Muhammara sounds like a mouthful. The word can actually be spelled many different ways since it’s an Arabic word transcribed into our Roman alphabet. This Middle Eastern dip is made of red bell peppers and walnuts and a hint of pomegranate molasses, garlic and olive oil. Some recipes call for breadcrumbs; I prefer mine without them. As an option, you can also add Aleppo pepper to spice it up if you like.
How healthy is muhammara?
Red bell peppers are very high in vitamin A and C.
Walnuts are a great source of healthy unsaturated fat, including Omega 3’s. They are also high in manganese as well as other minerals.
Pomegranates are one of the healthiest foods on the planet packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Granted, pomegranate molasses are generally made with sugar, but the amount used in this recipe does not contribute a lot of added sugar. My favorite brand is Sadaf, it has a perfect balance of sweet and tart.
Finally, garlic and olive oil are of core elements of the Mediterranean diet with a slew of health benefits.
But muhammara is not only super-healthy, it’s just plain delicious. Anyone tasting it for the first time will comment how good it is. You will really want to eat it with everything. Serve it as a dip with pita bread, pita chips, cut up vegetables, or as a topping for grilled fish, chicken or vegetables. As a spread on sandwiches. Or just by the spoon…
How to make muhammara
If you are short on time, you can make this recipe with jarred roasted peppers. But if you can afford the extra time, roasting your own bell peppers is really worth it, in my opinion.
First you will briefly roast the walnuts in the oven or in a skillet.
Then roast the bell peppers, let them cool and peel them.
Next, heat the garlic in a bit of olive oil.
Finally, everything goes in the food processor, and gets blended to your liking.
Other dips you might like:
- Preheat oven to 375°. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet, and roast 8 minutes, or until light brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Line another baking sheet with aluminum foil and place bell peppers on it. Raise the heat to 400 and roast peppers for 45 min, or until skins are black all over, turning occasionally.
- Transfer peppers to a glass bowl, and cover with plate. Let them steam and cool in the bowl for 15 to 30 minutes. Make sure they are cool enough to handle, then rub off blackened skins and remove seeds.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat, and allow garlic and oil to cool.
- Purée bell peppers, garlic, remaining olive oil, salt, and pomegranate molasses in food processor until smooth.
- Chop the walnuts coarsely. Add them to the food processor and pulse a few times so that they are broken into smaller pieces but you still have some chunks left (alternatively, if you prefer a smoother texture, process longer until smooth – I personally prefer the crunchy texture)
- If the mix is too thin for your taste, add 1 or 2 tbsp whole wheat panko breadcrumbs and pulse once or twice.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. If you have used breadcrumbs, let sit for 30 minutes or so before serving to give time for the breadcrumbs to absorb the juices and soften up.