Baba Ghanoush Recipe
Baba Ghanoush is of Middle Eastern origin and is made by combining cooked and mashed eggplant with lemon juice, tahini, olive oil and various seasonings. It may be served as a dip with other vegetables, pita bread or crackers. Baba ghanoush easily fits into a healthy soft food diet for those with TMJ pain or other jaw problems because it's easy to chew yet provides a good amount of dietary fiber.
Eggplant grows wild in India and Asia. Eggplant made its way to Europe with the Islamic empire during the 7th and 8th centuries. Aubergine and brinjal are other names for eggplant. In Italy eggplant is known as melanzane, and it is a staple of southern Italian cooking and the Mediterranean diet.
Eggplant comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Stick to medium sized eggplants that are smooth and shiny. They are in peak season from late spring to early fall.
Eggplant is a nightshade vegetable, like potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes. Other nightshades include spices sourced from peppers such as paprika and cayenne, goji berries, cape gooseberries and garden huckleberries.
Eggplant and other nightshade vegetables have the natural chemical solanine. Some people claim that solanine worsens arthritis and may add to inflammation in the body. There is no scientific evidence that the small amount of solanine in eggplant worsens symptoms of arthritis or causes inflammation. However, if you notice that your joint pain flares up after eating eggplant or other nightshades, then avoid them!
Eggplant is rich in heart-healthy polyphenols and provides a good amount of potassium and fiber. It is low in calories so long as you don't soak it in oil. And you do not need to salt eggplant to get rid of bitterness.
Before you cook eggplant, wash the skin, and cut off the leafy top right under the stem. The skin of an organically grown eggplant is okay to eat, but you might want to remove it if you find it difficult to chew. Don't cut an eggplant until you're ready to cook it because the flesh oxidizes quickly.
Tahini is an important ingredient in this healthy soft food recipe, which serves as a vegan source of protein and adds a delicious flavor and texture to the baba ghanoush. Tahini is simply ground sesame seeds. It is an excellent food for those suffering with TMJ pain and jaw problems and have difficulty chewing animal protein like meat and chicken. Check the ingredient list on the tahini jar and make sure that it lists only sesame seeds. There should be no other ingredients. Tahini provides vegan protein, an abundance of antioxidants, and healthy unsaturated fats.
This recipe will please any eggplant lover and fits into a healthy soft food diet for those suffering with TMJ pain or jaw problems and have difficulty chewing. And if you don't like garlic, leave it out!
Baba Ghanoush Recipe
Choose organic ingredients when available:
- 2 to 3 medium Italian eggplants (about 2 pounds) pricked all over with a fork
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more as desired
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 to 3 tablespoons tahini
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ground
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Place eggplant in a roasting pan. Roast for 1.5 hours. Remove from oven, transfer to a large bowl, cover, and allow to cool in refrigerator overnight.
The next day, drain the liquid out of the bowl. (I drink the water because it's sweet and full of nutrients.) You can leave the skin on if the eggplant is organically grown, and you don't mind having the added texture. However, if you prefer a smooth and creamy baba ghanoush--the traditional way--then scrape out the flesh and discard the peel (or eat it separately).
To the bowl, add the rest of the ingredients.
Using a potato masher, mash the mixture until smooth.
Serve with a drizzle of fresh extra virgin olive oil and pita bread or crackers.
The baba ghanoush can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Let it come back to room temperature before serving.
Serves 4 to 6.
Nutrition Facts based on 5 servings (using 2 tablespoons tahini): 86 calories, 3.7 grams fat, 108 mg sodium, 12.8 grams carbohydrate, 7.1 grams dietary fiber, 3.1 grams protein, 10% Daily Value potassium, 7% Daily Value iron, 4% Daily Value calcium.