Scoop up this delicious smoky-sweet Middle Eastern dip with warm flatbread, or serve on a mezze platter.
I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit over the years, and it’s turned into something I make regularly. Muhammara is a perfect sauce to add to an appetizer tray or mezze spread, along with warm flatbread and some soft, salty cheese like feta or Mexican cotija.
It’s hard to describe how good this dip is. It has a deeply savory and slightly smoky character from the roasted pepper, and it’s creamy, rich, and ever so sweet and spicy at the same time.
Paula writes that its name is the Arabic word for “brick-colored” — the exact color of the finished dish. Roasted sweet red bell pepper contributes part of that color, along with paprika.
The “secret” ingredient in this dip is pomegranate molasses, a Middle Eastern condiment that’s made by boiling down pomegranate juice until it becomes thick and syrupy. It has an intriguing, sweet-sour taste and a deep, dark treacly consistency.
Pomegranate molasses is definitely something you’ll want to add to your pantry. It keeps for a long time in the refrigerator, and aside from using it for this recipe, you can add it to salad dressings, marinades and as a glaze for barbecued meats. Shopping tip: look for brands that have no added ingredients other than 100 percent pomegranate juice.
The dip will keep in the fridge for up to a week (if you don’t devour it all at once). If you make muhammara and end up loving it, double up the recipe next time and use it a sauce for fish, a sandwich spread or tasty addition to a healthy grain bowl.
muhammara: turkish roasted red pepper and walnut dip
Yield 3/4 cup
- To roast a red bell pepper, place under a broiler, on a hot preheated grill or directly on a gas flame on the stovetop. Roast the pepper, rotating it as it turns black on all sides. Place the pepper in a covered container to steam as it cools, then peel off the skin and discard the seeds.
- Substitute 3/4 cup jarred, fire-roasted red peppers (drained) in place of the freshly roasted pepper.
- Toast walnuts for 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
- 1 large red bell pepper, roasted and peeled
- 1/4 cup coarsely crumbled sourdough bread (about 1/2 slice)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Chopped pistachios, extra-virgin olive oil and paprika, for garnish (optional)
- Place the roasted red pepper, bread, garlic and walnuts in a food processor work bowl and process for about 1 minute, scraping down sides once halfway.
- Add the remaining ingredients and process until completely smooth, another minute or two. Taste and season with additional salt and lemon juice if needed.
- Garnish with pistachios, a swirl of olive oil and a dusting of paprika, if desired.
Cuisine middle eastern