils by 3-4 inches. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer until lentils are tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Finalize the lentils by transferring them to a medium mixing bowl along with the onions, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt. Chop the walnuts and combine with the lentil mixture. Set aside.
Peel the skin of the eggplant, scoop out the flesh
Place in a strainer for about 10 minutes. Discard liquids.
Remove the jalapeño pepper skin, discard the seeds (taking care to not touch your face), and finely chop.
Finalize the dip by combining the jalapeño pepper, tahini, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and eggplant flesh into another medium sized mixing bowl bowl.
Stir while drizzling the olive oil, until smooth.
Serve dip with the lentils on top and garnish with fresh mint and marjoram.
Best when fresh. Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: Calories: 283.6, Fat: 15.7g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Fiber: 9.1g, Protein: 6.9g, Carbohydrates: 33.6g, Sodium: 842mg, Sugars: 11.4g