If you’re like most plant-based epicurians, you probably have a thing for hummus. I do! But did you know that there are plenty of other Mediterranean dips that are just as wonderful? This creamy, slightly smoky Oil Free Baba Ganoush is every bit as flavorful as the best oil free hummus recipe.
Can a dip that tastes this good really be healthy? Oh yeah. For one, unlike most traditional baba ganoush recipes, this one uses no oil. Not even olive oil. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that all oils are damaging to the endothelial lining of our arteries. And it’s pretty easy to cook without it. So why use it?
The main star it this appetizer--the stunningly beautiful, deep purple eggplant (or 'aubergine')--is a nutrient dense food that’s high in fiber and antioxidants, and low in calories. You probably know by now that the most colorful fruits and vegetables tend to have the most antioxidents, and this is certainly true for eggplant.
Probably its most powerful antioxidant, nasunin, is found in its dark purple skin. Among nasunin’s numerous benefits are its ability to fight inflammation and oxidative stress in our bodies. This can can help us ward off diseases like cancer and premature aging.
To optimize your baba ganoush nutrition, choose smaller, younger eggplants (their skins aren’t as tough) and don’t peel them when making your roasted eggplant dip.
Like most recipes, this oil free baba ganoush features tahini and garlic, both of which are healthy additions to a whole food plant-based diet. Tahini, or ground sesame paste, contains healthy, immune boosting fats and amino acids. And garlic has myriad health benefits as well.
Unlike traditional recipes though, this one incorporates miso. Miso not only stands in for the oil and helps marry the flavors together, it’s a ‘green light’ salt per Dr. Greger of Nutritionfacts.org. Too much salt can lead to hypertension and stomach cancer, but the soy in miso appears to be protective. So you can use miso to add saltiness to dishes without risking your health. This is especially good news for salt lovers!
What to eat with oil free Baba Ganoush
Baba ganoush is traditionally served with a drizzle of olive oil and pita bread. But in a WFPB diet, we skip the oil altogether and consider baba ganoush the perfect accompaniment for sliced raw veggies.
As mentioned above, in addition to fiber and antioxidants, this oil free baba ganoush gets healthy fat from tahini. Including some healthy fat with our veggies actually helps us better absorb their nutrients. Go dips and dressings!
This smoky, creamy oil free baba ganoush is so delicious and satisfying, it’s gonna make you want to eat more (and more!) raw veggies. To serve my roasted eggplant dip, I created this platter with overlapping layers of English cucumbers and small beauty heart radishes. I can’t imagine anyone NOT wanting to dig right in and eating up their veggies with this lovey, appetizing platter.
I’ll be taking this oil free baba ganoush platter to parties all spring and summer long. If you do too, let me know! Leave me a comment below or post your creation on Instagram and tag @healthymidwesterngirl.
If you like this whole food plant-based recipe, you might also like:
- Oil Free Hummus
- Oil Free Za'atar Sweet Potato Fries
- Inside Out Guacamole
- Vegan Italian Stuffed Mushrooms
- Oil Free Mayonnaise & Aioli
- Vegan Easy Cheezy Sauce
- Vegan Cheddar Cheese Sauce
Oil Free Baba Ganoush
- 2 medium eggplants ½ inch sliced (peeled or unpeeled, see notes)
- 4 cloves garlic unpeeled
- Juice and zest of 1 large lemon about ¼ cup of juice. Plus more, if desired
- ¼ cup tahini
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves plus more for garnish, if desired
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves plus more for garnish, if desired
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika (or more, to taste)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3-4 tablespoons water to thin while processing or use a little more lemon juice if desired. See notes
- Preheat the oven 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. (See notes for grilled eggplant and garlic.)
- Place the eggplant slices and unpeeled garlic cloves on the two baking sheets, spreading them out evenly, and roast for 20 minutes. Turn over, and continue roasting on the other side about 10 or 15 more minutes, or until thoroughly cooked and very soft. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- While the eggplant and garlic are roasting, combine the tahini, lemon juice and zest, miso, parsley, mint, cumin and smoked paprika in in a food processor or blender. Pulse to blend and allow to rest in the food processor.
- When the eggplant and garlic have finished cooking, peel the garlic, then add them to the food processor. Process until completely smooth and creamy, adding water and/or more lemon juice a little at a time to thin as needed.
- Garnish with more chopped parsley and mint if desired.
- Eggplant skins contain a powerful antioxidant called nasunin, but can be tough, especially on larger eggplants. Look for smaller, younger eggplants if you want to leave the skin on. For this recipe, you can peel, leave unpeeled, or even peel half of the eggplant, as desired.
- In the summer, I love to make this recipe with grilled eggplant. Eggplant slices will cook on the grill in about 10 minutes on medium high setting. To grill garlic, I put the cloves in a foil pouch or small grill basket.
- Since we're not using oil, you will need to thin the dip either with water or more lemon juice. I usually just use water, but you add a little more lemon juice with the water for a more lemony dip.