Muhammara: Roasted Red Pepper Dip

A savory, delicious, roasted red pepper dip that’s packed full of flavor and super simple to prepare.

Muhammara is one of those mezes that at first sight, I had not idea what it was. But as soon as I took a bite, Mmmm, the flavors were so undeniably delicious! I will never forget trying it for the first time.

If it is prepared correctly, then you can taste a light smoky flavor from the roasted red peppers, a tangy burst from the lemon juice and pomegranate molasses, a nutty richness from the toasted walnuts and the perfect balance of spices.

Making Muhammara is super simple even without a food processor. Traditionally it is prepared with a mortar and pestle and all of the ingredients are crushed together. It originates from Aleppo, Syria but in neighboring countries throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East you’ll be likely to find it. In Turkey you can even find it pre-packed in store bought containers (although I do not recommend the store-bought version, just saying).

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This dip perfectly compliments a meze night or you can serve it with veggies and toasted pita bread at your next party. It is naturally vegan so it is perfect for everyone! If you want to make it gluten free, substitute the bread crumbs for more walnuts.

Here’s the recipe:

Muhammara: Roasted Red Pepper Dip

  • 5 small sweet red peppers
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 2-3 TBSP bread crumbs
  • 7 whole walnuts (finely chopped) + a few extra for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp pull biber (sub: Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP pomegranate molasses*
  • fresh mint (optional garnish)

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/392 F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Clean the peppers and dry them thoroughly. Then rub the peppers with 1 TBSP of olive oil.

Allow the peppers to roast until lightly charred (about 30-40 minutes).

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Remove from the oven and place them in a heat safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow the peppers to steam for 30-60 minutes (or until cool enough to handle and the skin peels off easily). Then peel off and discard the skin.

Using a food processor (or even a mortar and pestle for a more authentic consistency), blend together the peeled, roasted red peppers, lemon juice, bread crumbs, pull biber, cumin, sea salt, olive oil and pomegranate molasses.

Once blended, it should still have some texture to it, pour into a bowl, garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and walnuts. Serve immediately or pop it in the fridge and enjoy later.

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Culinary Note: Muhammara tastes amazing as a spread on sandwiches or even in a pasta salad. YUM!

*If you can’t find pomegranate molasses, try substituting raspberry or balsalmic vinegrette. It will not taste the same but this is an alternative pre-ready solution. OR, if you’re willing, you can make your own pomegranate molasses by simmering 1 cup of pure pomegranate juice and 1/4-1/3 cup of sugar (based on your preferred sweetness, but it shouldn’t be too sweet) and simmer, stirring frequently until it forms a thick molasses. 

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