Mutabal is a creamy charred eggplant dip that’s popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. Make this recipe today for a delicious snack or appetizer!
A quick internet search comes up with about half a dozen other spellings for this dish, like mutabel and moutabel. These variations in spelling are simply based on the different languages and dialects spoken in the region.
M’tabbal is the Palestinian version, but Mutubal is the true Syrian way to spell it. No matter where it’s from, this eggplant spread is made with the same base of ingredients.
However, much like the spelling differences, each mutubal recipe may also vary slightly depending on where it is being prepared.
Difference between Baba Ganoush and Mutabal
Both dips start with a base of roasted eggplant (smoked aubergine), but the rest of the ingredients differ. Mutabal is fairly simple, typically blending the vegetable with tahini, garlic, and olive oil.
Instead, Baba ganoush includes more complex flavors from onions, tomatoes, pomegranate molasses, fresh herbs and no tahini.
For me, I see a lot of recipes out there called Baba Ganoush that are truly Mutabal!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Note: This is just a partial list of ingredients. For the full ingredient list, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Eggplant - Because this vegetable has a high water content, it should feel heavy for its size. Choose several smaller eggplants instead of one large one, and make sure they are smooth and shiny without any bruises or blemishes.
- Tahini - This is a nut butter made from sesame seeds commonly used in other dips like hummus. You can most often find it in the same section of the grocery store as the peanut butter. Otherwise, here's a great recipe for tahini sauce.
- Yogurt - While this particular mutubal recipe doesn’t include yogurt, plenty of others do. Feel free to add a few tablespoons to make the dip creamier, but choose something on the thicker side like Greek yogurt or Labneh.
- Add heat - If you want to make this Mediterranean eggplant dip spicier, you can easily add chile pepper or some chopped chile peppers when blending.
How to make mutabal
While the dip itself comes together in just a few minutes, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to roast and drain the eggplant first.
Roast the eggplant
- Slice the vegetables in half lengthwise and brush the insides with olive oil.
- Next, place them cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Roast until the skin starts to separate from the flesh, then broil to get a smokey flavor from the charred skins.
Make the dip
- Scoop out the inside of the eggplants and allow them to drain in a colander for about an hour. This helps the dip to have a thicker texture.
- Mix the drained eggplant with the rest of the ingredients, either by hand or with a food processor. The texture should be rustic instead of completely smooth.
Garnish and serve
- Pour the dip into a shallow bowl and add a drizzle of olive oil.
- Then, sprinkle pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs over the top before serving.
- Storage - Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezing - It is possible to freeze the dip, but there may be a slight difference in texture. Let it chill in the refrigerator first, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and then stir or blend again before serving.
- Using a food processor - It helps to pulse the dip instead of using a constant blend to achieve the right texture. Feel free to blend until completely smooth if you’d like, but the flavors are better when there are still some chunks of eggplant.
How to serve mutubal
This Mediterranean eggplant dip is most often served with fresh vegetables and pita. But there are plenty of other ways to use it, and here are just a few:
- With grilled chicken or beef kababs
- Spread on sandwiches and wraps
- As part of a mezze
Mutabal - Charred Eggplant Dip
- 2 lbs eggplant (See Note 1)
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp cumin
- pomegranate seeds
- 10 mint leaves chopped
- 2 tbsp parsley chopped
- ¼ tsp dried mint
- olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the eggplants lengthwise and brush the cut sides lightly with olive oil. Place them cut side down in the pan.
- Roast until the interior is very tender and the skin is loose, about 35 minutes. Turn oven to broil and char skin for that smokey flavor, 6-8 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes to cool.
- Scoop the flesh out of each eggplant, discarding the skins, and place in a colander or sieve over a bowl to drain for 1 hour.
- Place drained eggplant in either a bowl to mix by hand, or a food processor to mix. Add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt and cumin and mix well. If slightly bitter add more salt to taste.
- Serve in a shallow bowl with a drizzle of the olive oil and topped with the pomegranate and herbs. Perfect to eat with vegetables and pita for dipping.
- After roasting the eggplant you should have about 1 pound of cooked flesh for this dip. Season to taste with salt if bitter. If you'd like to roast or smoke the eggplants, preheat the grill to high heat, 450° to 550°. Add the whole eggplants and cook on all sides until softened and roasted, which takes about 25 minutes.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.