Easy Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip (Muhammara)
This dip, called Muhammara, which means “reddened” in Arabic, can be found throughout the Levant in different versions, but all versions are some combination of red peppers and walnuts with spices. It’s so easy to prepare and is incredibly tasty. The pomegranate molasses is the star of the recipe. It lends an amazing tart sweetness to the dish that complements the caramel flavor of the roasted peppers and the nutty aroma of the walnuts. This dip does not last 5 minutes in our house. The kids love it as an after school snack and it’s always a hit at every party. Try it for yourself!
Below is picture I took last week at the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul. This is one of my absolute favorite places in the city to wander and explore. Look at these beautiful red pepper flakes. I put them in practically everything, but they are essential to this dip and add a small kick. Nothing too hot. It’s just right.
- 3 red bell peppers
- 3/4 cup (50g) walnuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbps pomegranate molasses
- 1/4 cup (50g) breadcrumbs (when I don’t have breadcrumbs on hand, I just tear up the end of a loaf of bread!)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- salt, to taste
- Roast the peppers in the oven. To roast, slice each pepper in half, clean out the seeds, and place face down on an oven tray. Brush with olive oil and place in the oven at 390°F (200°C) for about 30 minutes until the peppers are soft and the skin is wrinkled and lightly charred. Take out of the oven and let cool. Peel and discard the skins.
- Toast the walnuts. This brings out the nutty rich flavor of the nut and is crucial to a great end product. To toast, I usually just put the nuts in a small saucepan over a low heat and shake them around for a few minutes so they don’t burn. And there you have it… crunchy delicious toasty walnuts.
- Combine the roasted peppers and toasted walnuts with all the other ingredients in a food processor and blend until you have a chunky paste. Spread the dip on a plate and garnish with pomegranate seeds and a little drizzle of olive oil. Serve with pita bread or any other bread you enjoy! This is wonderful as part of a mezze table, with hummus, yogurt and thyme spice, and other small plates.
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