This recipe for mutabal is a lavish combination of roasted eggplant and silky tahini blended together with lemon juice, garlic, and cumin to create a supremely tasty dish. It’s a perfect choice as an appetizer or snack and is incredibly easy to make!
If you are a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, you’re going to love today’s recipe. Mutabal is a charred eggplant dip with an intoxicatingly smoky flavor and silky smooth texture. We use garlic, lemon juice and cumin in this recipe. Some versions include different herbs and spices, or even yogurt. Different regions use alternate spellings too, including m’tabbal, mutabel, or moutabel.
No matter the spelling, mutabal is a delicious way to use eggplant. It can be a tricky ingredient to work with so I’m always excited to find and share new ways of enjoying it. If you are looking for a bit more eggplant inspiration, check out my Zaalouk (Eggplant Appetizer), Spiced Eggplant Stew, or Eggplant Moussaka.
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.
Personally, I often see recipes called baba ganoush that are truly mutabal!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Eggplant – This mild, slightly bitter vegetable forms the tender, creamy base of the recipe. One eggplant will yield about one pound of cooked flesh.
- Garlic – Zesty and pungent, garlic brings the dip to life.
- Lemon Juice – Adds bright, sour, and lively notes.
- Tahini – This satiny smooth puree of sesame seeds gives the dish its exceptional texture. Look for it in the peanut butter aisle.
- Salt – Enhances flavor and offsets the bitterness of the eggplant.
- Cumin – Adds just the right touch of smoky warmth.
- Pomegranate Seeds – Add a burst of sweet, sour, and astringent flavor and a dash of color.
- Mint – Adds a pop of cool, slightly sweet flavor and a lovely splash of color.
- Parsley – Herbaceous and mildly peppery, parsley is more than just a garnish.
- Olive Oil – You can use vegetable or avocado oil instead for roasting the eggplant. However, opt for high-quality olive oil to drizzle over the dip.
Video: Making Mutabbal
Want to see how easy this appetizer is to make? Just watch the recipe video located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
HOW TO MAKE MUTABAL
- Preheat the Oven. Set oven temperature to 450 degrees F and be sure there is a rack in the upper third of the oven. Use parchment paper to line a large, rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
- Prepare the Eggplant. Use a sharp knife to slice the eggplants lengthwise. Brush the interior parts with a light coat of olive oil and place face down on the baking sheet.
- Roast the Eggplant. Place the pan in the oven and roast for about 35 minutes, or until the skin is loose and the interior is quite tender. Change the oven setting to broil and allow 6-8 minutes for the skin to char — this is where the smokey flavor comes from. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.
- Scoop Out the Interior. Remove the flesh from each eggplant and discard the skins. Transfer the flesh to a colander or sieve to drain for 1 hour.
- Mix Ingredients. Once drained, move the eggplant to either a food processor or a bowl (if mixing by hand). Add in the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and cumin and mix thoroughly. If the mixture is slightly bitter, slowly add more salt to taste.
- Serve and Enjoy. Transfer the dip to a shallow bowl for serving. Drizzle with olive oil and top with pomegranate seeds, mint, and parsley. Serve with fresh vegetables and pita chips.
- 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 Mutabal
- With grilled chicken or koobideh kabob
- Spread on sandwiches and wraps
- As part of a mezze table
Is Mutabal the Same as Baba Ganoush?
Both of these classic dips start with a base of roasted eggplant with a few key differences. Mutabal is a fairly simple combination of eggplant, tahini, olive oil, garlic and varying spices. Baba Ganoush, on the other hand, contains no tahini and tends to be more complex, boasting the flavors of pomegranate molasses, tomatoes, onions, and fresh herbs.
Should Mutabal Be Served Hot or Cold?
This versatile eggplant dip is traditionally served cold or at room temperature, but it is perfectly okay to enjoy it while it is still a bit warm. Serve it chilled with some fresh, crisp vegetables and pita bread or slightly warm as a spread on your next sandwich.
Leftovers should definitely be kept cold. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How Do You Get the Bitterness Out of Eggplant?
Nothing gets in the way of the perfect batch of mutabal like a bitter eggplant! If the dip is already mixed up, adding a bit of extra salt will help offset this. There are also a few things you can do before baking your eggplant that will help remove the bitterness. They include:
- Heavily salt the eggplant and allow it to sit for at least one hour before rinsing and baking. Brining produces similar results.
- Soak the eggplant in a milk bath for 30 minutes before baking. This neutralizes the bitterness and makes the flesh creamier.
- Remove the seeds. The seeds are the most bitter part of the eggplant and can easily be scooped out with a spoon.
This recipe post, originally published on Silk Road Recipes October, 2020, was updated with new content, photos and/or video in January, 2023.
Mutabal (Charred Eggplant Dip)
- 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 30 minutes.
- Place drained eggplant in either a bowl to mix by hand, or a food processor to mix. Add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, yogurt (optional), 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. If bitter, season with salt to taste. If you’d like to roast or smoke the eggplants, preheat the grill to high heat, 450° to 550°F. Add the whole eggplants and cook on all sides until softened and roasted, about 25 minutes.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.