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A delicious smoky-sweet red pepper and walnut spread. Scoop up this 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.
It’s hard to describe how good this dip is.
What is muhammara
Muhammara is a smoky roasted red pepper sauce from Syrian cuisine, although it’s enjoyed throughout the Mediterranean.
It’s thick and savory, a perfect dip to add to an appetizer tray or mezze spread.
Serve it in a bowl along with warm flatbread and some soft, salty cheese like feta or Mexican cotija.
The muhammara has a deeply savory and slightly smoky taste 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.
How to roast a red bell pepper
- 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 bowl and lightly cover to steam as it cools. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and seeds and discard.
Tips and storage:
Look for pomegranate molasses 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 Sauce Recipe
Makes about 3/4 cup
- 1 large red bell pepper (about 9 ounces), roasted and peeled
- ¼ cup (7 g) coarsely crumbled sourdough bread, about 1/2 slice
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ cup (60 g) walnuts, toasted
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Chopped pistachios
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 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.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- 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 bowl and lightly cover to steam as it cools. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and seeds and discard.
- 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.