Authentic mutabal salad or moutabal, is an Arabic eggplant dip that's an ultra creamy and flavorful appetizer! It's made using eggplants that are roasted and transformed into this luscious smoky dip. Then garnished with fresh ingredients to brighten it up! This dip is a staple alongside hummus in most Middle Eastern countries, like Lebanon, Syria, and the surrounding area.
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WHAT IS MUTABAL MADE OF?
Mutabal, also known as moutabal or moutabel is made out of roasted or smoked eggplants that can be prepared on a gas stove, in the oven, or on the BBQ. Then mixed in with tahini, olive oil, and yogurt.
Some like to call it Mutabal salad, because traditionally, we dress it up as a salad with various toppings, like tomatoes, sumac, mint, pomegranate seeds, and pine nuts. Going with what you like best!
All you'll need now is your favorite pita to dig into this luscious, wholesome Arabic eggplant dip!
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BABA GHANOUJ AND MUTABAL
What makes it different from Baba ghanouj is the yogurt and the toppings. Baba ghanouj traditionally doesn't contain yogurt, just tahini, lemon, eggplant, and a little bit of oil. Meanwhile, moutabal, traditionally calls for yogurt to become a creamier consistency.
The other main difference is moutabal is made with various toppings, like tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, fresh herbs, etc. to create a more salad version of this dip. Every family has it's own traditional toppings. In my family, we use freshly diced tomatoes, mint, olive oil, and of course a sprinkle of sumac to brighten up the dish.
Just like most authentic Middle Eastern food, this dip starts with healthy ingredients.
- Eggplants. Choose an eggplant that's dark in color and has little to no embellishments. They will need to be washed and dried well prior to use.
- Tahini. Always stir tahini before use! The oil separates and sits at the top of the jar, so stir to make sure the consistency and flavor is spot on. Choose a tahini you know and love, or go with my suggestion.
- Yogurt. This is the magic ingredient that transforms this dip and makes it lusciously creamy. Use a full-fat greek yogurt!
- Fresh lemon juice. It's best to use fresh ingredients to get an authentic Mediterranean way of eating!
- Fresh minced garlic. I prefer to use freshly minced garlic in all my recipes instead of pre-minced options that you can purchase. Simply due to the enhanced flavor and quality!
- Smoked Salt. If you want a smoky flavor but don't have smoked salt, you can use a drop of smoke flavor.
Smoky flavor - If you can't get your hands on smoked salt, I totally get it! You can use liquid smoke flavor, but tread lightly. That stuff is strong! Drop a few dashes then taste, and repeat if necessary. You can also sprinkle smoked paprika to garnish! Traditionally, paprika or sumac is sprinkled to top this dip, so you won't be far off from the authentic recipe!
Garnishes - If you prefer another topping besides what I'm using, then choose from these options.
- Diced cucumber
- Fresh mint leaves
- Pomegranate seeds
- Paprika or Smoked paprika
HOW TO MAKE IT
Roast the eggplants
The most important step of making this authentic dip at home, is roasting the eggplants. This can be done in the oven, on the stove top if you have a gas stove, or on the bbq! Open flame is the best way to create the traditional smoky flavor in the eggplants.
Be careful when handling eggplants after they're been roasted, they will be extremely hot. Carefully cut a line down the middle of each one to cool faster.
Blend, Blend, Blend
Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend until everything is well combined and creamy smooth.
Now the magic happens! Scoop the mutabal into a bowl and garnish with your favorite toppings.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Wash and dry the eggplants and place them on a baking sheet. Pierce them about 6 times with a fork to allow proper venting.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, turning every 15 minutes. They should deflate when cooked properly. Check for doneness to make sure they don't overcook and become dry.
Remove them, cut a slit down the center and allow them to cool completely before handling.
Once cooled, remove the inside and place in a food processor with tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and salt.
Blend for a few minutes, until combined and completely smooth.
Plate in a bowl, top with optional garnishes like olive oil, parsley, and tomatoes. Enjoy with pita bread, or pita chips!
- Roast on a gas stove or on a BBQ if you can. Getting the smoky factor right is a big part of the authentic recipe. When you don't have those options, use the oven roasting method while adding smoke flavor. Many use this easy method when the options are limited.
- Allow time to meld. Place the dip in the fridge for at least an hour to allow the flavors to develop and the dip to get nice and cool.
- Top with fresh ingredients. Whether you use tomatoes or pomegranate, a little red goes a long way to brighten up a mutabal salad!
Serve this mutabal salad with just about any dipping vessel! I go straight to veggies, like cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, carrots, and sugar snap peas. Pita bead and pita chips are a popular option for digging into this Arabic eggplant dip with.
Store in the fridge for about 5-7 days. It's a great dip to have on hand and use alongside lunches or dinners throughout the week.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
This is the authentic way to create this popular arabic eggplant dish! Made the way that many families prepare this dip recipe.
I've included the oven roasting method for the eggplants to make it as easy as possible and an approachable recipe for any cook!
It absolutely is! It's full of healthy ingredients and topped with fresh ingredients to create a salad-like dip! Tahini, yogurt, eggplants, lemon, and garlic are wholesome and nutritious food when added to any dish, let alone make up a dip on their own.
Nope! You don't need to peel eggplants before roasting them since the skin is completely edible! Most recipes like this dip, you need the insultation from the skin to properly roast the eggplant, but don't end up eating the skin itself.
If you prefer to eat the skin, then be sure to wash and dry them well prior to cooking. The larger eggplants might have tougher skin than the younger and smaller eggplants, so be mindful of how to choose the right eggplant.
Eggplants can tend to be bigger if undercooked, so cooking them properly is key! Because they're mostly made up of water, which is about 80% of what makes an eggplant, making sure it evaporates during the cooking process will be the number one secret to a good cooking method. I prefer to roast in a high heat oven, while turning them every 15-20 minutes to ensure they're roasting properly. The end result should be a smooth textured eggplant!
MORE DIP RECIPES
As you probably know by now, Lebanese Baba ghanouj is another eggplant dip that has a couple slight differences from this recipe.
When craving Middle Eastern food but wanting something other than eggplants, turn to this silky smooth Lebanese Hummus recipe. It has a bright and citrusy flavor, unlike most recipes out there!
If you're anything like me, you love seafood! I make this dip whenever I can! It's full of crab and packed with other flavors from the artichokes, cheese, and garlic. Give this Hot Crab Spinach and Artichoke Dip a try!
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Authentic Mutabal (Moutabel Dip)
- 2 whole eggplants
- ¼ cup tahini
- 4 tablespoon full-fat greek yogurt
- 1 whole lemon , squeezed for juice
- 3 cloves garlic , medium-sized, use more if yours are small
- 1 teaspoon smoked salt see note
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Wash and dry the eggplants and place them on a baking sheet. Pierce them about 6 times with a fork to allow proper venting.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes, turning every 15 minutes. They should deflate when cooked properly. Check for doneness to make sure they don't overcook and become dry.
- Remove them, cut a slit down the center and allow them to cool completely before handling.
- Once cooled, remove the inside and place in a food processor with tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and salt.
- Blend for a few minutes, until combined and completely smooth.
- Plate in a bowl, top with optional garnishes like olive oil, parsley, and tomatoes. Enjoy with pita bread.
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