Muhammara (Middle Eastern Roasted Red Pepper Dip) Recipe

brings us some of the world's most popular savory foods, including falafel, shawarma, and hummus. Another beloved creation from the region is muhammara. Highly versatile, this spread uses red bell peppers as its main ingredient, along with walnuts and breadcrumbs. It has a distinctly sweet, smoky, and slightly spicy flavor with a hint of tartness from pomegranate molasses. It's rich and complex, with a thick and grainy texture from the ground walnuts.

Wellness coach and recipe developer brings us this recipe and says, "I love to roast red peppers at home and use them as a condiment on sandwiches and veggie burgers. They take on a smoky flavor and have a way of elevating a simple meal into something that tastes restaurant-quality." About her muhammara, specifically, she notes, "This dip is great to put out with toasted pita bread or veggies and is a nice alternative when you want something different from hummus." Read on to learn how to easily whip up this dip, which — warning — you'll want to put on everything!

Gather the ingredients for muhammara (Middle Eastern roasted red pepper dip)

To make this recipe, start in the produce aisle and pick up some red peppers, garlic, and lemon. "Since we'll be removing the skin on the peppers, I don't usually buy organic peppers for this recipe," Hahn remarks. Then grab some walnuts, breadcrumbs, and tomato paste.

The rest of the ingredients you might already have in your condiment and spice cabinet. Check for olive oil, pomegranate molasses, , cumin, salt, and sumac. "The pomegranate molasses gives this dip a sweet and tangy flavor. The consistency is thick, like regular molasses, adding to the thick texture of the dip," Hahn explains.

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat oven to broil.

Step 2: Broil the red peppers

Place bell peppers on a baking sheet or in a cast iron skillet and broil for 20-30 minutes, turning every 6 minutes or so, until blackened on all sides.

Step 3: Cool the peppers

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Step 4: Peel the peppers

Peel and discard the skins, core, and seeds.

Step 5: Slice the peppers

Slice the roasted red peppers into thin strips.

Step 6: Add the ingredients to a food processor

Add the peppers, olive oil, garlic, walnuts, breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, Aleppo chili flakes, cumin, salt, sumac, and lemon juice to a food processor.

Step 7: Blend the mixture

Blend until mostly smooth, with some texture remaining.

Step 8: Serve the muhammara

Top the muhammara with chopped chives, if desired, and serve.

How can I change up the muhammara recipe?

Muhammara traditionally has a bit of a kick from Aleppo pepper. You can control the spiciness by adding more or less of it to suit your heat tolerance. If you don't have Aleppo pepper, red pepper flakes are a good substitute. Want to add other herbs and spices? Fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, or mint would add a refreshing element, whether blended into the dip or added as fresh toppings. Or, garnish your muhammara with pomegranate arils for a burst of flavor and a fun pop of color. They also add a sweet and tart contrast to the dip.

You can also substitute or combine different nuts and seeds with the walnuts to vary the texture and flavor of your muhammara. Pecans, almonds, pine nuts, or pumpkin seeds are all good options. Finally, while roasted red peppers are the star ingredient, you can experiment with other roasted vegetables to add depth of flavor. Roasted eggplant or tomatoes can be great additions. 

What can I eat with muhammara?

Muhammara is a versatile and flavorful dip that pairs well with a variety of foods. It's traditionally served with warm, soft, or toasted pita bread. Tear the pita into pieces and dip it into the muhammara for a classic combination. Slices of toasted bread or baguette can also be used for dipping; the crunchy texture of the bread complements the creamy dip. Choose your favorite crackers, whether they're plain, whole-grain, or seeded, to enjoy on the side.

Muhammara also pairs wonderfully with fresh vegetable sticks, such as cucumber, carrot, celery, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. The dip's bold flavors contrast nicely with the crispness of the vegetables.

The dip can also be used as a spread for like zucchini, eggplant, and asparagus. Enjoy them together in a warm pita pocket or on a grilled panini sandwich. Or, use muhammara as a sauce for shawarma wraps, kebabs, grilled meats, or falafel. It can also be a tasty accompaniment to roasted chicken or turkey, serving as a flavorful condiment.