Faye Levy’s Cauliflower Baba Ghanoush with roasted cauliflower and tahini spread instead of eggplant.

Recipe Corner: Faye and Yakir Levy’s Cauliflower Baba Ghanoush


(Photos and recipe are courtesy of Faye and Yakir Levy)

Faye Levy is the author of cookbooks in three languages (English, Hebrew and French) — 23 so far, including the award-winning Faye Levy’s International Vegetable Cookbook. Some of her cookbooks are in Hebrew and French, plus many articles for other publications. And this is only a small part of her achievements. Her most recent titles are Healthy Cooking for the Jewish Home, Feast from the Mideast and 1,000 Jewish Recipes. Some of her other books are the award-winning Classic Cooking Techniques, Chocolate Sensations, and the three-volume Fresh from France series. Faye is like a culinary detective, analyzing food from many cultures and putting her creative spin on them.

The Levys have written articles for the Los Angeles Times and the Jerusalem Post. Faye has written for other major newspapers throughout the United States, and for Gourmet Magazine, Bon Appetit, Chocolatier and Vegetarian Times. Faye studied cooking in Paris at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne. Initially she signed up for six weeks, but being in Paris was so much fun, the Levys figured they would stay a little longer so that Faye could continue studying. Six years later, after Faye had earned the position of La Varenne’s cookbook editor, they finally left this stopover on their trip from Israel to the United States.

Baba ghanoush is similar to hummus, but it calls for grilled or roasted eggplant instead of chickpeas, and tahini, garlic and fresh lemon juice. It is healthy, gluten-free, vegan, all natural and delicious. Popular in Arab countries throughout the Middle East, baba ghanoush is also a common appetizer on the Sephardic Jewish table. In Israel, it is known as eggplant salad, or Salat Hatzilim. It is sometimes made with roasted bell peppers, and often mayonnaise is added for richness. Middle Eastern dips and salads like baba ghanoush and hummus are subject to taste. Some families prefer “a little more of this” or “a little less of that.” When in doubt, taste and adjust seasonings according to your palate.

The Levys’ variation of baba ghanoush is made with roasted cauliflower, which goes well with the same flavors, and can be used as a dip or a spread. “Our Cauliflower Baba Ghanoush is a unique twist on the Eastern-Mediterranean classic eggplant dish that will delight your guests and family. Serve it with fresh pita bread or other flatbread and, if you like, with sliced Persian cucumbers and tomatoes. Like natural peanut butter, tahini paste separates on standing and should be stirred until smooth before you use it,” adds Faye.

Faye and her husband, writing and photography partner, Yakir Levy – Photo courtesy of: Melissa’s Produce


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1 medium-large cauliflower (about 2 1/4pounds/1 kilo)

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Salt to taste

5 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste), stirred until blended

5 tablespoons strained freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste

About 7 tablespoons water

2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

Freshly ground pepper (optional)

Chopped Italian parsley (for garnish)

Aleppo pepper, Turkish pepper flakes or other coarsely ground semi-hot red pepper (for sprinkling)

Pita bread or other flatbread

Yield: Makes 2 generous cups, about 4 to 6 appetizer servings.


Preheat oven to 375F. Cut off cauliflower ribs and leaves. Turn cauliflower upside down and cut florets off from center stem. (You can use ribs, leaves and stem for soup.) Divide cauliflower in medium florets. You should have about 1 3/4 pounds or about 10 cups florets.

Line a roasting pan with foil, if desired. Put cauliflower florets in roasting pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast for 20 minutes. Turn florets over using tongs, drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast until just tender, about 15 more minutes. Remove 4 florets and reserve for garnish. Cover pan (or fold foil over remaining florets to cover them), and roast florets until very tender, about 10 more minutes. Remove cauliflower from pan and cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, make tahini sauce: Spoon tahini paste into a small bowl. Gradually stir in lemon juice and 4 tablespoons water. Add garlic and mix well. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste. Mixture should have consistency of thick mayonnaise.

Transfer cauliflower to a food processor and blend to a puree. Add tahini sauce, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons water and process mixture until well blended. Add 1 more tablespoon water, if necessary, so spread will not be dry. Transfer to a bowl.

Taste and add more salt, more lemon juice and pepper, if desired. Cover and refrigerate for 2 or 3 hours to blend flavors. Break reserved cauliflower florets into smaller pieces and reserve for garnish.

At serving time, spread cauliflower mixture in a thick layer on a serving plate. With the back of a spoon, make a cavity in the center. Garnish with parsley and with reserved small cauliflower florets and drizzle center with olive oil. Sprinkle cauliflower mixture lightly with Aleppo pepper. Serve with fresh pita bread or other flatbread.

*The Levys love learning about culinary cultures by traveling, by visiting festivals, and by shopping at ethnic markets. Follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/faye.levy.9 and on Twitter @Foodfaye. Their author page is http://www.jpost.com/Author/Faye-Levy. Also see Faye’s recipe for Cauliflower Latkes: https://www.razzledazzlerecipes.com/cooking/cauliflower-latkes.htm

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ORDER TODAY: Faye Levy’s International Vegetable Cookbook: Over 300 Sensational Recipes from Argentina to Zaire and Artichokes to Zucchini Hardcover – October 1, 1993.

Go to: https://www.amazon.com/Faye-Levys-International-Vegetable-Cookbook/dp/0446517194#:~:text=OK-,Faye%20Levy’s%20International%20Vegetable%20Cookbook%3A%20Over%20300%20Sensational%20Recipes%20from,Zucchini%20Hardcover%20%E2%80%93%20October%201%2C%201993

For more cookbooks, go to: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=faye+levy&i=stripbooks&language=en_US&linkCode=sl2&linkId=ae61d9b11e7045a03b52c28d0fc4cfac&tag=wwwshepaused4-20&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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