Muhammara is a roasted red pepper walnut dip that is perfect for dipping with vegetables or served with toasted pita bread. It is also delicious served on chicken and fish, or stirred into soups as a garnish.
I first made Muhammara, a Middle Eastern roasted red pepper walnut dip four years ago. 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 several dips before using nuts, including Spanish romesco sauce, which is similar to muhammara but uses almonds, paprika and vinegar, and a few Georgian dips (Spinach Walnut and Eggplant Walnut).
You can roast your own peppers or buy jarred ones. I like grilling mine because of the smoky flavor the peppers take on.
Muhammara has a creamy feel to it from the walnuts and pine nuts, and is a combination of sweet, tart and smoky flavors from the roasted red peppers, pomegranate molasses and Aleppo pepper flakes.
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.
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 – reduces 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
Muhammara keeps for about a week in the refrigerator.
- 3 roasted red bell peppers
- 1 tablespoon Aleppo chili flakes
- ¼ cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 cup bread crumbs (I used bread ends)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus extra for serving
- sea salt
- Place roasted red peppers, chili flakes, walnuts, pine nuts, garlic, pomegranate molasses, cumin, lemon juice, bread crumbs and olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until combined, but still a little chunky. If you like it smooth, you can continue to process. Season to taste with salt.
- Transfer to serving dish, use a spoon to make a swirl and drizzle with a little more olive oil.