Baba ghanouj/M’tabal or Lebanese Aubergine Dip

babaghanoujppBaba ghanouj/ganouj or baba ghanoush/ganoush (apparently meaning “spoiled dad”)ย is a Lebanese mixture of grilled aubergine flesh, olive oil and some other ingredients, such as garlic, lemon juice and sesame paste. It is less known than hummus, but is much much lighter. It is served as a dip with other mezze (a selection of small dishes) or as a side-dish with grilled meats and vegetables. Similar, mashed aubergine-based dishes exist in Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria… In France every aubergine purรฉe is called “caviar d’aubergines” (I know what most of you think…).

Since it is one of the most popular Lebanese dishes, probably every Lebanese home cook has his or her own recipe. I have found mine on the French blog Cuisine libanaise par Sahten, full of Lebanese recipes (and not only). Sahten says that when yogurt is added to baba ghanouj, it is called moutabal and I should probably say I have made m’tabal. On the other hand yogurt exists in many recipes still called baba ghanouj, so I have decided to put both names.

Anyway, the taste is all that counts and here I haven’t been disappointed. This aubergine spread is light, flavoursome and, like lots of aubergine dishes, has a slightly mushroomy taste. If you grill the aubergines over the open flame, baba ghanouj will have a smoky flavour too. Apart from the above typically Lebanese serving ideas, I would advise it as a sandwich or wrap spread, certainly lighter than mayonnaise or butter.

Preparation: 30 minutes – 1 hour (depending on the aubergine preparation method) + about 2 hours in the fridge

Ingredients (serves 3-4 as a dip):

2 medium aubergines

1 tablespoon sesame paste (often called “tahini”)

juice from 1/2 small lemon

2 garlic cloves (crushed)

2 tablespoons natural yogurt


good olive oil


Grill the aubergines in the oven, over the open flame or on a grill until the skin is completely black and burnt.

Take out the flesh, mix it with garlic, lemon juice, sesame paste and salt.

Put into the fridge for about 2 hours.

Serve sprinkled with parsley and a dash of olive oil.

34 Replies to “Baba ghanouj/M’tabal or Lebanese Aubergine Dip”

  1. Ive been wanting to try this one out for a long time as I always see them in restaurants. Thanks for reminding and I will definitely use this recipe.

  2. I LOVE this stuff. Dish of hummus, baba ghanoush, some olives, bit of feta cheese, and a good hunk of bread and I’m in heaven. Maybe some tarama too for a bit of a cultural mish-mash ๐Ÿ™‚ I made this myself a while ago and while it was ok I wasn’t entirely satisfied with it – for one thing I think I added WAY too much garlic, or maybe it was very strong garlic – yours really looks spot on – makes me want to do it all again! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Charles, I am not a big fan of hummus, but all the remaining mini-dishes you cite would also make me happy. By the way, I find the French tarama disgustingly bland and if I have to buy a ready-made, I am crazy for the IKEA brand! An open grilled, buttered sandwich, a thin layer of IKEA tarama, a slice of cucumber and a sprig of dill… Pure delight!

  3. I’m with Charles. A big tossed salad, delightful dips, bread and cheese… (and perhaps a glass of wine), simply heaven. Love the idea of grilling the aubergines and the mushroom overtones are very intriguing…I’ve never made Baba ghanouj before, so I’m very happy to have this tested recipe. Our family uses dips in sandwiches frequently – I find it adds such wonderful flavour to just about everything. Very nice Sissi.

    1. Kelly, when I answered Charles I forgot the glass of wine! Thank you for reminding me this crucial detail!

  4. Baba ghanoush is awesome, your version swimming in olive oil looks really inviting:) I never knew yogurt went into it but why not if it tastes good and makes it creamier. I made baba ghanoush with blue cheese, it was very delicious.

    1. Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies! Actually there isn’t much oil here… I have added about two -three tablespoons to the whole batch, but since I added it at the end, without mixing, it looks as if it was swimming in oil ๐Ÿ™‚ Blue cheese sounds like an excellent idea! I have never tastes blue cheese together with aubergines…

        1. Thank you for this additional information, I think I might be making your recipe very soon. Blue cheese will make it more adapted to Autumn…

  5. I haven’t had Baba Ghanoush for a while, but I did not know what I was eating! Silly huh. It’s not such a common dish that we eat and I didn’t even know that eggplant was the main ingredients! LOL. What a “foodie” am I… This looks delicious Sissi!

    1. Thank you, Nami! I didn’t know it was so famous. I have heard the name dozens of times, but have tried it only recently… so it’s the other way round. (Or maybe you had hummmus? The colour is very similar and I find hummus much more popular in restaurants).

    1. Wow! Another baba ghanouj fan! You should prepare several different baba ghanouj plates and then make a professional tasting (like wines…).

  6. Baba Ghanoush! I’ve always thought that’s a great sounding thing to eat, though I never actually found out how to spell it, which meant I didn’t even know where to begin to Google it and figure out exactly what it is! This looks a lot like humus, though probably with a lot more layers of flavor!

  7. Such a classic recipe too. And it always makes me think of Bend it Like Beckham. Great post. Love all the different names and variations.

  8. I absolutely love this….What a brilliant way to start my tuesday by reading your lovely post….We are having this for dinner tonight – just need to find something to have it with…maybe some pittas again…….love it. beautiful post…informative as always. I didnt know that the name changed when yoghurt was added…aha! learning happens everyday…also, thanks for giving a link to a lebanese food blog…love that cuisine…


    1. Thank you, Shilpa! What a brilliant way to start my afternoon by reading your kind comment ๐Ÿ™‚
      Pittas sound like an excellent idea. Unfortunately the blog is in French, so in case you don’t understand it, I will be very happy to help if you need any translations.

  9. i love baba ghanoush, in fact i love most things with eggplant. I used to hate it as a kid because i watched a cartoon with evil eggplants on cartoon network, but now I love it, even shared a post recently on grilled eggplant with satay peanut sauce yum! I’m with charles, I would be so happy with a spread of dips to munch my way through!

    1. Thank you, Shuhan. A cartoon with evil eggplants does sound scary! And then people are surprised children don’t eat vegetables! Grilled aubergine with satay sauce sounds fantastic. I must check it!

  10. Sissi, I love baba ghanouj, but never tried to make at home…thanks for recipe…looks delicious.
    Hope you are having a great week ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I have never tried mixed with yogurt (but I have heard the “m’tabal” term–so that’s what it means). I also didn’t know what it meant. What a fun post to read. (I love eggplant and baba ghanouj already, so this just puts a fun new twist on it all).

    1. Hi Sara, thank you for passing by (twice or even more… ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Frankly, before I found this recipe on the Lebanese woman’s blog I even didn’t know what baba ghanouj was! (I don’t really know the Lebanese cuisine…).

  12. I love baba ganoush. We have something similar in Romania. Roasted eggplants are mixed with a little bit of olive oil and some finely chopped onion. My grandam just made some earlier this evening. YUM!

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