Dips and spreads are always a welcome addition to savoury offerings for the holidays, and Muhammara, a Middle Eastern roasted red pepper and walnut spread, is no exception.
That Time when Pomegranate Molasses Caught My Eye …
When I was at the market one day in late 2013, I saw a bottle of pomegranate molasses and my hand immediately reached out for it. It’s one of those concoctions that I’d been wanting to try for ages. Mindful, however, of my full-to-capacity cupboards, I left the bottle there, telling myself that I’d buy it when I had a recipe that called for it.
As these things are wont to go, only days later I saw a photo on Pinterest of a dip I’d never heard of before: Muhammara. Its texture, colour and the ingredient list that included pomegranate molasses caught my attention, so I headed to the all-knowing land of Google where I discovered many variations of this Middle Eastern paste which can be used as a dip or a spread.
Muhammara: Roasted Red Peppers, Walnuts and More
Essentially, the base of Muhammara is a blend of roasted red peppers, walnuts, breadcrumbs and olive oil. These ingredients are common to the vast majority of the recipes I found, although, oddly enough, the one that first drew me in was the only one that didn’t include red peppers. Pomegranate molasses was fairly common, as well as some variant of chili-based spices for heat. I drew from this research to cobble together a version with a balance of flavourings pleasing to my palate.
Rich and creamy roasted red pepper, the nubbly texture of walnuts, tangy sweetness from pomegranate molasses and the stealthy low heat of chili flakes and paprika makes this a dip that is sure to be both versatile and popular. Try to make it a day ahead and refrigerate it so the flavours have a chance to develop further before serving. I enjoy the complex flavour of Muhammara on toasted pita chips.
As for that pomegranate molasses, it was an instant favourite from my first taste and has cropped up in more recipes since then.
- 1 roasted red pepper, cut into about 1-inch squares (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup small walnut pieces
- 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs, dried or lightly toasted (I made mine from pita bread)
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp salt
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender, and pulse until well combined. The red peppers will be smooth, but the walnuts should still have a pleasing nubbly texture. (If you like more texture, blend together the other ingredients and then add the walnuts, pulsing until you achieve the desired end state.) Taste and adjust the seasonings to suit your palate.
Looking for More Dips and Spreads?
There’s nothing like a tasty dip or spread for toast, quick breads or chips. Why not try Almond Butter, Rhubarb Orange Butter or Cinnamon-Scented Maple Butter?
First Published 2013 12 03
Republished 2021 12 14
It looks like super-luxury chutney and I really like the look of those pitta things!
Ooh, super-luxury – I like the sound of that! I confess, I bought the pita chips at the market. I was looking for plain but all I could find was garlic chips with rosemary. The garlic was laid on with a heavy hand indeed, but they were still good with the muhammara. I think this is a nice dip to have in your repertoire for the holidays or for when company drops by.
Such original and delicious recipes, I wished I had the time to try them all 🙂
Wel bedankt, Marie! We can’t try them all, but maybe a few! 😊
This dip looks wonderful, I’ve filed the recipe in my “to try” box. I adore the flavour of pomegranate molasses. It marries well with fresh tomatoes!
I’ll have to try the pomegranate molasses with tomatoes. Another new ingredient to explore! Let me know how it goes when you’ve tried the recipe.
oh my. This looks absolutely beautiful and sounds delicious! I’ve never heard the name of this dish, either. So happy to know about it now! Beautiful photos as well.
Thank you, Mimi! I find something like this and then I wonder how it was I never heard of it before … one of the wonderful things about cooking is that I’m always discovering new culinary horizons. I’m glad you liked the photos!
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[…] Over the past few years I’ve been exploring Middle Eastern flavour profiles with recipes like the spice blend za’atar, chicken with sumac, za’atar and lemon, and this beef stew with couscous, not to mention the roasted red pepper and walnut dip muhammara. […]
[…] always fun to serve a dish that may be new to some guests, like Middle Eastern muhammara. Featuring creamy roasted red pepper, the nubbly texture of walnuts and sweet tang of pomegranate […]
Muhammara is something that I’ve not heard of before but it certainly does sound like something I would enjoy trying. I hope you have a lovely Christmas Day,
I’m so behind on the blog these days, but thanks for your comment and Christmas greetings. And here we are, looking forward to spring already!