Moutabal, Baba Ghanoush and Hummus

Confusion seems to reign over what differentiates moutabel from baba ghanoush. While both are made with grilled eggplant, moutabal is distinctly smokier and has tahini in it. It is also generally more finely processed than baba ganoush, which does not have tahini and incorporates diced vegetables. But you can find both dishes in Lebanon, and, more interestingly, you can now find outstanding fusions of the smoky local favorite with its chunkier, colorful green onion and tomato-laced Greek cousin. Armenian versions often incorporate both tahini and vegetables and sometimes also include cumin.


Hummus, of course, is known all over the world. This thick chickpea puree also features tahini and usually has a bright kick of garlic. In Lebanon, hummus is served in relatively small bowls and sculpted beautifully to allow for the addition of olive oil and garnishes of mint leaves and pomegranate.