Middle Eastern Mutabal Recipe

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Arabs love dips; be it Hummus, Labneh, Muhammara or Mutabbal. In the last decade, these delicious dishes have taken the world by storm and can now also be found in many restaurants and grocery stores in this country.

There are many varieties of Mutabbal (also spelled Moutabal or Mutabal), but eggplant (Mutabbal Batinjan) is the most widely known and popular. Original Middle Eastern eggplant dip has a unique characteristic: its smoky, pleasantly bitter taste.

This characteristic taste is best achieved when you make Mutabbal at home. I’ll show you how in my step-by-step recipe.

What is Mutabbal?

Technically speaking, Mutabbal is not just the name of a single dish. It is more of a generic term for a type of preparation. The basic concept of Mutabbal is to process a seasonal vegetable into a dip with tahini and spices.

Depending on the type of vegetable, it is either boiled or grilled. If you are making eggplant paste, then the eggplant must be grilled or roasted in the oven. This creates the unique, smoky flavor. Other vegetables are naturally stronger in flavor. Beet is another popular variety of Mutabbal (also known as Pink Hummus). These can be roasted or boiled.

In addition to a single vegetable being the main ingredient in Mutabbal, tahini is another basic ingredient in this delicious dip. A lot of families also add yogurt, which makes the dip even creamier. Garlic and salt are also a must.

Because of its savory flavor, Mutabbal is popularly served for lunch or dinner.

Mutabbal vs. Baba Ganoush

There is a lot of confusion between mutabal and baba ganoush! In fact, chances are that you know mutabbal under the name baba ganoush. Many restaurants beyond the Middle East even sell mutabbbal under the name baba ganoush, because that’s a name people are familiar with.

However, mutabbal and baba ganoush are not the same. While their main ingredient is grilled eggplant, the other ingredients are different. We’re talking about two different dishes here.

  • Mutabal: Mutabal is a creamy dip made of grilled eggplant, tahini (sesame paste), yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and salt.
  • Baba Ganoush: Baba Ganoush is also made of grilled eggplant. It’s mixed with finely chopped tomato, walnuts, pomegranate syrup, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Some people also add other vegetables such as finely chopped peppers. In contrast to mutabal, baba ganoush has no tahini or yogurt!

In the Middle East, mutabbal is way more popular than baba ganoush. However, baba ganoush is a delicious alternative to mutabbal, especially if you’re looking for a vegan or nut-free alternative.

Ingredients for Mutabbal Batinjan

You only need a few simple ingredients to make the Middle Eastern eggplant dip.

Here are the ingredients for eggplant Mutabbal:

  • Eggplant
  • Sesame paste (Tahini)
  • Yogurt (optional)
  • Lemon (or lemon juice, or citric acid)
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Olive oil (for garnish)

Note: You can find exact quantities (depending on serving size) in the recipe card at the end of this recipe.

Mutabbal Recipe (Step-by-Step)

1. Cut eggplants

Before you begin, preheat your oven to 250°C (top and bottom heat).

Score the eggplants with a kitchen knife. The cuts should be about 1 cm deep and 1-2 cm long. The orientation doesn’t matter (horizontal/vertical), it doesn’t have to look pretty. The important thing is that you cut the eggplant from all sides.

Important: Do not peel the eggplant or cut off the stalk!

Eggplants for moutabal

2. Roast eggplant

There are several ways to roast an eggplant.

The fastest method is on a gas stove. To do so, place the eggplant on the flame. Roast for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally.

If you don’t have a gas stove, you can also roast the eggplant in the oven. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place baking paper on the sheet and put them on one of the top rails in the oven. Roast for about 45 minutes.

The following applies to both methods: the eggplants are ready when they are soft on the inside (you can easily pierce them with a knife). The eggplants become dark and wrinkled during the roasting process. Thin eggplants are better than large eggplants because they cook faster and are not as bitter.

By the way: if you have already lit your (charcoal) grill, you can also cook the eggplants on the grill.

Roast eggplant

3. Ice bath

Prepare a bowl with ice-cold water. Remove the eggplants from the flame (or the oven) and place them in the water. Leave them in the cold water for a few minutes. Then remove them from the water. Carefully squeeze them with your hands, and let cool for another 5 minutes.

Quench eggplant in water

4. Peel eggplant

At this point you´ll be able to tell whether you’ve done everything right during roasting. If the eggplants are cooked (completely roasted), the skin can easily be removed. If the eggplant is not done, it is very difficult to remove the skin.

First, cut off and remove the stalk. Using your hands or a paring knife, remove the skin of the eggplant. There is nothing wrong if small remnants of the skin remain.

Peel roasted eggplant

5. Dice eggplant

Place eggplant on a cutting board. Finely dice with a good kitchen knife. Then put the diced eggplant in a bowl.

By the way, the original Arabic Mutabbal is not prepared in a blender, but by hand. I strongly recommend you to finely chop the eggplant with a knife. The texture of the Moutabal is more coarse (there are small pieces of eggplant in the Mutabbal), which corresponds to the traditional recipe. If you prefer a very smooth consistency without chunks, you’ll have to use a blender.

Chop eggplant

6. Crush garlic

Peel one clove of garlic, cut off the ends. Crush the garlic clove and add it to the eggplant in the bowl.

Moutabal ingredients

7. Add tahini, yogurt, lemon and salt

Add sesame paste (tahini), salt, lemon juice (or citric acid) and yogurt and mix all ingredients until you have a uniform creamy consistency.

Using yogurt is optional. It makes your Mutabbal a little creamier and gives it a less nutty taste. Be sure to use unsweetened natural yogurt (Greek or Turkish yogurt, otherwise your eggplant spread will be too watery).

Moutabal batinjan with tahini

8. Garnish and serve

Place the Mutabbal in a shallow dish or small plate. Traditionally, the eggplant dip is garnished with plenty of olive oil and sumac. Pomegranate seeds are also a tasty addition, as they complement the smoky flavor of the eggplant wonderfully.

Middle Eastern Mutabal Recipe

What goes well with Mutabbal?

Mutabbal is a savory dip that goes great with hearty dishes. Mutabbal tastes best with grilled meat, fish and vegetables. Of course, homemade pita bread cannot be forgotten.

Mutabbal can be combined with hummus and tabouleh on a colorful mezze plate.

Middle Eastern Mutabal Recipe

Mutabbal (Smoky Eggplant Dip)

Mutabbal is a century-old tradition from the Middle East. The most popular version is Mutabbal Batinjan, a savory eggplant spread with a pleasant smoky taste.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Resting Time 10 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 4 people
Calories 140 kcal


  • 2 eggplants
  • 2 tbsp tahini sesame paste
  • 2 tbsp yogurt unsweeteed, Turkish or Greek yogurt
  • 0.5 lemon or citric acid
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil for garnish


  • If preparing in the oven: preheat the oven to 250°C (top and bottom heat). Score the eggplants on all sides (about 1 cm deep). Do not peel. Do not remove the stalk!
  • Place eggplants on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roast in the oven on a top rack for 45 minutes. If cooking on a gas stove: place eggplants on the flame, roast for 4-5 minutes at a time, turning occasionally.
  • Remove the eggplants from the oven or flame. Place in a bowl of cold water. Leave in water for 5 minutes. Then carefully squeeze with your hands, set aside and let cool for 5 more minutes.
  • Place the eggplants on a cutting board. Remove the stalk. Thinly peel off the skin with your hands or a knife.
  • Finely chop the peeled eggplants with a kitchen knife. Place in a bowl.
  • Peel a clove of garlic, cut off the ends. Crush or press. Add to the eggplant.
  • Add tahini, lemon (or lemon juice) and yogurt (10% unsweetened natural yogurt) and blend all ingredients until a uniform smooth creamy consistency is achieved.
  • Transfer to a shallow bowl or plate and garnish with olive oil. You can also use sumac and pomegranate seeds for garnish.


  • The eggplants for mutabbal are traditionally chopped by hand. Unlike hummus, where chickpeas are blended into a smooth dip. 
  • The nutritional values are rough indications. They can vary according to the exact weight, type and brand of your ingredients.


Calories: 140kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 3gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 17mgPotassium: 561mgFiber: 7gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 61IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Mezze, Mutabbal
Did you make this recipe?Let me know how it was in the comments below or mention welcome2jordan.blog on Instagram.

FAQ & Tips

Answers to frequently asked questions about Mutabbal. Discover facts and tips & tricks for the perfect preparation.

What is Mutabbal?

Mutabbal is a century-old tradition from the Middle East. The basic idea is to use seasonal vegetables with tahini and spices to make a creamy dip. Popular versions are eggplant, beet, carrot, zucchini (courgette), etc.

Difference between Mutabbal vs. Baba Ganoush?

There is a small but subtle difference between Mutabbal and Baba Ganoush. It is especially confusing because both dishes exist in a different style but under the same name in different countries. Middle Eastern Mutabbal is equivalent to Turkish Baba Ganoush. In addition, there is also a Middle Eastern version of Baba Ganoush. Unlike the Turkish Baba Ganoush (= Middle Eastern Mutabbal), Middle Eastern Baba Ganoush contains other vegetables besides eggplant.

How to eat Mutabbal?

Like most Middle Eastern dishes, Mutabbal is traditionally eaten with bread, not silverware.

What goes well with Mutabbal?

Mutabbal is a savory dip that goes great with hearty dishes. Mutabbal tastes best with grilled meat, fish and vegetables. Of course, homemade pita bread cannot be forgotten.

Is Mutabbal healthy?

Yes, Mutabbal is very healthy! The main ingredient eggplant contains valuable vitamins A, B and C, as well as nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, potassium and manganese. Eggplant has a detoxifying effect and strengthens liver function.

Is Mutabbal vegan?

Adding yogurt to Mutabbal is optional. To make vegan mutabbal, use only eggplant, tahini and spices.

About Kitty

Ahlan, I’m Kitty! Welcome2Jordan is the result of my love for Jordan, good food and adventures. Through this blog and my self-published travel guide, I’d like to share information on Jordan and it’s heritage, culture and cuisine.

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