Eggplant Hummus, or baba ghanouj, is a spread or dip made with roasted eggplant and tahini, which is ground sesame seed paste. This recipe takes a bit of time before it is ready to eat, so plan ahead. The wait will be worth it.

eggplant hummusPrep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 60 to 75 min
Ready In: 4 to 24 hrs

Servings: about 9 (2 tablespoon) servings.

Ingredients
1 medium (1 lb) Eggplant
4 large Garlic cloves
Olive oil
¾ cup canned Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp Tahini
2 tbsp plain non-fat Yogurt
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 to 2 tbsp fresh Lemon Juice
Salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the eggplant on a baking sheet. Place the garlic in a square of foil. Add 2-3 drops olive oil, rubbing to coat the garlic. Seal the packet and place on the baking sheet.
Bake the eggplant and garlic until very soft, 40-50 minutes for the garlic, 60-75 minutes for the eggplant. Turn the eggplant 3 to 4 times so it cooks evenly. Place the eggplant in a bowl, slit it open, and set aside to cool and drain.
Discarding the drained liquid and the skin, place the roasted eggplant in a food processor. Squeeze the garlic from its skin and add, along with the chickpeas, tahini, yogurt, cumin, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Whirl until the hummus is smooth and fluffy. Season the hummus to taste with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice, if desired. For best flavor, refrigerate hummus 4 to 24 hours before serving. Serve accompanied by toasted whole-wheat pita bread and raw vegetables.

Tips & Notes
To make it creamy, this Middle Eastern appetizer usually contains generous amounts of tahini plus extra-virgin olive oil. While both of them are rich in the “good” or healthful fats you want in your diet, using them liberally increases the calories and, no matter how good those fats may be, calories do count especially in our overweight society.
Traditional eggplant spread presents problems in the preparation as well. For example, exposing the eggplant to flame adds lovely smoky flavor that can help compensate for reducing the amount of oil used. But this method messes up the stove when a gas burner is used, and after grilling eggplant, getting the skin off can be a tedious task that takes time.
The time-pressed home cook will look for that smoky flavor in baba ghanouj when eating out and deploy other strategies to make a delicious spread.
Using ingredients associated with Mediterranean roots can compensate for reduced fat content and add flavor in the process. These include puréed beans, garlic and yogurt.
Chickpeas make a great hummus, and marrying puréed chickpeas with the eggplant used in baba ghanouj makes a perfect romance between these two popular East Mediterranean dishes.
Roasted garlic has a rich creamy flavor and tastes far richer than raw garlic. And there is a simple, mess-free way to roast garlic in the oven.
Olive oil is used not only for flavor, but to thin the spread. If you use just enough for flavor, the spread can then be thinned with something much lower in calories but still healthful yogurt. If you find the Greek-style, thicker yogurt sometimes found in supermarkets, all the better for authenticity as well as texture. Otherwise, use regular (plain) yogurt, or a reduced- or low-fat version, which is improved if you take time to drain it before adding to the spread.

Nutritional Information per Serving (two tbsp)
Calories: 59
Total Fat: 2g
Saturated Fat: less than 1g
Carbohydrate: 9g
Protein: 2g
Dietary Fiber: 3g
Sodium: 64mg

Source: AICR

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