It’s such a cool name – summer squash baba ganoush. But, what is it really? It’s a dip made with eggplant that has an exotic name. Exotic because it’s rooted in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine and each region has its own version of roasted eggplant with various spices. By swapping eggplant with summer squash, the dip becomes lighter and milder opening the door to different flavor options all while preserving the essence of this ancient dish.
Summer squash: When it comes to squash, there’s summer and winter varieties, which are determined by the exterior of the vegetable. Summer squash has a shorter shelf life because the skin is more delicate than the hearty winter squash. The most common summer squash are yellow and zucchini, perfect for this recipe. Save the winter squash like butternut or acorn for soup in cold weather.
Secret ingredient: If you’ve never cooked with smoked paprika, here’s your chance. Paprika is a mild and vibrant spice made from dried sweet red peppers. While paprika has origins in Hungary, smoked paprika is Spanish. Smoked paprika can be found in the spice aisle of most supermarkets and it adds a subtle smoky flavor.
Coarse salt vs. fine salt: There are lots of different types of salt, but when it comes to cooking it really does make a difference to follow this basic principle. Fine salt, literally very small crystals, is better for cooking because it will dissolve faster providing even seasoning. Coarse salt, the larger crystals, is better sprinkled on top of a dish as a finisher. It packs a bigger salty flavor punch, which works because it’s just a sprinkle to finish the dish.
- 1 lb. (1-2) yellow squash or green zucchini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil + more for drizzling
- Salt to taste
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- Handful chopped walnuts (for garnish)
- Olive oil and coarse or flaky salt for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half and place cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Bake until tender and golden, 15 minutes. Cool slightly then, roughly chop.
- In a food processor, add zucchini, garlic, lemon zest and juice, smoked paprika and tahini. Pulse until almost smooth. Season with salt
- Place in a serving dish and top with chopped walnuts, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
- Serve with crackers.