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Baba Ghanoush Two Ways: Classic & Tahini-Free

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After last week’s sugar & booze fest, I thought it was time to break out a beautifully healthy AND delicious recipe.  I’m feeling the need to cleanse my system after indulging in a few too many “tastes” of my creations and this is a perfect way to do it: with baba ghanoush!

Never heard of it?  Baba ghanoush is a Middle Eastern roasted eggplant dip that is similar to hummus, but eggplant stands in for chickpeas.  All other ingredients are pretty much the same!

I’ve always loved hummus but was never impressed with the baba ghanoush I ordered at restaurants.  It was either too smoky or too bland, but I’m stubborn and I had it in my head that if it was prepared properly, I would love it.  So when Jenna posted a recipe for it, and her beautiful pictures mesmerized and dazzled me, convincing me that indeed, I would love it if I made it myself, I ventured forth.

Behold, the baba ghanoush.

There was much jubilation in my kitchen upon the first bite, proof that baba ghanoush is delicious!!

I made the first batch and ate it within a week, then made a tahini-free batch the following week (I ran out of tahini, plus, leaving it out made the recipe 17 Day Diet-friendly).  I actually liked the tahini-free version better, but that is more likely due to me roasting the eggplant longer (the first batch was a little undercooked) than the lack of tahini.  I definitely recommend roasting your eggplants thoroughly (like Jenna says, when you think they’re done roasting, roast them a little more), because it makes a great difference in taste.

I tell you I can’t get enough of this stuff.  I have half a jar in my fridge right now and I had to get up and take a spoonful as I was writing this blog.  And that’s my favorite way to eat it, by the way.  Straight from the jar (or the food processor) with a spoon.  I use it more like a side dish than a dip, but it’s really good with pita chips too!

Baba Ghanoush

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3 medium eggplants
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup parsley, minced
Chips or bread, to serve

Prick each eggplant with a fork until the surface is covered with holes. Place the eggplants under a broiler (or on a grill) and cook for about 40 minutes, until blackened and slightly shrunken, turning occasionally. When they’re very tender, let them cool.

When cool enough to handle, scoop the eggplant flesh into a the bowl of a food processor with a spoon, discarding the skins. Add the lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and cumin. Process until desired texture, then add the parsley and pulse to combine. Serve with chips, pita bread, a baguette, crackers, etc.

Tahini-Free Baba Ghanoush

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3 medium eggplants
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup parsley, minced
Pita chips, crackers, or vegetables, to serve

Prick each eggplant with a fork until the surface is covered with holes. Place the eggplants under a broiler (or on a grill) and cook for about 40 minutes, until blackened and slightly shrunken, turning occasionally. When they’re very tender, let them cool.

When cool enough to handle, scoop the eggplant flesh into a the bowl of a food processor with a spoon, discarding the skins. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and cumin. Process until desired texture, then add the parsley and pulse to combine. Serve with chips, pita bread, a baguette, crackers, etc.

Recipes source: adapted from Jenna’s Everything Blog

Mediterranean Tacos

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My best good friend, Jackie, calls these her “Hook the Guy Pitas” because she gives them partial credit for hooking her own man when she came up with them on the fly using ingredients she had on hand when they were first dating.

Well, that may have worked for her (they’re still going strong more than ten years and four children later!), but mine could care less about anything that isn’t steak or spaghetti.  He’ll eat them, but I’m the one who got hooked on the pitas!  Without ever having tasted hers, I started making them in January after she shared her recipe with me, but she made sure to make them for us while we were visiting them in Texas, bless her heart.   Have you ever noticed how food prepared by someone else, especially someone you love, always tastes better, even if they made the same exact recipe that you did?

This is a pretty quick meal to throw together, and if you enjoy foods with a Middle-Eastern flare, I think you’ll like them too!

Mediterranean Tacos

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, chopped
2 cloves garlic
Mediterranean seasoning to taste*
2-3 cups baby spinach
1 diced tomato
1 cup hummus
1/2 cup feta cheese (optional)
Creamy Dill Sauce (recipe follows)
1 package pita pockets or flat bread

Brown the hamburger with the onion over medium heat. When it is mostly cooked, add in the mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, and seasoning, and continue cooking until the veggies have softened but not completely died a cooking death. Stir in the spinach and turn off the heat. It will wilt a little while you prepare the pitas. Spread hummus on the inside of the pitas, then fill with meat mixture and top with tomato, feta and serve with creamy dill sauce.

Creamy dill sauce: 1/2 cup light miracle whip, 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk, 1 tsp dried dill, 2 tsp dried chives, 1 tsp minced onion, 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Mix until blended–best if made in advance and refrigerated so the flavors can develop. If you use mayonnaise instead of Miracle Whip, add in some sugar to cut the sourness.

Makes 8 tacos

Per taco (using half a whole wheat pita pocket): 292 calories; 12 g fat; 30 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 20 g protein; 8 Points Plus

*I use 2 tablespoons of McCormicks Mediterranean Herb seasoning; Jaci uses 1/2 tablespoon Cavender’s.

Recipe source: slightly adapted from Jackie H.

Danielle (my sister), Jaci, and I at a marsh in TX.



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