Baba ghanoush
Alternative namesBaba ganoush, baba ghanouj
Place of originLevant[1]
Associated cuisineIraq, Armenia,[2] Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Turkey
Main ingredientsEggplant, olive oil
Mutabbal and pita bread
Alternative namesMoutabbal, m'tabbal
Place of originLevant
Main ingredientsEggplant, olive oil

Baba ghanoush (/ˌbɑːbə ɡəˈnʃ/ BAH-bə gə-NOOSH, UK also /- ɡæˈnʃ/ -⁠ gan-OOSH, US also /- ɡəˈnʒ/ -⁠ gə-NOOZH;[3][4][5][6] Arabic: بابا غنوج, romanizedbābā ġannūj listen), also spelled baba ganoush or baba ghanouj,[1][3][4][5][6][7] is a Levantine appetizer consisting of finely chopped roasted eggplant, olive oil, lemon juice, various seasonings, and tahini.[6][7][8] The eggplant is traditionally baked or broiled over an open flame before peeling, so that the pulp is soft and has a smoky taste.[9] It is a typical meze (starter) of the regional cuisine, often served as a side to a main meal and as a dip for pita bread.[7]

A very similar dish is mutabbal (Arabic: متبل, lit.'spiced'), which is sometimes said to be a spicier version of baba ghanoush.


The word bābā in Arabic is a term of endearment for 'father', while Ġannūj could be a personal name.[5] The word combination is also interpreted as 'father of coquetry' or 'indulged/pampered/flirtatious daddy' or 'spoiled old daddy'.[4][7][10] However, it is not certain whether the word bābā refers to an actual person indulged by the dish or to the eggplant (bāḏinjān or bātinjān in Arabic).[7]


Eastern Arabian cuisine versions of the dish vary slightly from those of the Levant by spicing it with coriander and cumin;[10] those versions might be minimally spiced and topped with thinly chopped parsley or coriander leaves.[11]

In Turkey, the dish is known as babaganuş or abugannuş. While the ingredients vary from region to region, the essentials (eggplants, tahini, garlic, lemon) are generally the same.[citation needed]

In Armenia, the dish is known as mutabal. The essential ingredients in Armenian mutabal are eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon, and onion; and most Armenians also add cumin.[citation needed]

In Romania, a similar dish is known as salată de vinete ('eggplant salad'). It lacks tahini and is made from finely chopped roasted eggplant, finely chopped onions, sunflower oil (explicitly not olive oil[12][13] because it would make the appetizer bitter), salt and, optionally, mayonnaise.[14]

In Syria, the dish is often mixed with sheep cheese, which turns it into a creamier dish.[15]

Food writer and historian Gil Marks writes in his book that "Israelis learned to make baba ghanouj from the Arabs".[7] An Israeli variant, salat ḥatzilim ('eggplant salad'), is made with fried or grilled eggplants mixed with mayonnaise, salt, lemon and chopped fried onions.[16][17] It is usually topped with olive oil when served.

Health benefits

Baba ghanoush is nutritious, mainly from eggplant, low in calories but high in fiber and antioxidants, good for digestion and fighting free radicals. Heart-healthy fats from tahini and olive oil, plus vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and potassium, support overall health when part of a balanced diet.[18]

Individuals with allergies or sensitivities should be cautious, especially regarding sesame, a common ingredient in baba ghanoush, as sesame allergy is a common food allergy. Moreover, the eggplant's oxalate content may pose risks for those prone to kidney stones, and its solanine content could worsen inflammation in specific individuals.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b LeBlanc, Beverly; McNamee, Gregory Lewis, baba ghanoush at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ "Baba Ghanoush". The Armenian Kitchen. 4 November 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b "baba ganoush". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/OED/5274143737. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  4. ^ a b c "baba ghanouj". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). HarperCollins. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "baba ghanouj" (US) and "baba ganoush". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "baba ghanoush". Dictionary. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Gil Marks (2010). "Baba Ghanouj". Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 9780544186316.
  8. ^ "Baba ganoush". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2006. A Middle Eastern (originally Lebanese) dish of puréed roasted aubergine, garlic, and tahini.
  9. ^ Karam Khayat, Marie; Clark Keatinge, Margaret. Food from the Arab World. Beirut, Lebanon: Khayats.
  10. ^ a b Salloum, Habeeb (28 February 2012). The Arabian Nights Cookbook: From Lamb Kebabs to Baba Ghanouj, Delicious Homestyle Arabian Cooking. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 9781462905249.
  11. ^ "Baba Ganoush: Quintessentially Levantine". Your Middle East. 7 January 2013. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  12. ^ Marin, Sanda (1995). Carte de bucate (Cookbook) (in Romanian). București (Bucharest): Editura Orizonturi. pp. 31–32. ISBN 973-95583-2-1.
  13. ^ Jurcovan, Silvia (2012). Carte de bucate (Cookbook) (in Romanian). București (Bucharest): Editura Humanitas. pp. 90–91. ISBN 978-973-50-3475-7.
  14. ^ Hansen, Eliza (1973). Meine rumänischen Spezialitäten (My Romanian Specialties) (in German). Hamburg: Ed. Christians. p. 10. ISBN 3-7672-0229-8.
  15. ^ "Baba ganoush ou caviar d'aubergines". Panier de Saison: recettes, accords mets-vins, jardinage et tourisme local (in French). October 2020. Retrieved 28 February 2023.
  16. ^ Levy, F. Feast from the Mideast (2003) p.41
  17. ^ Nathan, J. (2011). Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. pp. 57–58. ISBN 978-0-307-77785-0. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  18. ^ Joseph, Emb (2021). "Is Baba Ganoush Good For You?". Stylevitally.