We spent the summer in Italy, partially for work and partially for holiday. Though it seemed we worked most our trip, some work was more welcome than other. I did not think I would be leaving Italy with a vegan mutabbal recipe to share, but I am so happy it turned out that way.
I always try to take a cooking class or course when we travel, and I was lucky enough to find the lovely Simona Zambetti of Vegan Pink Soul.
Before we got cooking, we chatted for a few weeks going back and forth about a menu we could make and I would be able to develop some new skills. I has already done some Italian vegan cooking classes, so I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to learn, so she made some suggestions based off my list of favorite foods.
Lebanese food is hands down my favorite food. I could eat a vegan Lebanese spread every day and never tire of it. Simona curated a handful or recipes she perfected and the one I keep making over and over and over is this super easy vegan mutabbal.
Moutabbal has various spellings, and various ingredients and methods – all valid. For obvious reasons, our recipe today is going to be vegan and also not include vegan yogurts.
Also, if you have ever tried Baba Ganoush and enjoyed it, but never tried Moutabbal, I really think you’ll love this quick and tasty recipe.
With Simona’s permission, I am going to share what I learned from our time together. She has the recipe posted here on her blog as well if you want to peek at the delicious creations she shares.
The Secret to the Smoky Flavor – Quick
I have made various “takes” of mutabbal. I am a huge baba ganoush fan, but I really like this recipe so much that we are making this as the staple companion to my very favorite muhammara cigars.
The smoky flavor of the eggplant doesn’t come from liquid smoke, a grill, or even an open flame roasting the eggplant. It’s so much more simple than that, it feels criminal.
The key, as told by Simona, is to cube the eggplant evenly and let it caramelize well in a fry pan evenly.
Don’t skin the eggplant (obviously clean it!), just cube and evenly pan fry the cubes. This is awesome in summer when you don’t want to use the oven.
Sometimes I do the above step and save the cooked eggplant for the next day and then blend with all the other ingredients right before serving. Sometimes I let is sit overnight and develop more flavor – it’s really up to you, but it’s good to know you can do some steps ahead of time!
How to Serve Vegan Mutabbal
Let me count the ways!
With home made flatbread
Include in a crudité spread
Serve with muhammera cigars (like we do)
Spread it on a sandwich
Serve with falafel
Vegan mutabbal that's quick and easy! This very flavorful spread is diverse and delicious.
- 450 g eggplant
- 1.5 tbsp tahini
- juice ½ lemon
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- evo oil to taste
- salt to taste
1. Cut the eggplant into cubes. Unlike the original recipe, which
involves the use of only the pulp, I cook the whole vegetable, so the
2. Heat a non-stick frying pan, add two tablespoons of
oil and the eggplant’s cubes. Season with salt. Roast them over high
heat covering the pan with a lid and stirring occasionally. It is
important that the cubes are toasted well because it is what will
intensify the smoky flavour.
3. Once cooked, transfer them into a food processor, add all the other ingredients, including two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and blend for a couple of minutes by whipping the Mutabbal cream. Season with salt again if necessary.
4. Serve at room temperature, drizzling some more olive oil on top.
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