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Slather this versatile spread on grilled kebabs, smear it on a sandwich, or serve it as a dip with pita and crudités.
- ¼ cup 1” pieces torn flatbread (such as lavash or pita) plus more whole flatbread for dipping
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper or 1½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes mixed with 1½ tsp. paprika
- 1 tablespoon harissa paste
- 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Aleppo pepper, harissa paste (a spicy North African red chile paste), and pomegranate molasses are available at Middle Eastern markets and kalustyans.com.
Place ¼ cup torn flatbread and ¼ cup water in a small bowl; let sit until bread is softened, 2–3 minutes. Transfer mixture to a food processor. Add walnuts and next 7 ingredients; purée until smooth, adding water by tablespoonfuls if too thick to blend. With machine running, add 2 Tbsp. oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl; garnish with parsley, drizzle with oil, and serve with whole flatbread and crudités.
Nutritional Content1 cup, 2 tablespoons contains:Calories (kcal) 170Fat (g) 13Saturated Fat (g) 1.5Cholesterol (mg) 0Carbohydrates (g) 12Dietary Fiber (g) 2Total Sugars (g) 4Protein (g) 3Sodium (mg) 100Reviews Section
Muhammara (Roasted Bell Pepper Spread with Walnuts and Cashews) Recipe
Sometimes, when I have a minute, I sit back and think about the world of food, how vast it is, and how many rivers, hills, and valleys still remain uncharted to me. I don’t find the idea overwhelming, far from it. I find it encouraging, I find it promising, I find it comforting: as long as I can read books and move around a kitchen, my life will see no shortage of inspiring ideas, happy discoveries, and exciting projects.
Just this week, I received two emails from readers offering their recipes and knowledge, should I want to explore the cuisines of their home countries (Argentinian and Turkish, no less), and a review copy of the most inspiring book I’ve seen in a while, Moro East, in which practically every page now wears a sticky tag on its lapel.
Muhammara is best made with pomegranate molasses: the sweet and acidic syrup bridges the sweetness of the peppers and the bitter edge of the walnuts.
Another example is this muhammara. I don’t remember how the concept fell into my lap — did I read about it on a website? in a book? — but this Middle-Eastern spread, made from roasted bell peppers and walnuts, appealed to me instantly. It was novel to me, I had never tasted it anywhere, but my mind’s taste buds could barely contain their enthusiasm.
Part of the attraction was the fact that muhammara is best made with pomegranate molasses, a popular ingredient in Lebanese and other Mediterranean cuisines that has become rather trendy of late*. Here, this sweet and acidic syrup is called for to bridge the sweetness of the peppers and the bitter edge of the walnuts.
I, like most suggestible cooks who read magazines, have acquired my very own bottle of pomegranate molasses from Heratchian Frères a few months ago, but a little goes a long way, and I’m always looking for different productions to cast them in. This muhammara is, so far, the unchallenged winner, and I have officially named it my new favorite for a make-ahead apéro spread.
The recipe below is the product of my usual recipe research method (gather-combine-tweak-shake-shake-shake), and the fact that I got confused about the amount of nuts to peppers. This forced me first to use cashews in addition to my too short supply of walnuts (this worked so well I will do the same in the future) and then to roast two additional bell peppers** when I realized my spread was too nutty (yes, there is such a thing it came as a surprise to me, too).
As a consequence, my first batch yielded way more muhammara than I needed for that one dinner party, but I froze the leftovers in two little tubs that I whipped back out on two subsequent occasions, with no loss of flavor and to just as much acclaim, so I wholeheartedly recommend that modus operandi. One sleeps so much more soundly with an emergency dose of muhammara in the freezer.
The most typical way of serving muhammara is with pitas or lavash, but it is just as good on sliced baguette, and it is an absolute delight plopped onto thickish slices of cucumber.
* Pomegranate molasses, sometimes called pomegranate syrup (mélasse de grenade or mélasse de pomme de grenade in French), can be found in Middle-Eastern stores (get some zaatar while you’re at it). In France, it is most often imported from Lebanon. If you can’t find it, The Cook’s Thesaurus suggests various substitutions for this recipe, balsamic vinegar seems the most appropriate.
** On the subject of bell peppers, I’d like to share my latest epiphany. You know how slimy roasted bell peppers are, and how annoying it is to remove the little seeds once they’re embedded in the slime? Well, what I do now is deseed the peppers before roasting — I know, how revolutionary. While the peppers are still raw, I carve all around the stem, pull it out, and discard the seeds that come with it. Then I hold the peppers upside down, and slap them a few times on the sides so the remaining seeds fall out (plus, the sound is fun). The bell peppers, thus decapitated and gutted, are then submitted to my regular method for roasting bell peppers in the oven.
Smear this on a plate and top with fried chicken breast and serve with cold apple salad.
Made this appetizer for an intimate dinner party. The flavor was very garlicky, so be forewarned. I served with water crackers, but feel it would be best with grilled pita. The consistency was a bit thick but I added less EVOO as several other reviewers suggested. I think I would add a bit more next go around. I also doubled the recipe and was happy that I did because the end result wasn't very much. Overall, a fantastic alternative to hummus. Will make again, now if I could only work on the pronunciation.
This is a favorite appetizer and an oft-requested component of my Christmas Eve tapas meal. Just wanted to comment on the accompanying photo, for those making this for the first time and wondering why theirs doesn't resemble the one in the photo. The muhammara that I make using this recipe appears different in texture and color from the one shown. The recipe says to "process until smooth," so my version is a lot smoother than the one in the photo, and less "liquidy," for lack of a better word, especially once it has sat overnight and the bread crumbs have absorbed the moisture. (It does get even better the next day. and the next.) There's no mention of what garnish was used for this muhammara, and I can't think of which one would complement this unique flavor, although I can see why one might be inclined to add a sprinkle of green to the red, as shown. I'm sure the taste is great however you process the muhammara, but don't fret if yours doesn't look like theirs.
This would be really thin with 3/4 c. of olive oil. I used 1/4 & it was still thinner than I wanted. I guess it would be best to go slowly with the oil & keep checking the consistency until it's where you want it to be. The flavor is excellent.
My favorite dip/spread! And it's a great way to use the pomegranate molasses that I always keep on hand (it's fantastic as a glaze for chicken). Today, I made this using fresh Jimmy Nardello sweet red peppers that I roasted and deseeded. So good as a dip to accompany hummus, pita and fresh veg. Lovely as a sandwich spread, and is amazing as a pesto-like sauce for penne with sliced, sautéed chicken apple sausage and broccoli raab. The picture really doesn't look like the actual finished product, though.
Having returned from a trip to Jordan recently, I ate something similar and wanted to have it again! This is delicious. I made it with fresh peppers and thought it worth the effort!
This is a staple for sharing at parties and get-togethers! I use fresh, organic peppers, lots of acid, GF Tapioca bread and plenty of pomegranate molasses, which *I keep* in the pantry ! It's fantastic stuff that is super concentrated in flavour. I've tried doing it with other high-end vinegars, but it's not quite the same. I got a lot of exposure to variations of this recipe while living in Southern California, so I do it by taste, though this is a good-ish guideline recipe. I make a 4-6x batch at a time, because it goes that fast! I prep it in a large Le Creuset vessel with an immersion blender, because that large a batch can be taxing on a regular food processor blade or blender. Goes well with: * Crudites * Seeded Crackers (Mary's Gone Crackers) * Rice Cakes * As a condiment/spread on sammies Super versatile and satiating!
Love, love, love, this. Roasted 3 peppers and only used 1/4c oil. Other than that pretty much followed the recipe. I am addicted!
Outstanding! I did make a few changes, using jarred roasted peppers. I substituted crackers for the bread, and omitted the pom-molasses(who keeps this stuff in their cupboard anyway. ). Delicious.
I had previously used roasted peppers but it's more time efficient and just as tasty to use the jar peppers well drained. I added a little agave syrup, a bit of panko breadcrumbs. Fabulous.
How to Make It
- Arrange the red bell peppers on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Roast the peppers at 425 degrees F until soft, well cooked and the skin is charred.
- In a preparation bowl, cool the roasted bell peppers and peel the skin and remove the seeds.
- Slice the roasted peppers into strips and place in a food processor.
- Process roasted bell peppers with bread crumbs, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, red pepper flakes (if using, see note), cumin and grated garlic until slightly coarse.
- Add finely chopped walnuts, Turkish red pepper paste (if using, see note), olive oil, some salt and process to combine well.
- Transfer the muhammara dip into a serving bowl and drizzle olive oil and garnish with chopped mint or chives and walnuts.
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 to 2 chipotles, rinsed of any sauce clinging, stemmed, seeded
- 1 1/3 Cup walnuts
- 1/4 small onion
- 2/3 Cups toasted breadcrumbs or toasted panko
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 Cup olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 Teaspoon paprika
- 1 Teaspoon cumin
- Coarse salt and pepper
- Pita wedges, for serving
If you love this recipe.
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The traditional dish is thought to be originally from Aleppo, Syria, but is now used across the region. Here, we bring all of those flavors to this salad with a modern twist over a bed of arugula. Try it with our Shish Tawook or grilled halloumi slices.
- ⅓ cup unsalted walnuts
- ½ tsp coriander seeds
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses or balsamic reduction
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 5 cups arugula
- Preheat a greased grill to medium-high.
- Prepare dressing: Heat a small skillet on medium. Add walnuts and toast for 2 to 3 minutes. Add coriander seeds for 1 minute, until slightly brown. Add cumin for an additional 1 minute, turn off heat and transfer to a mortar and pestle. Grind all ingredients together coarsely, keeping walnut pieces around ¼ inch in size. (Alternatively, add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse 5 to 6 times.)
- In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, pomegranate molasses and salt. Drizzle in oil slowly as you whisk, until combined and thickened. Whisk in the spice-walnut mixture to oil mixture. Set aside.
- Prepare veggies: Stack tomatoes and bell pepper on skewers. Add skewers to grill and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until grill marked but not yet tender. Set aside to cool. (NOTE: You are looking for a hint of smoky flavor but want to keep them somewhat crisp.)
- Spread arugula on a serving platter and place skewers on top. (Or, remove tomatoes and peppers from skewers and scatter over the arugula.) Drizzle dressing over salad.
Don’t skip the step of toasting the spices before making the dressing. Heating them imparts a smoky flavor that helps round out the dish.
- Serving Size 1/4 of recipe
- Calories 259
- Carbohydrate Content 9 g
- Cholesterol Content 0 mg
- Fat Content 24 g
- Fiber Content 3 g
- Protein Content 3 g
- Saturated Fat Content 3 g
- Sodium Content 493 mg
- Sugar Content 5 g
- Monounsaturated Fat Content 15 g
- Polyunsaturated Fat Content 6 g
Muhammara - Recipes
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Our Community Table: Muhammara
Kitchen greetings, dear readers. I have found a wonderful recipe that I am excited to share with you, today. Muhammara! Muhammara is popular and much-loved dish across the Middle East. As is the case with recipes of this type, many regions claim it as their own, and there exist almost as many variations of the recipe as there are people who prepare it.
I have crossed paths with this recipe several times over the years, but it wasn’t until I saw it in Sumac, Recipes and Stories from Syria, by Anas Atassi, that I became inspired enough to try it. In the author’s notes, Atassi describes his love for muhammara (pronounced with an assertive, guttural “h” and distinct pronunciations of the 3 “a’s) as all-encompassing and lets us in on his secret to making a truly spectacular muhammara.
It’s the red pepper paste, according to Atassi, made with slow-roasted fresh and dried red peppers that concentrate the pepper’s flavors to Mediterranean umami perfection. However, if you are unable to find this very flavorful-but-not-spicy red pepper paste, do not despair--a good quality tomato paste will achieve a very close approximation. Atassi also suggests mixing muhammara and hummus together…something I would not have thought to do on my own—but am now thinking I might give a try!
While the muhammara recipe, itself, looked wonderful, it was the photograph that really captured my interest. Vibrant color, gorgeous texture, a simplistic elegance of a dish that visually beckons with the promise of flavor and a gathering of friends around a sharing table.
This recipe is an unexpectedly delicious find. And beautiful. It works as part of a mezze, as a dip on its own with breads, crackers, and vegetables, or as a pesto or condiment for grilled fish or meats. It is a perfect addition to a luxe little picnic and makes a lovely hostess gift when packaged in an attractive glass jar.
One final note…when trying a recipe that is unfamiliar, I often seek other examples to learn how similar (or different) the chef’s interpretations are. I did that here, finding examples from chefs I know, and ones I do not, and in doing so, wound up cobbling together an entirely new variation that includes all the things I “found” along the way that I thought would make this dish “sing” for me. These “additions” appear in one of two ways. You will see them listed (in parentheses) or listed as “optional.” If you disregard all those, what you will have is the original recipe as it appears in the book.
Well, dear readers, this concludes another delectable entry in our community cooking journal. If you have recipes you would like to talk about and share, we would love to help make that happen. As you know, we are always interested in hearing about your cooking stories and adventures, here at Our Community Table.
5 ½ oz roasted red peppers from a jar, rinsed and patted dry or (3 large, red bell peppers, roasted, seeded, and peeled)
1 teaspoon Turkish red pepper paste or (tomato paste)
1 hot red chili pepper or (1 Tablespoon dried Aleppo chili flakes)
2/3 cup toasted walnut pieces
(1 small clove of garlic, peeled and crushed)
1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses
Salt to taste (I used ½ teaspoon sea salt)
1 ½ teaspoons cumin (optional)
Place all ingredients together in a food processor. Blend until well combined but do not make this too smooth. This dip should be somewhat smooth and thick but should still retain a little bit of texture from the walnuts.
Once blended, taste and adjust flavors to your liking.
Refrigerate until ready to use
To serve, bring to room temperature and place in a shallow bowl or onto a plate or small platter. Garnish with additional olive oil, pomegranate molasses, chopped parsley and a few additional walnut pieces.
Can be served with pita or other breads and crackers as well as vegetable crudités. Can also be used as a condiment alongside grilled fish or meats/kabobs.
How to Make Muhammara
Follow these simple steps to make a delicious muhammara:
- Turn the oven broiler on and place an oven rack in the upper 1/3 of the oven.
- Toast the walnuts in a small skillet over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
- When the oven is hot, place the whole red peppers on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes or until charred. Halfway through roasting them, flip them over so both sides are charred.
- Remove the peppers from the oven and immediately place them in a paper bag or large Tupperware and seal them for 10 minutes, so their steam is trapped. This will loosen the skin and make it easier to peel them.
- Add the 1 cup walnuts, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, salt, and pepper flakes to a food processor. Pulse several times to combine.
- Remove red peppers one at a time and remove stem and seeds from each pepper and then gently peel off the skin and discard.
- Add the peppers to the food processor and blitz together till the mixture is smooth. Add the bread crumbs and pulse till combined. If the mixture is too loose, add a bit more bread crumbs and if it&rsquos too thick, add a little more olive oil and lemon juice.
- Spread the muhammara in a serving bowl. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses, garnish with pomegranate seeds, and 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts.
- Add walnuts to your still-warm sauté pan & toast over medium heat
- Stir with a wooden spoon often for about 5-7 minutes, until your walnuts are lightly browned, glossy and the walnuts are fragrant.
- In a food processor, pulse the roasted garlic, toasted breadcrumbs & salt until finely chopped.
- Add the warm walnuts to the processor bowl as soon as they are fragrant.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in the food processor, pulsing to get the muhammara ingredients moving and incorporated.
- Turn the food processor on for several minutes.
- To and scrape down the bowl several times during the puree to make sure the ingredients are combined evenly.
- Taste for salt, lemon, seasonings and adjust to your taste.
Traditional muhammara is pretty spicy, but you can adjust the heat to your liking.
This recipe for Muhammara is not gluten-free, due to the panko bread crumbs, but a gluten free bread crumb could easily be substituted in.
Can I make my own pomegranate syrup?
Pomegranate syrup is easy to make with just 2 ingredients. Pomegranate juice and sugar. Not every grocery store has pomegranate syrup but it is pretty simple to make at home.
What can I use instead of pomegranate molasses?
If you don&rsquot have pomegranate molasses, an easy substitution would be a balsamic vinegar reduction.
Do I have to use jarred roasted red peppers for Muhammara?
If you don&rsquot have a favorite jarred roasted red pepper, you can always roast your own. I can show you how to roast peppers and it is easier than you think! I roasted 4 medium red bell peppers for this recipe.
How do you serve Muhammara?
Serve at room temperature or chilled, with warmed flatbread or pita for dipping. It would also make a spectacular sandwich filling with spicy greens & feta cheese spread, & I bet it would be amazing with grilled chicken in a warm pita.
This dip's flavor is sweet-smoky-garlicky, and the walnuts lend their richness to the thick paste. This version, while not strictly traditional, gets a bit of complexity from the chipotle chile. Pomegranate molasses is pomegranate juice that has been reduced to a thick syrup. It’s worth the trip to pick up a small bottle at an Arab grocer, because once you taste the muhammara, you’ll want to make it again and again. —Robin Mather, Chicago Tribune
This recipe is by Robin Mather and was originally published in the Chicago Tribune.