Muhammara | Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip

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Muhammara is easily one of my favorite dips of all time. My first experience eating it was a few years ago during a research expedition to Jordan. A was interviewing a lovely Syrian lady who had just fled from her war-torn country. She stopped in the middle of our conversation and led me into her kitchen where she had prepared a generous spread of mezze dishes for us to enjoy. Amongst the variety, a plate that particularly stood out to me was a vibrant dip made of roasted red peppers, nutty walnuts, sweet and tangy pomegranate molasses, chili, and spices. I was amazed at how despite growing up with Levantine cuisine, I never knew about the flavorful mezze native to Syria. Long story short, I simply could not leave without getting her recipe. Today, making muhammara allows me to revisit the memory of that kind woman’s gesture. And it is all the more delicious because of it.

I have, of course, slightly tweaked the recipe to make it my own. Traditional muhammara contains cracked wheat or bulgur, as it is known as in the Levant. Western adaptations will sometimes use breadcrumbs in place of the bulgur. Both options make the dip more filling and provide for a texture that holds together. Another alternative is to use no wheat at all, a lighter yet equally delicious choice that I personally prefer. That being said, I recommend going with the option that fits your mood for the occasion.

INGREDIENTS/ SERVES 4 AS A STARTER

4 red bell peppers, seeds removed, cut into strips
3 shallots or 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground all-spice
1 teaspoon salt
good grinding black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 cups walnuts, toasted*
1/3 cup/5-6 tablespoons fresh wholewheat bread crumbs, optional

METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F and place the red pepper onto a roasting tray. Roast for about 30 minutes or until blistered and slightly charred. Cool for at least 10 minutes before blitzing in the food processor.

2. Combine the roasted red pepper, shallots or onion, cumin, all-spice, salt, pepper, chili, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, olive oil, and all expect 3 walnuts in the food processor. Blitz until smooth. Then add breadcrumbs (if adding,) and blitz until the mixture holds together. Spoon the dip into a bowl, form a small well in the middle, and top with the remaining 3 walnuts and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Additional toppings include pomegranate molasses, chili flakes, pomegranate seeds, and chopped parsley. Enjoy right away or chill in the refrigerator until serving. Serve alongside other mezze dishes and bread for dipping.

NOTES

*Toast the walnuts in a 180C/350F oven for 10 minutes before using in the recipe.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. I love your version! I often add some ground almonds in place of wheat or breadcrumbs to mine x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. thelongview says:

    I love your recipes — the vegan ones — and the accompaniment of stories. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sallybr says:

    a favorite with us too!

    I am considering making it on Saturday, as I have a friend coming over, this has her name written all over it

    love the use of molasses…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This looks delicious. I love doing a mezze for dinner parties and I will definitely be adding this dip. Thank you! What a fabulous recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Eha says:

    Great version! Yep, have mostly used bulgur in this but it will be made soonest your recipe next to me! Lighter and tastier! I know 99% of people call this a dip – well, mine ends up on morning toast and as an exciting base for supper wraps and put into any number of cooked dishes for the je ne sais quoi 🙂 !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ceranna says:

    wow that looks amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. sallybr says:

    Should have reported back right away, but I ended up making for our friend’s visit and it was a huge hit!

    omitted the bread crumbs, the texture was perfect without, I did not feel the need to up the carbs – not that there’s anything wrong with carbs, but.. I tend to respect them for the sake of my waistline 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hanady says:

      Hi there lovely lady! Haha I tend to feel the same way about adding carbs to this recipe. It is rather perfect without the bread. That being said, I am so, so pleased that you and your guests enjoyed it! Thank you so much for your lovely post, dear! Have a wonderful rest of the week. 🙂 Xx

      Liked by 1 person

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