Baba ghanoush
Place of originSyria[1]
Associated national cuisineIraq, Armenia,[2] Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, and Turkey
Main ingredientsEggplant, olive oil
Baba ganoush and pita.jpg
Moutabbal (or M'tabbal) and pita bread
Place of originLevant
Main ingredientsEggplant, olive oil

Baba ghanoush (UK: /ˌbɑːbə ɡæˈnʃ/, US: /- ɡəˈnʃ, - ɡəˈnʒ/;[3][4][5] Arabic: بابا غنوج, romanizedbābā ġannūj), also spelled baba ganoush or baba ghanouj,[3][4][5][1] is a Levantine appetizer consisting of finely chopped roasted eggplant, olive oil, lemon juice, various seasonings, and tahini.[5][1][6] The eggplant is traditionally baked or broiled over an open flame before peeling, so that the pulp is soft and has a smoky taste.[7] 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.[1]

A very similar dish is mutabbal (Arabic: متبل lit. 'spiced'). Mutabbal is sometimes said to be a spicier version of baba ghanoush. Mutabbal consists of mashed roasted eggplants, tahini, salt, pepper, garlic, lemon and often yogurt.[8]


The bābā is an Arabic word that means 'father' and is also a term of endearment, while ġannūj could be a personal name.[4] The word combination is also interpreted as "father of coquetry" or "indulged/pampered/flirtatious daddy" or "spoiled old daddy".[3][1][9] It is not certain whether the word bābā refers to the eggplant, or to an actual person indulged by the dish.[1]


Eastern Arabian cuisine versions of the dish vary slightly from those of the Levant by spicing it with coriander and cumin;[9] those versions might be minimally spiced and topped with thinly chopped parsley or coriander leaves.[10]

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]

Food writer and historian Gil Marks writes in his book that: "Israelis learned to make baba ghanouj from the Arabs".[1] An Israeli variant, salat ḥatzilim, is made with fried or grilled eggplants mixed with mayonnaise, salt, lemon and chopped fried onions.[11][12] It is usually topped with olive oil when served.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Gil Marks (2010). "Baba Ghanouj". Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 9780544186316.
  2. ^ "Baba Ghanoush". 4 November 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "baba ghanouj". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). HarperCollins. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "baba ghanouj" (US) and "baba ganoush". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "baba ghanoush". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Khayat, Marie Karam; Keatinge, Margaret Clark. Food from the Arab World, Khayats, Beirut, Lebanon.
  8. ^ "Middle Eastern Mutabbal Recipe". 29 March 2022.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "Baba Ganoush: Quintessentially Levantine". Your Middle East. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  11. ^ Levy, F. Feast from the Mideast (2003) p.41
  12. ^ 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.