Many people associate autumn with pumpkins: pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, cupcakes, cookies and so much more. I love all of those things, but when I think of autumn, I think of pumpkin mutabbal! Yes, I know, you are thinking mutabbal with pumpkin, not aubergine? Yes, and it is absolutely amazing!
The word mutabbal originates from the Arabic word "tabbala" which means to season, and that is basically what you do with this dish. While the most popular version of mutabbal is made with fire roasted aubergine, many other seasonal vegetables are used, such as pumpkin, butternut squash, or courgettes. While the vegetables can differ, the additions, or seasonings, are pretty much the same: tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Many people, including myself, like to add yogurt to our mutabbal because it gives it a velvety texture, and I also love to add fresh chillies to give it a nice kick, especially when I am making the pumpkin version. It wakes up the flavours and adds a nice heat.
Since you can't really fire roast a pumpkin or any type of squash or gourd, they are instead drizzled with some olive oil and salt and roasted in the oven. This adds a wonderful depth of flavour and caramelisation. Once that is done, all that is left to do is throw everything into a blender and blitz until nice and smooth. Each person likes their mutabbal spiced differently, with some liking it more garlicy or tangy, so make sure you taste and adjust the seasoning after blending.
While mutabbal is usually part of a mezze or appetiser spread, it is also the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats and makes for a nice and filling snack. It is traditionally eaten with warm pitta bread, but I like to make these super flavourful zaatar pitta chips that are just perfect with the pumpkin. Just stick them in the oven with the pumpkin and they are ready in minutes!
Try this recipe with your favourite autumn gourd and add this recipe to the fall foods you look forward to!
- 2 kg pumpkin (or butternut squash/gourd)
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Salt and pepper
- 6 cloves garlic
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ – ⅓ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup tahini paste
- ½ – ¾ cup yogurt
- Fresh chopped chillies, to taste
- Salt to taste
- Pomegranate seeds and parsley to garnish
- 2 large pitta bread
- Olive oil for brushing
- ½ cup zaatar
- Cut the pumpkin, with the skin on, into medium sized slices. Place on a baking tray and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with some salt and roast on 180 C until the flesh is completely soft and cooked through.
- To make the pitta chips, cut the pitta bread into 8 triangles. Separate the two sides and lay on a baking sheet. Brush each triangle with some olive oil and then sprinkle with zaatar. Bake at 180 C for about 5 minutes or until crispy and browned.
- Once the pumpkin is cooked through, leave to cool about 10 minutes, or until you can handle it. Scoop the flesh into a blender, food processor or a large bowl safe to use an immersion blender with.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until nice and smooth.
- Taste and adjust seasoning and consistency to your liking.
- Spoon into a serving platter, and top with pomegranate seeds and parsley. You can also add some more olive oil on top if you like. Enjoy!
Note: If you don't have a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, you can easily use a fork or potato masher to mix. Just make sure you mash your garlic into a paste before adding.