Turn silky smooth eggplant dip into a meal by adding a pile of fragrant meat on top! This baba ganoush with spiced lamb & mint will quickly become a summer favorite.
In case you missed my subtle Instagram announcements, I’m pregnant! For a few more hours, you can catch a glimpse of the growing bump in my stories. We’re expecting a baby girl right around Christmas, and both Ben and I are so excited.
This pregnancy is part of the reason I’ve been posting so infrequently the last few months. Even before I realized I was pregnant, I was hit with terrible exhaustion that lasted all of the first trimester and a few weeks into the second. Now, at 17 weeks, I finally feel like some of my energy has returned within the last four or five days. It’s funny because I fully expected to have morning sickness, but didn’t at all–I got off scot-free with no nausea–but was completely unprepared for how tired I’d be. I’ve never experienced exhaustion anything like it in my whole life! No matter how much I slept, I’d wake up still tired, and only become less energetic over the course of the day. I’ve never been a napper unless I’m really sick, but these past few months, I have napped like a champion. On days spent at home, I could nap from about 2-5, and still go to bed again around 10 pm and sleep through until 7 or 8.
I’ll try to save most of my pregnancy ramblings for a separate post, but wanted to ask: are any of you interested in reading about my pregnancy? Or will you just be skipping those posts and tapping your feet until another recipe arrives? I want to share about being pregnant in part because we had an infertility scare just a few months before we conceived. Infertility is such a taboo topic, and I think the more it’s talked about, the less people will have to feel ashamed when they have difficulties in that department. I don’t know if I can truly call what I struggled with infertility because we got pregnant within 8 months of trying, but in March, I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure. That’s a fancy word for very early menopause (I was 32 at the time). So basically, this little bun in my oven is a total miracle, because we were told I had hardly any good eggs left and that we should consider donor eggs or adoption.
I have so much more to say about all that, but I’m supposed to be talking about baba ganoush with spiced lamb and mint! In case you’re not familiar, baba ganoush is like hummus made with eggplant instead of chickpeas. It does not have the texture of eggplant, so even some eggplant-haters may enjoy it.
I started making baba ganoush last summer when I saw this recipe on Heartbeet Kitchen and was soon after offered a generous surplus of eggplant as part of my Big Sycamore Farm CSA. I became addicted to the super creamy dip and pretty much needed to have some in my fridge at all times. This summer, when I got my hands on the first eggplants of the season, I decided I’d try adding some meat to take this baba ganoush from appetizer land to the center of the dinner table. I also streamlined the recipe by slicing the eggplant into rounds to reduce the roasting time, and eliminating any salting and squeezing steps, which aren’t necessary here.
It was a great success. The lamb is cooked with onion and simply spiced with coriander, turmeric, and a bit of smoked paprika. The combination of ground meat with coriander and turmeric is inspired by kaddo bourani, a delicious Afghan dish that’s included in my cookbook, Paleo Planet (which, by the way, is on sale for 50% off the list price on Amazon right now!). I’d been wanting to use that mix of flavors again, and this was the perfect opportunity. If you don’t enjoy the robust flavor of lamb, I recommend trying this with ground beef instead.
For dippers, I like a mix of vegetables and crackers. I opted for carrots, cucumber, and Simple Mills almond flour crackers, but I also love bell peppers, radishes, and even raw asparagus dipped in baba ganoush. However, I also really wished I’d had the energy to make some of my paleo flatbread to go with this dinner! It’s soft, chewy, and irresistible just like traditional naan. Next time!
Are you an eggplant fan? Have you ever tried baba ganoush? If you’re an eggplant lover, what are some of your favorite ways to use it?
- 2 large eggplants, sliced into rounds ¼-1/2 inch thick
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- ⅓ cup tahini
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons time juice, or to taste
- ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 1 pound ground lamb (or beef)
- ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted if desired
- Vegetables, for dipping
- Crackers (I love Simple Mills) and/or paleo naan, for dipping
- To make the baba ganoush, preheat the broiler with a rack 3-5 inches from the heating element. Arrange the eggplant slices on a large baking sheet, brush both sides with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Broil for a few minutes per side, turning once, until nicely browned and very soft. (Timing varies greatly with different broilers. Check your eggplant frequently to avoid burning!)
- Let the eggplant cool until you can handle it comfortably. Remove the peel from each slice (it should come off easily in one or two pieces) and put the eggplant pulp in the bowl of a food processor. Add the tahini, garlic, lime juice, coriander, cumin, and one tablespoon of olive oil. Process until very smooth. Taste and add salt and/or additional lime juice if desired, and process again. Baba ganoush can be made up to 3 days ahead. Store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before topping with lamb.
- To make the spiced lamb, heat a large skillet over medium high. When the pan is hot, add one tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until just beginning to brown. Push the onion to the sides of the pan, add the remaining tablespoon of oil in the middle, and add the lamb. Let the meat cook undisturbed for a minute or two to brown, then begin breaking it up with a spatula. Continue to cook and break up larger pieces until the lamb is fully cooked and no longer pink. Stir in the coriander, turmeric, and paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5-10 more minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the flavors to develop.
- When you are ready to serve, put the baba ganoush in a serving bowl or divide it between several smaller bowls. (For serving as an appetizer I like one big bowl, but when I'm serving this as a meal, I like to give everyone their own smaller dish.) Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Arrange the spiced lamb on top, sprinkle with the mint and pine nuts, and serve with vegetables, crackers, and/or flatbread for dipping.
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