Weekly Recipes

Easy Spicy Eggplant Dip (Mutabbal)

Mutabbal recipe

Easy Spicy Eggplant Dip, also called Mutabbal, is a Middle Eastern dish similar to baba ganoush but with yoghurt. This version has chiles added for extra spiciness.

I fell in love with baba ganoush several decades ago when I lived in Los Angeles. My absolute favorite restaurant was a Middle Eastern take-out place named Zankou Chicken. It served amazing rotisserie chickens with a tub of killer garlic spread, a bunch of spicy strange radish things, all the pita bread you want, and a tub of fabulous baba ganoush. Zankou Chicken is still there with maybe a dozen locations, and when I just went to their website, I discovered that what I’d been so crazy about was not exactly baba ganoush, but mutabbal. All these years I’ve been calling it baba ganoush because you never find mutabbal on a Middle Eastern menu here in Denver …. but you do find baba ganoush.

So what’s the difference between them? Of course, in different countries there are variations on both, but the simplest  explanation is that mutabbal has yoghurt in it and baba ganoush does not. Otherwise they are the same. Yes, I’ve been researching this. It’s important to me; if you take me to a Middle Eastern restaurant, you can bet that I’ll order the baba ganoush. Every time.

Do you like hummus? Here’s another interesting tidbit – fundamentally, hummus and baba ganoush are the same except that hummus is made with garbanzo beans and baba ganoush is made with roasted eggplant. The rest of the ingredients are the same.

I’ve published recipes using Bush’s Hummus Made Easy before. Dump a packet in a food processor with a can of garbanzo beans and you get instant spectacular hummus. I’ll never make hummus from scratch again. So … I saw the obvious – a way to make spectacular instant baba ganoush and instant mutabbal. Add green chiles and you get spicy baba ganoush and spicy mutabbal. I will make the many, many times.

I used hot green chiles for this. A warning: as the mutabbal sits, the flavors blend and it gets spicier. So go a little light on the hot chiles. This is also great with mild or medium.

I hope you love this as much as I do. Sometimes I don’t bother with the pita, I just eat the mutabbal straight.

Easy Spicy Eggplant Dip (Mutabbal)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 2 cups
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 packet Classic Bush's Best Hummus Made Easy
  • 1 tbsp hot green chiles (or mild/medium to taste)
  • ¼ cup plain whole milk Greek yoghurt
  • ⅛ tsp liquid smoke
  • Chipotle powder or Smoked Paprika to sprinkle on top for garnish
  • pita bread or naan for dipping
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Peel eggplant and slice into about ½-inch thick rounds. Lightly brush or spray both sides with olive oil and place on a large baking dish or cookie sheet. (See notes.)
  3. Roast for 30 minutes or until soft, getting mushy.
  4. Dump eggplant with remaining ingredients into a food processor and process to desired consistency.
  5. Put in a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  6. To serve, drizzle with a bit of olive oil (if desired) and sprinkle with chipotle powder or smoked paprika
  7. Serve with pita bread, bread of your choice, or chips.
* This works fine without putting olive oil on the eggplant before roasting; I just prefer the consistency when I use olive oil. What I do is take a plastic bag, dump the peeled eggplant slices in, pour the olive oil in, and shake the bag to coat the eggplant. Then put eggplant on the baking dish and roast.
** If you don't have liquid smoke, this would also be good with about ¼ tsp chipotle or smoked paprika.
*** This dish is traditionally served with the olive oil drizzled on top. Personally, I usually prefer it without.


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