Muhammara is a summertime staple! This easy roasted red pepper dip is perfect for wraps, sandwiches, dipping, and more!
This recipe was first published in June 2013 | As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Muhammara is one of my favorite dips! It’s used in a similar way that you would use hummus—as a dip, a spread, or a sandwich filling. But it has such a unique flavor—bright roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, and a secret ingredient—pomegranate molasses. Doesn’t that sound decadent? We keep it on regular rotation in our house. The best part is that it comes together in just minutes. I use store bought jarred peppers and it makes it SO easy! Just pop your ingredients in the food processor, give it a whirl, and you’re ready to dip!
My “discovery” of Muhammara
Muhammara is a traditional middle eastern food, and you can often find it in restaurants. I was first introduced to it at a now closed restaurant in Seattle (I miss you, Golden Beetle). Then I had a similar dip in Spain, Romanesco. My friend Myra, who you have heard me talk about many times before, brought this roasted red pepper dip to a barbeque we had last summer. I loved it so much, so I asked her to share the recipe, and then I tinkered with it until it suited my tastes!
What is Muhammara?
Muhammara is a roasted red pepper dip that originated in Syria. I don’t even like bell peppers—goes back to an incident with a bell pepper in the 7th grade, long story—and I love this dip! The dip is sweet, with a little bit of kick and tang from the seasonings and sun dried tomatoes. Traditional recipes use Aleppo pepper, as in Aleppo, Syria. If you are able to find it near to you, it’s a great addition. But you can omit it, or use just a pinch of red pepper flakes—aleppo pepper is only half as spicy as regular red pepper flakes.
What do you eat Muhammara with?
Muhammara is amazing served with fresh warm bread, like my Moroccan flatbread. I love to serve this roasted red pepper dip with two other favorites—hummus and olive tapenade. They make a perfect appetizer trio. It’s also great in a pita pocket sandwich with some fresh veggies for crunch, like lettuce and cucumber! I also like spreading it on a tortilla and making a roll up for kid lunches! It’s perfect for summertime BBQs, and bonus: no need to heat up your kitchen to make it! I love to bring Muhammara to parties—that gorgeous red color is a conversation starter!
Nuts…and a Nut free option!
You may have noted that muhammara traditionally calls for walnuts. We’ve been nut free for many years due to Jonny’s allergies, but he recently cleared both walnuts and almonds! When we were completely avoiding tree nuts I substituted roasted pumpkin seeds for the walnuts, and it was delicious! If you need to avoid nuts, that’s what I would suggest. And if you do use walnuts, and serve this to guests, be sure to put a note saying that it contains nuts—once they are blended in it’s hard to notice them! In fact, that’s why I like to garnish with a few nuts on top—it gives a clue to what is inside!
What ingredients do you need to make Muhammara?
The key ingredient to Muhammara is pomegranate molasses! While it used to be found only in specialty shops, it is now much more widely available. My local Whole Foods carries it, as does Amazon. It’s totally worth buying a bottle—it has a very unique, slightly sweet flavor, and is VERY different than traditional molasses. Do not try to substitute it with that! Panko bread crumbs are also important. I tried skipping them altogether and the texture lacked the creaminess that the breadcrumbs give. I highly recommend them—choose gluten free if needed! Sun dried tomatoes add a certain zing to the dip, though I suppose they could be omitted if you don’t have any on hand. And for the roasted red peppers I like the convenience of store bought, though you could definitely pop a few on the grill next time you’re grilling tofu!
Let’s make Roasted Red Pepper dip!
Are you ready to make Muhammara? Grab your food processor and give it a whirl! You’re just minutes away from my favorite dip! Be sure to leave me a comment below letting me know how you like it!
- 2-3 roasted red peppers (I like the store bought jarred peppers for convenience, see notes for roasting yourself)
- 2/3 cup walnut pieces
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs (choose gluten free if needed)
- ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes (I prefer the ones packed in oil for great consistency in the dip)
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon aleppo pepper (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses, found at Whole Foods, and in ethnic markets
- ½ t salt more to taste
- up to a ½ c warm water to thin it out
- Place the panko bread crumbs in a skillet over medium heat and toast until slightly brown. Set aside.
- Place walnuts in a skillet over medium heat and toast until slightly fragrant. Set aside.
- Place peppers, sun dried tomatoes, all seasonings, and toasted panko breadcrumbs into your food processor. Process until it forms a thick paste. Thin as needed with warm water to reach a dippable consistency, probably 1 or 2 Tablespoons of water.
- Add toasted walnuts to the food processor. Pulse a few times to incorporate the walnuts, but be sure to leave a few chunks remaining.
- Serve with pita and enjoy!