Smoky Eggplant Dip (“Moutabbal”)

July 16

We have apparently reached the age of the insanely busy summer.  I seem to spend my life in the car, shuttling boys from Vacation Bible School, to tennis lessons, and then to baseball camp — and my kids don’t even do travel ball!  Or even more strangely, I find myself alone for whole chunks of time while the boys ride bikes with friends to the pool or the bayou.

My summer schedule has been crazier than usual, too, since ACT (in all their infinite wisdom) added a July test, in addition to the traditional June one.   So for the first time in almost a decade, I have worked for all but a few days. 

Luckily, though, we’ve been in town, and my husband has been working overtime in the garden, too.  The eggplants, in particular, have been amazing this summer.  

And this dip?  The perfect thing to enjoy on a back porch or dock, with a glass of cold white wine for contrast. 


  • 2 large Black Beauty eggplants (may combine with Ichiban) (approximately 2 lbs by weight
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 4 Tablespoons tahini paste
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Greek yogurt (optional)
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • 8-10 basil leaves


Heat oven to 375°F. 

Prick eggplants with a fork and char the skin (on a grill or over a gas flame) until almost no purple remains.  This step is optional, but increases the smoky flavor. 

Brush a foil-lined baking sheet (for easy clean up) with one tablespon of the olive oil.  When the eggplants have cooled, trim the stem and cut in half lengthwise.  Sprinkle the cut side with salt and turn the eggplants cut side down on the baking sheet.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature. 

Using a spoon, scrape out the pulp into the bowl of a food processor (it’s ok if a little of the skin makes it into the food processor). Add tahini, lemon, cayenne, cumin, yogurt (if using), mint, and basil.  Pulse until combined. 

Add more salt and lemon, if needed. 

Garnish with olive oil, paprika, and chopped mint or basil, and serve with pita chips or pita bread cut into wedges. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: