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Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip (Muhammara) {Secret Recipe Club}

by Jeanette on April 30, 2012 · 34 Comments
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Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)

Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)

I am a huge fan of good sauces when it comes to preparing quick and easy dinners.  I have a collection of saucesthat I turn to when I want to add some zip to simply baked/grilled chicken or fish. This week, I finally got around to making a sauce I have been eyeing for a while – Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip (Muhammara), a Middle Eastern sauce or dip made with peppers and nuts. Muhammara originates from Aleppo, Syria, and is traditionally eaten as a dip with bread, as a spread for toast, and as a sauce for kebabs, grilled meats and fish.

I’ve made my friend France’s Spanish romesco sauce, which is similar to muhammara but uses almonds, paprika and vinegar versus walnuts, pine nuts and pomegranate molasses. I’ve also made a few Georgian dips (Spinach Walnut and Eggplant Walnut) using walnuts, vinegar and other vegetables. A bottle of pomegranate molasses has been sitting in my pantry begging to be opened, so I was happy to break it open for this occasion.

I cheated a bit when I made this recipe. My initial intention was to roast the peppers at home, but when I spotted some roasted bell peppers in the deli section that were freshly made and inexpensive, I calculated it to be about the same cost, so I went with convenience. Of course, if you want to roast your own peppers, it is easy to do. Just check out the original recipe.

Today is “reveal day” for Group D of the Secret Recipe Club, created by Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin, and hosted by April of Angel Foods Kitchen. So far, everything I’ve tried for the Secret Recipe Club has come out really well, and I’ve had the opportunity to delve deeper into some blogs more intimately and get to know the person behind the blog. This club has grown so rapidly that Amanda has created four different groups that have a different reveal day during each month. The idea behind the Secret Recipe Club is to give bloggers the chance to try each other’s recipes without the other bloggers knowing it until everyone posts their results.

This month, I was assigned to Yasmeen of Wandering Spice. Let me introduce you to Yasmeen. Yasmeen’s fascination with food started when she was a young girl in Washington DC, standing on a chair beside her mom, “peering over the counter and interfering with her cooking of the day.” She went to graduate school in Amsterdam, fell in love with an Australian Man and now lives in Melbourne. Yasmeen’s philosophy is that “the best meals are imperfect, fun and inspired by life.” She has an interest in discovering the history behind food. Her recipe index is fascinating to me, full of Middle Eastern family heirloom dishes, along with other Eastern-inspired sweets and savories she has tasted during my travels. I have earmarked her Buckwheat Crepes, Sesame Sauce (Tarator) and Baba Ghannoush (eggplant dip) to try.

Baked Tilapia Fish with Muhammara spread on top

Baked Tilapia Fish with Muhammara served with Quinoa Pilaf and Broccoli

I could eat Muhammara by the spoonful by itself.  In fact, I will confess that I ate a few spoonfuls before spreading it on top of  some baked tilapia for my family’s dinner. Served with some Quinoa Pilaf and Steamed Broccoli with Toasted Garlic Olive Oil, dinner was ready in 30 minutes. I also packed a small container of this Muhammara to go along with the Creamy Roasted Cauliflower and Chestnut Soup I made for my friend with cancer. I thought it would make an otherwise plain looking soup pop with color and stimulate the tastebuds a bit. This version is gluten-free as I simply substituted bread ends from gluten-free bread that I ground up in the food processor.

Roasted Cauliflower and Chestnut Soup with Muhammara Swirled In

Roasted Cauliflower and Chestnut Soup with Muhammara Swirled In

Muhammara contains lots of anticancer ingredients:

  • Red bell peppers – contains lycopene along with vitamin C and fiber which may offer protection against colon, cervical, bladder, prostate and pancreatic cancers, and a whole host of antioxidants that help absorb cancer-causing free radicals
  • Chili peppers – contains capsaicin which may help kill prostate cancer cells and prevent stomach cancer
  • Garlic – reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, especially cancers of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Walnuts – may help reduce prostate cancer risk
  • Lemon juice – contains lots of vitamin C which helps the immune system stay strong
  • Olive oil – contains vitamin E and monounsaturated fats which lowers colon cancer rates

Please stop by Wandering Spice and check out Yasmeen’s recipes…and while you’re there, congratulate her…she’s getting married in a few months. Congratulations Yasmeen!

5 from 1 reviews
Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip (Muhammara)
Prep time
Total time
This is delicious served on top of broiled or grilled fish, or served as a dip with crudites.
  • 4 roasted red bell peppers
  • 1-2 red chili peppers, chopped, seeds removed
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup fresh gluten-free bread crumbs (I used ends from a loaf of bread)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place roasted red peppers, chili peppers, walnuts, pine nuts, garlic, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, bread crumbs and olive oil in a food processor. Process until mostly smooth, retaining some texture (like pesto).
I used one Thai chili pepper because that's what I had on hand. Depending on what chili pepper you use, you may want to use more or less.

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  1. What a fabulous dip, Jeanette! Great idea to serve it over fish, too.

  2. Great pic for SRC! The dip looks fantastic!

  3. This looks really delicious! I’ve had muhummara before from the grocery, but I’ve always wanted to make it myself. This looks like an awesome recipe! :)

  4. This sounds really yummy!!!

  5. Wow! This looks amazing!! Great SRC post =)

  6. Now that is a really interesting dip! I never would have though to use roasted red peppers for it. We are on quite a veggie kick so I will have to make this for my hubby!!! Thanks for a great SRC post!!!

  7. I’m visiting from Group D, and love what you did this month! Beautiful (AND delicious, I’m sure)! I want this on fish. Right now.

  8. Absolutely great! I’ve never had this sauce/dip, and remember placing a recipe on my computer a while ago.

    Yours go to Pinterest right away!

  9. I love the ingredient combination. I should keep this recipe to try sometime. Great pick :-)

  10. I LOVE this! And I love your idea of having a collection of sauces to make easy weeknight dinners that are fabulous tasting! Thank you for sharing!!!

  11. Hi Jeanette! Thank you for so beautifully recreating my Muhammara. Yours looks delicious and very authentic!
    I appreciate your lovely introduction of my site to your readers. It’s my first time here and I’m thrilled to have been paired up for Secret Recipe Club. So many of your recipes to discover :)

  12. I love this dip! There is a middle eastern restaurant by my house that serves it with baby romaine leaves to scoop up the dip.

  13. Lovely post! Tagging to make later. Maybe for the next party.

  14. This is one of my favorite dishes that uses pomegranate molasses. I love the idea of swirling muhammara into soup to perk it up; I’m going to try that!

  15. That dip/sauce looks so good! I have made the Spanish version several times with almonds and smoked paprika…I look forward to trying this version too since I am a huge fan of walnuts!

  16. What a gorgeous dip Jeanette – I love that you’ve incorporated it into different dishes as well. The combination of roasted red pepper and walnut sounds heavenly and bursting with nutrients…

  17. Gretchen and Kelly – I think you all would love this dip. It’s so easy to make and goes with lots of different foods.

  18. What a stunning dip Jeanette! It sounds so versatile too. Great SRC post!

  19. I made this over the weekend to serve with lamb. Delicious. We used to eat for breakfast spread over a thick slice of bread when I was kid, in Turkey.
    It really goes with every meat I tried.

  20. this sounds wonderful + I love all the healthy aspects of it. i bet her baba ghanoush is great too – i might have to give that a try!

  21. deliciousness!!! i make something similar with toasted cashews and roasted bell peppers! had no idea that there was an actual dip out there!

  22. charlotte says:

    This dip is so so so good! try adding smoked paprika or chipoltli peppers for a smoky flavour!

  23. I LOVE muhammara! Anything with pomegranate molasses, actually, tends to rock my socks but there’s something about the smoky almost buttery roasted peppers paired with the tangy pom that is so addictive!

  24. I just know I’d be able to eat this by the spoonful. The pomegranate molasses sounds like it would add a beautiful depth to this simple sauce.

  25. we have a similar din in Romania, well, probably inherited from the Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean countries.
    Can’t wait to see some peppers at the farmers market to make your version.

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Isn’t it interesting how similar recipes can be from different countries. Would love to see your recipe from Romania.

  26. Looks fabulous! I really can’t wait to make this! I so rarely use walnuts, but they have such wonderful flavor. Gonna have to change that 😉

  27. Jeanette Jeanette says:

    Brian – although I had used walnuts in basil pesto before, only recently have I started using it in sauces and other dips. It all started with a Georgian dinner I had in January and I have been fascinating ever since with the use of ground walnuts in all different types of dishes.

  28. I love Muhammara. Although the recipe I use has a teaspoon of cumin in it which works well.
    I have become a bit of a pomegranate molasses pusher amongst my friends. It is my new favourite ingredient :)

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Des – cumin sounds like a nice addition, I’ll have to try that next time. Thanks for sharing.

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