Muhammarra – Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Spread

Among my arsenal of “secret” ingredients is pomegranate molasses, a Middle Eastern condiment that’s made by boiling pomegranate juice until it becomes thick and syrupy. It has an intriguing, sweet-tart taste and deep, dark treacly consistency.

I saw this recipe for muhammara in the very first issue of Saveur magazine, 16 years ago (!). It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since I first made it but I guess that makes the recipe a true classic in my file.

The premiere issue of Saveur – Summer 1994

The recipe that oringinally appeared in the magazine came from Paula Wolfert’s The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean. I’ve tweaked it a bit over the years, and it’s turned into something I make instead of the ubiquitous hummus when I want to serve a snack or appetizer.

Muhammarra – Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Spread

Yield: makes about 2 cups


  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted and peeled
  • 2 slices rustic bread, torn into pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (found in ethnic, specialty & some grocery stores)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Place peppers, bread, garlic and walnuts in a food processor workbowl and process for about 1 minute, scraping down sides once.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and process until completely smooth, another minute or two. Taste and season with additional salt and lemon juice if needed.


  1. Wow, that looks delicious! I’m always on the lookout for new, healthy dips to try with my daily snack of veggies (plain hummus just gets old sometimes!) and this one is definitely going in my to-try pile. Beautiful photo, too!

  2. The color is stunning!

    Karen- do you roast the peppers yourself or do you think jarred roasted peppers would be fine in this recipe? Thanks.

    • Nupur – I usually roast them myself, but you could easily sub the jarred for convenience. You lose a little of the smoky flavor, but still good!

  3. was looking for a spectacular recipe for my Art Dept meeting and this is just right….sounds fabulous and I am off to get ingredients. Thanks, Lil

  4. Okay, I’m going to blow kisses now. This is something I tried at Mazza in Salt Lake City (a fantastic middle eastern restaurant) and absolutely loved. Your recipe is the first one I’ve seen that sounds like how it’s described on the menu. Definitely bookmarked!

  5. I can’t wait to make this. I love this dip!

  6. So simple and yet so rich in flavor. I will definitely be making this for my family.

  7. Love this dip! will def. be making it soon 🙂

  8. This looks so rich and delicious!

  9. My family LOVED this dip.

  10. I just printed this recipe and plan to make it soon- maybe for my dinner party tomorrow night. I don’t have pomegranate molasses but have everything else on hand. Do you suppose I could use regular molasses? Thanks!

  11. I live in the middle east and have Muhammara often. And I thought it is divine dip.But then I went on vacation to Turkey recently and had this alternate version with same ingredients but a completely different tasting heaven. It had roasted red and green bell pepper chopped finely, with the pom molasses, lemon, salt and pepper and walnuts (chopped as well) with lots of good olive oil. I betrayed Muhammara ever since.

    But here I’m still looking at Muhammara and may be a bit guilty of how I left my beloved behind ;).

    Thanks for confusing me again !! :D:D

  12. I just made it and it is a bit watery-I am serving it Thursday-any suggestions? It is so pretty. What can I do?

    • Tracy, try adding a little bit more nuts and or bread crumbs to your mixture and running through the food processor again – it should thicken up.

  13. Ann McGarrell says:

    Vermont cider jelly (it tastes like gasoline) works beautifully as a substitute for the pomegranate molasses.

  14. Can I use black strapp molassess as a substitute for the pomegranate molasses?

    • Hi Chami – No, I wouldn’t recommend substituting blackstrap molasses. Pomegranate molasses is actually more of a sweet-tart taste, probably more akin to balsamic vinegar than a sweet syrup. If you have some balsamic, or better yet, some balsamic syrup or reduction I’d substitute that in proportion by half the amount pomegranate molasses in the recipe


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