Muhammara

published Nov 13, 2021
Muhammara Recipe

This Middle Eastern dip, which originated in Aleppo, Syria, features roasted red peppers, walnuts, and tangy pomegranate molasses.

Serves4 to 6

Makes1 1/2 cups

Prep15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook24 minutes to 26 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Paola + Murray; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

Punchy, vibrant muhammara is unlike any other dip around. The Middle Eastern dip made from walnuts and roasted red peppers is smoky, sweet, tangy, nutty, and spicy all at once. It’s often part of a meze platter, but it can hold its own, too. Serve it with torn flatbread, pita chips, or vegetable crudité and it’s guaranteed to be a memorable snack or appetizer.

What Is Muhammara?

Muhammara (pronounced m’ha-mara) translates to “reddened” or “reddish” in English. The red-hued dip originates from Aleppo, Syria, although it’s found in a number of Levantine and Turkish cuisines. It’s a blended mix of roasted red peppers, walnuts, breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, and Aleppo pepper flakes, which are fruity, pleasantly spicy chile flakes. It’s typically a rustic, chunky dip, rather than a totally smooth one, and other ingredients like garlic, cumin, cayenne, lemon juice, and even a pinch of sugar can be included depending on the recipe.

Credit: Photo: Paola + Murray; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

What Does Muhammara Taste Like? 

What makes muhammara truly stand out is the inclusion of pomegranate molasses and Aleppo pepper flakes. The pomegranate molasses lends sweet-tart character, while the Aleppo pepper flakes provide an earthy, just-spicy-enough note to each bite. Combine these ingredients with smoky roasted red peppers, nutty walnuts, and savory garlic and cumin, and you have a dip that tastes totally unique. It’s ultra-savory and balanced with tangy sweetness and just a little bit of spice.

What Is Muhammara Eaten With? 

Muhammara is most typically served with flatbread, pita bread, or pita chips, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy it.

  • Serve it alongside vegetable crudité, such as carrot sticks, endive cups, and cucumber slices.
  • Spoon it over chicken, steak, or fish as a flavorful, texture-rich condiment.
  • Spread a thin layer in a serving bowl before piling on roasted cauliflower to jazz up the vegetable side. You’ll scoop up a little muhammara with each serving.
  • Slather it onto toast, then sprinkle the toast with feta for a quick and easy lunch or snack.

Muhammara Recipe

This Middle Eastern dip, which originated in Aleppo, Syria, features roasted red peppers, walnuts, and tangy pomegranate molasses.

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 24 minutes to 26 minutes

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    medium red bell peppers (about 1 pound total), or 1 1/2 cups drained jarred roasted red peppers

  • 1/2 cup

    walnuts

  • 1 clove

    garlic

  • 1/2

    small lemon

  • 1/2 cup

    fresh bread crumbs

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons

    pomegranate molasses, plus more for serving

  • 1 teaspoon

    Aleppo pepper flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. If using fresh peppers, turn 2 gas burners to the highest setting and set 1 medium red bell pepper directly on each flame. Use a pair of tongs to turn the pepper occasionally until the skin is completely blackened, about 8 minutes. (If you don’t have a gas stove, roast them in the broiler or on the grill, step-by-step directions here.) Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or a pot lid. Let the peppers steam and cool while you toast the walnuts.

  2. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

  3. Spread 1/2 cup walnuts out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, tossing halfway through, until toasted and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until coarsely chopped, about 10 (1-second) pulses. Transfer 2 teaspoons chopped walnuts to a small bowl and reserve for garnish.

  4. Prepare the following, adding each to the food processor as you complete it: Remove and discard the skin of the peppers with your fingers (it’s okay if a few blackened bits of the skin remain). Remove and discard the stem and seeds, then tear the peppers into large strips (1 1/2 cups). (If using jarred peppers, tear 1 1/2 cups into large strips.) Smash and peel 1 garlic clove. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 small lemon until you have 1 teaspoon juice.

  5. Add 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar. Pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowls as needed, until the muhammara is uniform and mostly smooth but still a bit rustic and chunky, about 25 (1-second) pulses. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses and the reserved walnuts.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Let the muhammara come to room temperature before serving.