Similar to Baba Ghanouj, this traditional Middle Eastern dip is made with zucchinis and mixed with tahini, garlic and yogurt.
As summer approaches and nature's bounty ripens, it's time to think about all the recipes we're going to make with this summer's harvest. One of my favourite summertime vegetables is zucchini, which is very popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. We commonly core them and stuff them with meat, rice and a medley of aromatic spices.
Every time I make stuffed zucchinis, I think about all the foods I can make with the innards, or pulp. Sometimes I make fritters, sometimes I make soup, but I usually resort to one of my favourite recipes - moutabal al koussa, or zucchini tahini dip.
After all that coring, stuffing and cooking of my main zucchini dish, I want something simple and relatively easy to make. This dip is commonly served in the summertime as part of an array of mezze plates -- little dishes of appetizers.
This dip comes together fairly quickly and you only need a few ingredients that you already have in your pantry. Some people like to use a food processor to combine the ingredients. Be careful not to over-process; the texture should be creamy-chunky when done. Adjust the consistency as you go along; some people like it less viscous (thinner and soupier) than others. When you're satisfied with the consistency, transfer it to a shallow bowl and make a few swoops with the back of a spoon. Drizzle it with high-quality olive oil and any garnish you please. Serve it with pita bread, crackers or fresh vegetables. Moutabal also makes a delicious sandwich spread.
Zucchini: This recipe calls for white zucchinis, which are not actually white, but a pale green. For this recipe, we're going to use the innards, the flesh that is leftover from coring zucchini for other Middle Eastern dishes, such as Sheikh al Mahshi or Koussa Mahshi. For a smokier flavour, you may wish to grill the zucchini.
Garlic: We're going to cook the garlic with the zucchini pulp for a delicious and heady garlic flavour.
Yogurt: Use Balkan-style yogurt in any fat percentage you like.
Tahini: Tahini is a paste or sauce made from ground sesame seeds. Quality varies, so make sure to pick one that tastes delicious.
Olive Oil: As with tahini, the quality of the olive oil matters when making Middle Eastern dips and salads. I usually use a high quality, expensive olive oil for this dip, especially as we're going to be drizzling it on the top.
Lemon Juice: Always use freshly-squeezed lemon juice.
This recipe calls for white zucchinis that are found in most grocery stores. White zucchinis are milder in flavour than green ones, but you are free to use whatever kind you find.
Store this dip in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
You can freeze raw or cooked zucchini pulp in a freezer bag for up to three months. I don't recommend freezing the prepared dip itself because the texture of the thawed yogurt will affect the entire dip.
To make this a vegan dip, simply swap out the yogurt for an extra tablespoon of tahini.
Koussa Moutabal - Zucchini Tahini Dip
- zucchini pulp from 12 zucchinis (about three cups)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup yogurt
- 2 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for drizzle
- juice of ½ a lemon
- black pepper
- pine nuts
- pomegranate arils
- Heat zucchini pulp (innards) in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add salt and garlic and stir. The zucchini will release a lot of juice.
- Continue cooking until most of the extra juice has cooked off, about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove innards from heat and strain remaining juices. You can remove as much or as little juice as you want, depending on your desired consistency. Cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, add cooked zucchini pulp and all ingredients and stir with a spoon.
- Transfer dip to a serving dish and drizzle with olive oil and garnish. Serve with pita bread at room temperature.
More dip recipes