One of my favorite ‘Cheap and Goo-ood’ places to eat around Chicago is Pita Inn. Pita Inn has Mediterranean food like shish kabobs, shawarma, and hummus served just the way I like it, good, fast, and easy on the wallet. I can’t say I’ve ever gotten something I wasn’t happy with there, but lately my usual order is the same 3 things – a falafel sandwich, tamarind juice on ice, and a small order of baba ghanoush – all for around $7. (And if you can make it there for lunch on the weekdays you can score an even better deal with their Business Lunch Special.)

If you haven’t had baba ghanoush, it’s in the same vein as hummus but is instead made with eggplant and is less dense and has more of a smoky taste. Sometimes, the craving for some baba hits but it’s so out of the way to go for just that one thing. That was the case this past weekend, so why not try it to make it myself? After some quick googling, the ingredient list came down to eggplants, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and salt. That’s it. And luckily I had most of that at home already. Now when it comes to savory food, I don’t really follow recipes, I just let my taste buds lead the way so if you’d like to try it out yourself you can start out with the proportions below. What’s great about baba ghanoush is that there’s not a lot of ingredients so you can easily tailor it to your tastes.

Baba Ghanoush
(8 servings)

2-3 Medium Eggplants
4-5 Tbsp Tahini
2-3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
2 Tsp Salt
Small Handful of Parsley, Chopped (Flat leaf preferable, but I used curly)
Optional – Greek Yogurt

1. Prick the eggplants with a fork all over the surface. Place either on a direct flame of a gas burner or grill, turning the eggplant with tongs as the skin chars. You can also place it under a broiler on high (which is what I did). You want the eggplants black and shriveled. Like, really shriveled. Don’t be scared! Just let it go. I broiled mine for 30 mins but probably should have let it go at least another 10 minutes. Once it’s shriveled, you can get a smokier flavor by letting it go longer under the broiler.

2. Remove from the oven and let cool.

3. Once the eggplants have cooled, split them open and spoon out the flesh. This step is really messy and not pretty looking but forge ahead! Place in a food processor and combine with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. If you like a chunkier baba, you can mix by hand.

4. Season to taste. You can also add cumin or chili if you’d like.

5. Let cool and serve with pita.

For Pita Inn style baba, add some greek yogurt. You’ll have a creamier taste and texture and it will hold up better in the refrigerator. Note the serving size! I neglected this when recipe researching and am now on Day 5 of the Baba Fest. Oy.