Miso… in baba ghanoush? Ok. I bet you’re confused.
But really. It’s amazing.
You know how roasted eggplant is creamy and smokey? And how tahini is nutty and bitter? Well throw savory/nutty/sweet miso paste into the mix and you’ve got yourself a miso baba ghanoush with flavors in perfect balance.
And of course I topped it with sunny, ripe yellow tomatoes from my garden bursting with Summer flavor. Plus za’atar, pistachios, fresh basil and best quality olive oil. I’m snacking happy over here!
I remember when I first went plant-based. It was a hummus fest. Hummus for practically every meal. Ok, I also knew how to make a mean madras curry with loads of veg. But, let’s be real. I was 21, still in college and snack-meals were my mainstay.
It didn’t take long before I was making my own hummus (mostly because it was cheaper than store-bought). But baba ghanoush? Yeah, that was way beyond my level. I mean, eggplant dip… ok I get it. Mash up eggplant with tahini and lemon. Done, right?
Since then I’ve tried many a baby ghanoush. Restaurant versions. Homemade versions. Store-bought. The works. Plenty of them were lackluster. One or two were pretty damn good. Only one was superb.
My favorite is Ottolenghi’s baba ghanoush from Jerusalem. It requires blackening the eggplant, peeling off the skin then marinating the eggplant flesh in lemon juice and zest, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper before blending. Definitely a winner.
I took notes from that amazing iteration. And now I have a winner of my own!
For my baba ghanoush we roast the eggplant until blackened, peel off the skin then blend with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, miso, za’atar, a slice of bread, chickpeas, salt and black pepper. The miso heightens the flavor of the eggplant and brings out the acidity of the lemon. And the bread and chickpeas add viscosity and heft to the final dip.
The garnish is so much more than a garnish. It’s integral. That bright pop of tomato. The nutty crunch of pistachio. The green, aromatic strips of basil. And that swirl of best quality olive oil. It’s torturously delicious.
Serve with toasted slices of crusty bread, pita or your favorite gluten free crackers! Let me know how you like it in the comments!