If you’ve been to a Middle Eastern restaurant recently you’ve probably had baba ganoush, hummus, or both. Not only are these dips common appetizers, they’re often a part of the main meal as well. Compared with a lot of western dips, baba ganoush and hummus are also both more filling and more nutritious.
But, for a lot of people making them at home can be intimidating, especially if you haven’t made them before. The good news is that making hummus and baba ganoush isn’t difficult, and they can be a great addition to your home diet!
|Middle East, possible 13th century Egypt
|Eggplant, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, optional pomegranate seeds and pine nuts.
|Chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, flavoring ingredients.
|Smooth, slightly grainy, meaty
|Very smooth, thick like peanut butter
|Can be a side dish, appetizer, snack, or even a whole meal.
|Generally eaten as a side dish, appetizer, or snack.
What is Baba Ganoush
Baba ganoush is a popular dip or sauce often included in different middle eastern dishes. It’s made from eggplant, tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon juice, and other ingredients. It’s a thick paste, usually, just a little grainy from the eggplant.
Depending on the proportions of the ingredients, baba ganoush can range from slightly sweet to earthy and savory. It tends to be just a little acidic, and some versions incorporate a little bit of pomegranate juice to make it a little sweeter and give it a different taste.
Baba ganoush can be served on its own, or more commonly as a side dish or appetizer with the rest of a meal.
Different Types of Baba Ganoush
There really aren’t different kinds of baba ganoush, but there are different versions of the dip. Older more rustic versions involved finely chopping the eggplant instead of blending or grinding it, and those are still made occasionally today as an option to give the meal more texture.
But the thing that changes most often between different servings of baba ganoush are the toppings you put on it. Pine nuts and pomegranate seeds are both common options, in addition to a healthy layer of additional olive oil. Some spices are also used.
We’ll talk more about the kinds of baba ganoush toppings in just a bit.
How Do You Make Baba Ganoush?
Baba ganoush is a multi step process. The key is getting a good roast on the eggplant, which both helps make it more tender for a better texture, and also helps to concentrate the flavor.
Some people also use a salad spinner or paper towels to help pull the moisture out of the eggplant, which can help to concentrate the flavor in the eggplant.
It’s also important to get the right balance of tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil. A good way to do that is to use a blender that lets you drizzle in ingredients, stopping occasionally to taste test the resulting dip until you have a balance you like.
You also need to blend long enough to get a creamy finish. The goal is to get the baba ganoush as smooth as possible, though you may not be able to completely eliminate the small bits.
Delicious Baba Ganoush Ingredients
Baba ganoush is highly customizable. Some people love to mix in freshly chopped herbs to heighten the flavors. Others prefer to top the dip with delicious ingredients, providing more flavor and customization while leaving the core of the dip alone.
Here are a few different kinds of ingredients to play with:
- Chopped herbs of your choice
- Pomegranate seeds
- Pine nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Olive oil (extra virgin offers the best flavor)
- Greek yogurt
- Quinoa salad
- Halloumi cheese
There are plenty of other options. Baba ganoush is also often served with lamb as a main course, since the flavors are highly complementary.
Great Baba Ganoush Recipes You Should Try
If you’re looking for a good baba ganoush recipe that gives you a lot of customization options, but also does a good job of outlining why you’re taking each step in the process, and how to choose the best produce for the dish, Serious Eats can help!
For a creamier version that uses Greek yogurt in addition to the other main ingredients, the New York Times has a version that is both savory and filling.
What Is Hummus?
Hummus is probably the better known of these two dips, and has been widely adopted as a dieting and weight loss tool thanks to it’s savory flavors, filling nature, and versatility. Easily eaten with vegetables instead of pita bread, customized for different flavors, and packed with nutrients, there are a lot of reasons hummus is so popular.
This chickpea dip is more complex than it, or it’s simple ingredient list, seem at first glance. Let’s take a closer look at what makes hummus so great.
Different Styles Of Hummus
There are a lot of different versions of hummus that have been created over time. Here are a few different versions of hummus you should know about.
- Plain Hummus: Classic plain hummus is a simple combination of olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, and chickpeas. It’s richly flavorful on its own, but it’s also often served with more olive oil and spices, occasionally with yogurt or sour cream as well.
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: Roasted red pepper hummus is a classic variation, that adds savory roasted red peppers to the paste. The red peppers can help to loosen the hummus a little, and also does a good job of adding additional flavor. Roasted red pepper hummus is also easily recognized by its bright red-orange color.
- Roasted Garlic Hummus: Another classic version of hummus is the roasted garlic version. Garlic can be roasted with oil, herbs, and other flavorings to help add even more flavor. Like roasted red pepper hummus, it’s added to the hummus during the blending phase. Unlike roasted red pepper hummus, it doesn’t usually change the color or texture of the hummus much.
- Chocolate Hummus: One of the versions of hummus that is much more modern, and has become a popular dieting aid, chocolate hummus involves adding cocoa powder and a little bit of honey or another sweetener, to make an almost fudgy dip. It’s still rich and savory, which can help fill you up faster, and the minimal addition of sweetener doesn’t add too many calories to the dish.
How Do You Make Hummus?
Hummus is easy to make at home since you can use canned chickpeas and most stores sell tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice these days. You do need a blender or a food processor that will let you add the olive oil and lemon juice while you’re blending, however.
Simply add the chickpeas and tahini to the blender bowl, turn it on, and then drizzle in the other ingredients from the top. A tamper can be very helpful in this process to make sure the hummus is evenly processed and smooth.
Hummus Ingredients and Toppings To Experiment With
There are quite a few different ingredients you can experiment with. Here are a few things you can try: roasted red peppers, garlic, onions, chocolate or cocoa powder, carrots, beets, herbs, and a whole lot more.
Basically any solid vegetable can work in hummus, and even some fruits work relatively well.
You can also experiment with combinations. Remember though, roasting ingredients before you add them can improve the flavor, texture, and preservation of the finished dish. Sundried tomatoes and other pre-preserved ingredients work just as well as roasting the ingredients at home.
Top Hummus Recipes You’re Sure To Love
If you’re looking for an easy hummus recipe, you can use this recipe from Inspired Taste. It’s also a great base to customize your hummus from, so you can experiment with different ingredients.
Or, for a more traditional and classic recipe, try this version of hummus from Bon Appetit.
Wrapping Up: What are the key differences between baba ganoush and hummus?
Baba ganoush and hummus have two very different flavor profiles, but the main difference between them is just a single ingredient, the main one. Baba ganoush is made from eggplant, while hummus is made from chickpeas.
Both have a similar texture, high nutritional value, not to mention the delicious taste!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1: Which Is Better For You, Baba Ganoush Or Hummus?
Baba ganoush is much lower calorie than hummus, while they are both highly nutritious and filling. Hummus and baba ganoush do have different nutrients though, and both can be important parts of a healthy diet.
Q2: Does Baba Ganoush Contain Hummus?
No, though they do have a lot of different ingredients in common. Both of these dishes are slightly different in important ways. And you can’t make one from the other.
Q3: Is Hummus Better For You Than Guacamole?
Hummus has more protein that guacamole, but both are relatively high calorie and can be part of healthy varied diets.
Q4: How Long Does Homemade Baba Ganoush Last?
Bab ganoush goes bad relatively quickly, it lasts around 4 days in the fridge.
Baba Ganoush vs Hummus: What's the Difference
- Choose your favorite recipe
- Click the link to view the instructions
- Follow the linked instructions