Dr. Greg’s Baba Ghanoush aka Big Daddy’s Eggplant Dip
We all know that the Mediterranean diet is one that proves healthy for the heart. Research has shown that lean protein, lots of vegetables, beans and good fats like olive oil offer protection against inflammation that can lead to heart disease. That got me thinking about Baba Ghanoush. This Middle Eastern appetizer doubles as a delicious heart-healthy summer side dish. When we were first dating, my husband made me this, with his own spin. He is a cardiologist who enjoys creating dishes that show some love to the hardworking heart.
Dr. Greg returned to the kitchen last night to whip us up a batch. I had to look up the meaning of the words first. In Arabic, Baba means father and Ghanoush could be a personal name. One translation had it as “pampered father.” We live in the south, so as Southerners are prone to do, we created a nickname: “Big Daddy’s Eggplant Dip.” Whatever you choose to call it, enjoy the process. That’s part of the fun. If you can invite your family to cook together and connect over food, all the better.
Dr. Greg just uses six ingredients:
- 1 eggplant
- 1 red bell pepper
- Juice of a lemon
- Olive oil
- Cut the eggplant in thick slices, plop them on a baking sheet and brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on one side only.
- Slice the red bell pepper in half and swipe away the seeds. Give it the same treatment: rub in olive oil and a little salt and pepper.
- If you have a grill going, lay all the veggies on the grill for about ten minutes. It’s fine to put them in a conventional oven or even blister them on the stove. The grill just gives them a rich and smoky taste.
- We let the peppers get a little too charred, but no worries. You can run them under cold water when they are soft and the skin will slip right off.
- Once the eggplant and pepper are smoky and soft, but not mushy, remove from the grill and put them in a food processor. Dr. Greg leaves the skin on the eggplant to boost the fiber content.
- Squeeze in the juice of a lemon, add more olive oil if needed and adjust the salt and pepper. Pulse it all up for a minute or two.
If you’d like a more complex taste, you could also add a few shakes of curry powder, cinnamon and a touch of minced garlic. Always let yourself experiment. You can’t go wrong with this! Voila: Big Daddy’s Eggplant dip, ready for crackers or pita bread! We served it on the side with some grilled chicken and a fresh green salad.
Your friends and family will thank you and so will your heart.
– Kelley Colihan Robertson, E-RYT