Zucchini “Baba Ghanoush”


“This looks rather like a volcanic eruption, in the best possible sense,” states Yotam Ottolenghi about this zucchini baba ghanoush recipe in his cookbook, Plenty More.

Indeed, it’s not the prettiest dip, but it caught my attention for a few reasons. Firstly, my husband won’t eat eggplant, so I thought that the zucchini substitute could work.

Secondly, I had a hummus years ago that had butter-sautéed pine nuts on it, as does this dip, and it was exquisite.

Thirdly, this “baba ghanoush” so resembled nothing I’ve ever made, that i just had to try it!

I was mostly excited that there are no garbanzo beans or tahini in this dip!

Here’s the recipe from the cookbook.

Zucchini “Baba Ghanoush”

5 large zucchini, about 2 3/4 pounds
1/3 cup goat’s milk yogurt
2 tablespoons grated Roquefort
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon Urfa chile flakes, I used Aleppo flakes
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon za’atar, to finish

Preheat the broiler. Place the zucchini on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and broil for about 45 minutes, turning once or twice during the cooking, until the skin crisps and browns nicely.

Remove from the oven and, once cool enough to handle, peel off the zucchini skin, discard it, and set the flesh aside in a colander to drain; you can also scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

Put the yogurt in a small saucepan with the Roquefort and egg. Heat very gently for about 3 minutes, stirring often. You want the yogurt to heat through but not quite reach the simmering point. Set aside and keep warm.

Melt the butter in a small sauté pan with the pine nuts over low heat and cook, stirring often, for 3 – 4 minutes, until the nuts turn golden brown. Stir in the chile flakes and lemon juice and set aside.

To serve, put the zucchini in a bowl and add the garlic, a scant 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a good grind of black pepper.

Gently mash everything together with a fork and then spread the mixture out on a large serving platter.

Spoon the warm yogurt sauce on top, followed by a drizzle of the warm chile butter and pine nuts.

Finish with a sprinkle of za’atar and serve at once.

This dip is better than incredible.

I served it with flatbread triangles.

The zucchini makes a nice base for the toppings.

It won’t be long until I make this again!

Full disclosure: I used goat cheese in this recipe instead of blue, only because there was blue cheese in another dish I served to friends the evening I served a variety of hors d’oeuvres.





85 thoughts on “Zucchini “Baba Ghanoush”

  1. Mini, this recipe will come in so handy this summer when we’re hopefully covered up with Zucchini. Looks so wonderfully creamy and yummy, wishing we had some local zukes to give it a try.

    • I don’t think I like anything bland! Try this one – the preparation is very different, with roasting of the zucchini, and then the layer of cooked eggy yogurt…

    • I always got marks for not proofreading, and I still don’t take the time to proofread. If I did I’d catch the typos and autocorrects!

  2. I have the book and have been wanting to make this… why I haven’t yet is another question, but your post is a good reminder! Looks amazing!

    • First of all, thank you! Secondly, I think this is prettier because honest to god, puréed eggplant is not pretty!!!

    • Well this recipe actually utilized zucchini, but you could substitute eggplant for sure. I don’t like traditional baba ghanoush because I’m a color person, and puréed eggplant is terribly unattractive to me!

  3. This sounds so good! Especially since I’m not a big fan of chickpeas. And what a great way to use zucchini which we always seem to have way too many of!

  4. The Roquefort is a little unexpected yet intriguing. I have enjoyed this cookbook as well. They’re pushing some very interesting boundaries.

    • Not intriguing enough for me to use it, but worth trying I guess. An Israeli cuisine expert and chef, Ronit, from Tasty Eats, says there’s no blue cheese in that cuisine, and that he was maybe trying to put his own stamp on this dish. I thought he only provided authentic cuisine in his cookbooks. Live and learn. But it’s really good with the goat cheese!

  5. What a fun recipe idea, Mimi! I would never have thought about using zucchini in place of eggplant. Now I want to try that out myself…and I’ve been looking for a good way to use za’atar spice lately, too! Looks delicious!

    • It’s definitely much prettier than puréed eggplant, if you know what i mean! And the different elements are fun.

  6. Hubby is not wild about eggplant, so this is a very nice option for our kitchen…

    not sure I’ll be able to find goat’s milk yogurt, but maybe…

    • Oh, I didn’t. I just used regular. I’ve seen sheep’s yogurt in OKC, but that’s all. But I did use goat cheese!

  7. Dips can be SO good. Many are a little beauty-challenged, but who cares? It’s flavor I’m after, and this looks like it’s packed with it. Good stuff — thanks.

    • Hahahaha! Well that’s easy to do. I probably noticed it because as much as i love eggplant, my husband doesn’t, so this was a perfect substitute. Plus, honestly, traditional baba ghanoush isn’t pretty.

    • There is a recipe for spicy scrambled eggs that is so appealing to me, plus a few others that I’ve bookmarked. It’s a good book.

    • Ottolenghi, and a few others before him, have really brought light to a fabulous cuisine. Thank you!

  8. This looks like a nice combination of ingredients and the length of the list seems manageable (Ottenghi often uses endless ingredients). But I like almost anything that has blue cheese in it :-) I had to giggle at grated Roquefort. If it is real Roquefort, it is so soft there is no way to grate or even crumble it.

    • And according to Ronit, there’s no blue cheese in Israeli cuisine, so obviously this isn’t a traditional dish, either. When I saw “grated,” I assumed it was maybe slightly frozen so it could be grated? Who knows. But this is a lovely and manageable dip!

    • Exactly ! When I had the butter-sautéed pine nuts before, they were on a more traditional hummus, but there was also extra browned butter one top, as one would drizzle olive oil. Amazing.

  9. My husband won’t eat eggplant either, which is a bummer because it’s one of my top 5 favorite foods. This is an excellent substitute for when I make my Middle Eastern spreads. I really must buy Plenty More. Just made a potato and salmon grating by Ottolenghi that was beyond delicious.

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