Simple Smoky Eggplant Dip (Moutabal)

4.95 from 37 votes
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This delicious homemade Vegan ‘Moutabal’ eggplant dip is a simple 5-ingredient smoked eggplant dip, perfect for eating with pita bread and for mezze platters

Eggplant (or Aubergine in some countries) is one of my favorite versatile ingredients. They can be stuffed, roasted, grilled, marinated, and now smoked – for a delicious smoked eggplant dip. This eggplant dip, also called Moutabal, is a simple 5-ingredient dip, fairly similar to baba ganoush, but with a few tweaks, and is one of my favorite Persian foods.

Simple Smoky Eggplant Dip ( Moutabal) in a bowl with pita bread

Baba Ganoush Vs Moutabal

There is a lot of confusion about this, especially as even certain restaurants seem to get it wrong. Moutabal is a Middle Eastern/Persian eggplant dip that is very similar in taste to baba ganoush. So, what exactly is the difference between baba ganoush and moutabal?

Well, they both have the base of smoked eggplant, but otherwise, their ingredients can differ quite drastically. Moutabal combines the eggplant with tahini, olive oil, and garlic (and, in some cases, thick yogurt). Meanwhile, baba ganoush contains chopped tomatoes, pomegranate molasses, sometimes walnuts, and plenty of herbs.

Some people say that the main difference between the two is the lack of tahini. However, as you’ll see on my blog, I add tahini to my Baba ganoush, too – that’s the way I’ve grown up doing it. In fact, even Google labels the ingredients of moutabal and baba ganoush as one and the same.

mixing baba ganoush ingredients in a large bowl

No matter which dip that you’re trying to make, the recipe differs wildly all over. This is one of those recipes that vary from family to family, as each grandmother has their unique take on exactly how much of each ingredient to add.

For example, this particular recipe is prepared without the addition of any yogurt. Plus, the aubergines are cooked without any ‘fat,’ and so you’re left with a very light, delicious vegan smoked eggplant dip. 

Why try this Moutabal Eggplant Dip recipe now?

If you’ve already had a chance to check out my Healthy Vegetarian Aubergine Salad or Miso-glazed Aubergines (Nasu Dengaku), then you’ll know that I love eggplant. Not only are they delicious, when prepared correctly, but they are also packed with nutrients and health benefits.

These include aiding brain cell membrane function and blood flow to the brain, reducing LDL cholesterol level, and even aiding heart health. You can read more about the various benefits on my Summer salad recipe!

Simple Smoky Eggplant Dip ( Moutabal) in a bowl with pita bread with parsely and pomegranate

Also, I know that this dip is something that can be found in shops. However, this simple, homemade Moutabal is so much better than any store-bought version you’ll find!

With only a few ingredients, most of which are probably already in your kitchen, and 15 minutes of your time, you can whip up this delicious eggplant dip topped off with pomegranate and parsley!

This eggplant dip is dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, low carb, and extremely delicious! Plus, when ready, it can be served with some pita bread, or as part of a mezze platter with hummus, tabbouleh, Lebanese Spicy Potatoes Batata HarraGluten-free Muhammara Dip (Roasted Red Pepper Dip), or my delicious green falafel, etc.

How To Make The Smoky Eggplant Dip Recipe (Moutabal)

What’s needed:

ingredients for moutabal eggplant dip

  • eggplant (aubergine)
  • tahini
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • garlic clove
  • salt, to taste

To Garnish, optional:

  • pomegranate seeds
  • parsley leaves
  • Pita bread

Read the recipe card for full ingredient amounts, instructions, and notes. 

The steps:

First, prepare the eggplant by cooking it over a medium open flame until its soft and you can pierce it easily with a skewer or knife. This usually takes around 4-5 minutes for each side and is the best way to obtain that delicious smoky flavor. (For a roasted eggplant dip option, check the recipe notes.)

charring eggplant aubergine

Leave the eggplant to cool completely, or cover for 20-30 minutes and then remove the charred skin. It should come off easily. If there are a few bits that are stuck, use bits of tissue paper to help remove them – just don’t rinse the Aubergine underwater, or you’ll remove the smoky flavor and affect the texture.

charred eggplants aubergines

Mash the eggplant flesh in a bowl, using a fork. You can also use a blender or food processor (read my notes for more guidance).

peeled aubergines

Add salt, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.

Finally, top the eggplant mixture with olive oil and sprinkle with parsley and pomegranate seeds (I’ll sometimes add a sprinkle of Middle Eastern Pickled Turnips too). Enjoy with Lebanese Pita bread!

Simple Smoky Eggplant Dip ( Moutabal) in a bowl with pita bread

How To Store The Persian Eggplant Dip

This Moutabal can be served at room temperature or chilled. Keep it fresh within an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments. I’d also really appreciate a recipe rating and any feedback, and feel free to tag me in your recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie.

Vegan 'Moutabal' Aubergine Dip

4.95 from 37 votes
By: Samira
This delicious homemade Vegan 'Moutabal' eggplant dip is a simple 5-ingredient smoked eggplant dip, perfect to eat with bread and/or for party platters
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients 
 

  • 1.1 pound eggplant
  • 1.5 tBsp tahini
  • 1 tBsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt

To Garnish:

Instructions 

  • Prepare the eggplant by cooking it over a medium open flame until its soft, and you can pierce it easily with a skewer or knife. This usually takes around 4-5 minutes for each side and is the best way to obtain that delicious smoky flavor. ( for a roasted eggplant dip option - check the recipe notes)
  • Leave the eggplant to cool completely, or cover with plastic wrap for 20-30 minutes and then remove the charred skin. It should come off easily. If there are a few stuck bits, use bits of tissue paper to help remove them - just don't rinse the aubergine underwater or you'll remove the smoky flavor and affect the texture.
  • Mash the eggplant flesh in a bowl, using a fork. You can also use a blender or food processor (read my notes below for more guidance).
  • Add salt, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.
  • Finally, top the eggplant mixture with olive oil and sprinkle with parsley and pomegranate seeds. Enjoy along with Lebanese Pita bread!
  • To Serve & Store: This Moutabal can be served at room temperature or chilled. Keep it fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can also freeze it in an airtight container for up to a month.

Video

Notes

Recipe Notes & Variations

  • Feel free to adjust the seasonings/ ingredients to your taste. I love the fresh lemony flavor, but you may prefer less. I suggest adding around 3/4 of my suggested amounts of each to begin with and adjusting, as needed. You can even add salt and pepper, rather than just salt.
  • For a richer, creamy eggplant dip then feel free to add yogurt. I suggest either labneh or a tart Turkish yogurt. You could also use a dairy-free yogurt, to keep this recipe vegan. You could even use 50:50 yogurt and sour cream.
  • If you can't use an open flame, then this recipe can be adapted to a roasted eggplant dip. Simply use a knife or fork to pierce the skin of the eggplant in a few places and then bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, at 200C/400F. To get the smoky flavor, finish it off by grilling/broiling the aubergine for a further 5-10 minutes, until the skin is charred.
  • I usually find it unnecessary to salt my eggplant. However, if you've had issues with bitter eggplant previously then you can. Cut the eggplant in half lengthways and then salt liberally. Leave it to sweat for around 30 minutes, then squeeze out the excess liquid and pat off excess salt. 
  • This smoky eggplant dip can be prepared two ways; mashed by hand, or in a blender/ food processor. The first is the way I always prepare it, for a slightly chunkier texture. However, for a smooth 'hummus-like' texture then feel free to blend it all up in a blender. 
Course: Side, Snack
Cuisine: Middle Eastern, Persian
Freezer friendly: 1 Month
Shelf life: 5 Days

Nutrition

Serving: 1side, Calories: 207kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 301mg, Potassium: 679mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 58IU, Vitamin C: 22mg, Calcium: 45mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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24 Comments

  1. I just made this as I saw some plump aubergines in the supermarket! Your recipe was awesome. I bumped up the salt, garlic and added the plant based yoghurt (sugar free alpro works!). Absolutely delicious and lots of fun to make!!! The meat fork worked great for cooking over a gas stove and creates that outlet for the steam to pump through. Thank you for this absolute gem of a recipe!!

  2. 5 stars
    A very delicious dish <3 Thanks a lot for the step by step recipe and all the details, I love that and it really helped me making it (3

      1. I tried your recipe and loved the simplicity of it yet tasteful. Unfortunately, no pomegranate and parsley as we are in quarantine… Thanks!

  3. Learned something new today …even though I’ve been eating & making Baba Ganoush since my early twenties [now 76 ] that it should include chopped tomatoes maybe walnuts ,molasses but not tahini !…….odd cause I learned my how to make from a Lebanese man whose family owned a Lebanese restaurant…… but never did they include above mentioned ingredients nor did he ever NOT include tahini ! Well I will have try it your way & see how I like the difference.

  4. Was so excited to try this, however one of my aubergines exploded in the oven. Any idea why it happened and how to prevent it from happening in the future?

    1. Hi Fathima, I am so sorry to hear that, you need to poke holes in it if you are using the oven method so to allow for the steam to be released. Next time, poke 4 or five holes and it will never explore due to built up pressure. If you are using the stove tops you don’t really need it since the direct flame like I did, it will loosen the skin immediately and so pressure doesn’t build up.

    2. Hey! I would like do it, but with what I can replace the tahini, I didn’t get it in any place. I’m from Perú, Love your recipes!!!