Muhammara ~ Red Pepper-Walnut Spread

Muhammara, or red pepper-walnut sauce made with pomegranate molasses, is an eastern Mediterranean classic that’s prevalent in Turkish, Syrian, and Lebanese cuisines. Here’s how to make it and what to serve with it.

Blue and white bowl filled with Muhammara, or red pepper walnut spread with a spoon in it

This muhammara from Paula Wolfert is a Mediterranean classic that melds the smoky, nutty, and ever so slightly sweet tanginess of roasted red bell peppers, chile peppers, walnuts, and pomegranate molasses. It all comes together into a slatherable or dippable consistency—all the better to make it an easy accompaniment to skewers of any sort as well as crudités, cheese plates, or simply pita, flatbread, and crackers. Eminently easy entertaining. Even if you’re entertaining no one other than yourself.–Renee Schettler

Muhammara | Red Pepper-Walnut Spread

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Makes 24 (2-tbsp) servings | 3 cups
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Ingredients


Directions

Using tongs and a gas burner or on a broiler tray under a broiler, roast the bell peppers and chile pepper, turning frequently, until blackened and blistered on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes. 

Place the peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam for 10 minutes. 

Rub the skins from the peppers. Slit the peppers open along one side and remove and discard the stems, membranes, and seeds. Spread the peppers, smooth side up, on paper towels and let drain for 10 minutes.

In a food processor, grind the walnuts and crackers with the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, cumin, salt, and sugar until combined and mostly smooth, about 60 seconds. (It still may seem a little grainy. That’s okay.) Add the bell peppers and process until puréed and creamy, about 30 seconds.

With the machine running, slowly add the oil in a thin stream. Add chile pepper to taste. If the spread seems too thick, thin it with 1 to 2 tablespoons water. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Let the dip come to room temperature and sprinkle with cumin and drizzle with oil. (You can refrigerate the dip for up to a week and it will actually improve a little each day. Remember to return the dip to room temperature before serving to ensure the flavor is at its fullest.) Originally published April 16, 2000.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Oh, the options you’ll have with this tasty spread! I adore the romesco sauce on this site and this muhammara recipe seems like a more straightforward version with fewer ingredients.

I loved its sweet and nutty flavor but the hot chili (mine was a jalapeño) wasn’t as robust as I had expected or wanted. Next time I would broil more than one chili pepper so that the heat can be amplified to my liking. I couldn’t find zweibach—Melba toasts were the closest substitute I could easily find and they worked well.

Besides the obvious bread, crackers, and crudités, it would be wonderful on the side of grilled meats and roasted mushrooms and vegetables (I used roasted cauliflower florets and potato wedges). I'd absolutely toss pasta in this muhammara and I think dollops of it on halved hard-boiled eggs might be pretty great, too.

A ceramic bowl filled with muhammara and toast rounds on the side.

Muhammara sounded like an interesting spread to add to a mezze medley or to serve alongside hummus and pita. I was curious to make it for myself because a Lebanese restaurant we used to frequent included it on their menu and the owner took a lot of pride in her preparation. She mentioned that, while others cut corners to save money by using more bread crumbs and less walnuts, she never compromised. So when the recipe testing showed up on Leite's, I had to jump in.

I worked with 6 bell peppers and one serrano, Ak Mak crackers, and toasted walnuts. Our broiler takes forever to blister peppers, so it worked out to over half an hour. Pulsing everything together in the food processor prior to adding the roasted bell peppers produced a crumbly mixture more like pastry dough than a creamy liquid, so I added three tablespoons of water. After blending in the peppers and olive oil, it was off to the fridge for an overnight melding. The flavors coming forward from the elements in the spread were wonderful--the roasted sweet peppers, the touch of cumin, the serrano heat, the walnuts and the pomegranate syrup. What an excellent spread to have alongside hummus, for dipping grilled vegetables into, for accompanying a grilled fish or other meat. And, between the walnuts and the olive oil, a very rich sauce! I'm happy.

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