Y’all, muhammara is delicious! If you haven’t had it, it’s a Middle Eastern Walnut Dip that also has peppers and pomegranate molasses in it.
It makes a great party dip because it is vegan and gluten-free, so almost everyone will be able to enjoy this walnut pepper sauce/spread/dip.
And if you already love muhammara, you may want to try my blood orange muhammara. That stuff is great too!
I received a complimentary copy of Judith Finlayson’s encyclopedic The Chile Pepper Bible. As such, this is a sponsored post, and I’m proud to bring you this delicious recipe for how to make muhammara.
Muhammara or Middle Eastern Walnut Dip
I first encountered muhammara at The Mediterranean Deli in Chapel Hill, NC. I ordered (among other things) an intriguing-looking dip/spread called Muhammara.
All I knew about it was that it contained walnuts and pomegranate molasses.
Pomegranate molasses is concentrated tangy goodness, so I went for it. I was served an enormous scoop of it with pita.
What Does Muhammara Taste Like?
If you’ve not had muhammara before, the version I had at the deli was about the consistency of hummus–maybe just a bit thicker and with a bit more texture.
The flavor is many things at once: bright, mellow, tangy, sharp, sweet, spicy.
Seriously, it is one of the best, most addictive dips I’ve ever eaten.
So, of course, when I saw that one of the recipes I could share from Judith Finlayson’s latest cookbook, The Chile Pepper Bible, was Muhammara, I put any idea I may have entertained of making a dessert right out of my head.
I was all about making this dip for myself.
I am pleased to report that Judith’s version is every bit as more-ish as the Muhammara I enjoyed at Mediterranean Deli. So very delicious.
What Is In Muhammara?
This is not an inexpensive dip to make. Some of the ingredients are inexpensive, but others are a little pricey.
Here’s what you’ll need, and then I’ll break that down by less inexpensive versus more expensive ingredients:
- green onions
- hot chile pepper
- lemon juice
And here are the ingredients that are on the expensive side along with some sourcing recommendations:
- red bell peppers (usually much more expensive than green)
- pine nuts
- pomegranate molasses (you can also make your own pomegranate molasses)
- Aleppo pepper
- extra virgin olive oil: you’ll be using a lot, so make sure it’s of very good quality and also fresh
For a special occasion, I promise this dip will be the surprise hit of your party.
Even if it’s just a party of one.
You. Watching Netflix. Eating your own vat of Muhammara on pita triangles all by yourself.
How to Make Muhammara
I made a couple of slight adjustments to the recipe based on availability of ingredients and my own personal taste, so I’m going to tell you how I changed the base recipe.
- I used a red Fresno chile, because that is what I could find. It has some heat but is probably not as spicy as a finger chile.
- I used the 1/4 teaspoon cayenne rather than Aleppo chile powder because I didn’t have any. (UPDATE: Now I have aleppo chile powder, and let me tell you, it’s worth having!)
- I also added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and for me, the seasoning was just perfect.
And here’s the rundown on how to make this fantastic walnut dip for yourself. It is super easy to make.
- Roast the peppers.
- Peel and seed the peppers and cut into pieces.
- Put all the ingredients except the olive oil into your food processor and process until just a little chunky.
- Add the olive oil and process to combine. You want the dip to be mostly smooth but with some texture from the walnuts.
If you do not want to deal with roasting peppers yourself, you can purchase a jar of roasted red peppers at the grocery store.
Make sure to drain them well before using. Generally speaking, a 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers is the same as 2 peppers.
Tips for Best Flavor
Toast the walnuts and the pinenuts to bring out the flavor in each.
You can toast them in a skillet over medium-high heat or in the oven or toaster oven under the broiler.
If you’re using a skillet, make sure to keep them moving–use a spatula to stir them around–and remove them from the heat–as soon as they start to smell fragrant and nutty.
To make sure the nuts don’t keep cooking from the residual heat of the pan, pour them from the skillet and onto a metal tray to cool completely.
If toasting in the oven or toaster oven, stir them every minute or two, again removing them from the oven/toaster oven once they smell fragrant.
To prevent carry over cooking, dump them onto a metal tray to cool completely.
Use a good quality, fresh extra virgin olive oil.
The flavor will come through, and there’s not much worse than the flavor or rancid oil, so get a new bottle of nice peppery, grassy olive oil to use in this recipe.
And speaking of rancid, make sure your nuts and pine nuts are fresh as well.
To keep any extras from getting squirrely, store any leftover nuts/pine nuts, well wrapped, in the freezer.
If you have any other questions about this recipe or any other, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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I really hope you love this recipe, you guys!
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Thanks, and enjoy!
- 2 red bell peppers, roasted (see Tips, bottom, or store-bought)
- 1 1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted
- 1 1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 4 green onions, (white and a bit of the green parts), cut into chunks
- 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 tbsp sliced red finger chile (or hot chile of your choice)
- 2 tsp Aleppo pepper, (or 1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper)
- 2 tsp ground cumin, (see Tips, bottom)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Peel, seed and cut roasted red peppers into quarters. In food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine roasted red peppers, walnuts, pine nuts, green onions, garlic, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, finger chile, Aleppo pepper, cumin and salt. Pulse until finely chopped, about 15 times, stopping and scraping down the side of the bowl as necessary.
- Add olive oil and pulse until blended and desired consistency is achieved, about 6 times. (You want some texture to remain from the walnuts.)
- Transfer to a small serving bowl. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. If refrigerated, before serving, let stand at room temperature to allow the flavors to bloom, about 20 minutes.
To roast peppers: Brush peppers lightly with oil and place them directly on a hot grill on a preheated barbecue, or arrange them on a baking sheet and place under a preheated broiler. Grill or broil, turning 2 or 3 times, until the skin on all sides is blackened, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof bowl. Cover with a plate and let stand until cool. Using a sharp knife, lift off the skin, reserving any accumulated juices. Discard skin, stems and seeds.
To save time: you can use jarred roasted red peppers, well drained.
For the best flavor, toast and grind cumin seeds yourself.
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Nutrition InformationYield 16 Serving Size 2 Tablespoons
Amount Per Serving Calories 95Total Fat 8.5gSodium 150mgCarbohydrates 4.6gFiber 0.8gSugar 2.5gProtein 1.9g
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