This quick Muhammara recipe is easy to make in about 10 minutes and it’s full of the best sweet and savory flavors!
Our week of dip recipes continues here on the blog today with the world’s most beloved roasted red pepper and walnut dip…
This vibrant sweet, savory, smoky and slightly-spicy dip, which originated in Aleppo, Syria, has become one of the most popular mezze served in various countries around the Levant. And whenever my husband and I happen to spy it on a menu, it is a no-questions-asked given that we are ordering a bowl. Lol, we are obsessed with this stuff!
If you happen to be new to muhammara, the brilliance of this dip lies in the perfect balance of textures and flavors going on here. It’s made with a sweet and smoky roasted red pepper base, for which I (shh) typically take a shortcut and add in a jar of roasted reds, which saves half an hour and still tastes great. Then to that, we add lots of toasted walnuts and breadcrumbs, to give the dip some texture and rich nutty flavor. An earthy blend of cumin, smoked paprika, Aleppo pepper and garlic serve as the zesty seasonings. Then the signature sweetener of muhammara — pomegranate molasses — brings everything together and makes this dip downright irresistible.
I definitely take the liberty of using a few shortcuts with this dip — subbing in the aforementioned jar of roasted reds, using a food processor (or blender) in place of the traditional mortar and pestle, plus I usually just use a scoop of Panko instead of making my own breadcrumbs. But while my method isn’t 100% traditional, it saves some major time and still tastes absolutely amazing.
So if you’re also a major fan of muhammara — or are interested in giving it a try for the very first time — bring on the roasted reds and walnuts and let’s make a quick batch together!
The ingredients for traditional muhammara can vary slightly from country to country. But here are the basic ingredients that I typically use (amounts included in the recipe below), based off of this recipe from Ottolenghi…
Jarred roasted red peppers: As mentioned above, I typically take a shortcut with this recipe and make it with a jar of roasted red peppers (the ones in olive oil with a clove of garlic), which saves a significant amount of time and still tastes amazing. That said, you are totally welcome to roast your own red peppers if you prefer! (You would need about 3 medium peppers.)
Chopped walnuts: If you have the time, I highly recommend giving the walnuts a quick toast (either in the oven or in a skillet) to bring out their best flavor.
Panko breadcrumbs: Or really, any type of breadcrumbs would work, but I prefer the crispy texture that Panko breadcrumbs add. (Feel free to use gluten-free Panko if making this recipe gf.)
Olive oil: Which we will mix into the dip and also drizzle on top for serving.
Pomegranate molasses: I strongly recommend picking up a bottle of pomegranate molasses (usually available in the Middle Eastern section of the grocery store) for this recipe if you don’t own one already. The flavor is incredible and is a signature ingredient in muhammara. But that said, if you’re in a pinch, you can use regular molasses or simmer some pomegranate juice in a saucepan until it reduces into a syrup.
Aleppo chili flakes: I also love the taste of dried Aleppo chili flakes in this dip, which are traditional in this dip (muhammara hails from Aleppo, Syria!) and have a distinctly fruity, mild, smoky, and slightly-spicy flavor. That said, if you don’t have Aleppo chili flakes in your spice drawer, you could sub in 2 teaspoons of ancho chili powder plus an extra hint of cayenne if you would like.
Lemon juice: To brighten up all of these flavors.
Garlic: Either one large clove or two small cloves.
Extra seasonings: And finally, I like to use salt, ground cumin, plus a hint of smoked paprika to round out the rest of these flavors.
You can also serve muhammara with any of your favorite dippers! I baked up a batch of pita chips for this batch, sprinkled with some za’atar. But plain pita, na’an, lavash, crackers, veggie sticks, or any other favorite dippers would be delicious too!
How To Make Muhammara:
Here is my favorite quick and easy method for how to make muhammara! Full instructions are included in the recipe below, as always.
Blend ingredients. Combine everything in a food processor (or a high-speed blender would also work) and blitz until smooth.
Season. Taste and season with extra salt (or any other ingredients you would like to adjust), as needed.
Serve. Serve immediately, garnished with an extra drizzle of olive oil and any garnishes (I used za’atar) that you prefer.
More Favorite Dip Recipes:
Looking for more amazing dip recipes? Here are a few of my faves: