If you're new to muhammara, it's time to get familiar with this delicious red pepper and walnut dip/spread. Packed with flavor and so versatile, it's also super easy to make in your food processor.
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Hummus may be the most famous spread to come out of the Levant region, but there are definitely others worth trying. And while I definitely appreciate a good hummus, I have to say muhammara has much more depth of flavor and arguably healthier too.
Plus, there's no fiddling around peeling chickpeas. OK, true, you may end up peeling red peppers if you make it completely from scratch roasting your own peppers. But jarred peppers are pretty good here and avoid that hassle.
What is the origin of muhammara?
Muhammara apparently originates from Aleppo in Syria, but you'll find it across the Levant region in to Turkey. As you might imagine, there are slight variations in ingredients in different recipes, but there are a few things that are constant.
The name means "reddened" in Arabic, and the color is one of the many great things about it.
What are the ingredients?
Red peppers, walnuts, breadcrumbs and olive oil are in almost all versions, then the rest of the seasonings can vary. But typical additions are pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, garlic and often some spices like cumin.
Many versions are a bit spicy, adding traditionally Aleppo pepper - in fact some use just these. If you can't get Aleppo pepper, red pepper flakes are a good alternative. Given my kids don't have a taste for spice yet, though, I tend to skip over that if they will be joining in.
What do you serve muhammara with?
Muhammara is very versatile and can be served in a number of ways.
- Use it as a dip with bread or pita chips
- Use it as a spread on bread either as it is or in a sandwich
- Serve it with grilled meat, fish or vegetables.
I used it not long ago in my lamb kofte burger and it was the perfect addition. We also had it with grilled chicken which worked well too. I think it would also be great instead of the quick mango chutney in my halloumi burger and I can imagine so much more.
Easy to make, versatile and with such a great flavor - whether you spice it up or not - there's so much to love about muhammara. In fact, I can see me getting more requests for it soon.
Looking for more Middle Eastern dips and spreads? Try these:
- Baba ghanoush (eggplant dip/spread)
- Labneh (a yogurt based spread)
- Tzatziki (yogurt and cucumber) as I serve with my chicken gyros
- Persian cuisine also has a number more using similar ingredients like kashke bademjan eggplant dip (recipe from Unicorns in the Kitchen)
- Plus get more ideas for salads, mains and more to serve with these in the Israeli and Middle Eastern food archives.
- 2 oz walnuts (2oz is approx ½ cup)
- ⅓ cup breadcrumbs
- 4 oz roasted red peppers (4 oz is approx 2 jarred peppers)
- 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ clove garlic (or 1 small)
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon sumac (omit if not available)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes, omit for non-spicy version
- If you have time, lightly toast the walnuts and breadcrumbs in a dry skillet/frying pan to gently bring out flavor.
- Put everything in food processor and blend together into a smooth paste. Refrigerate until needed.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
This recipe was first shared in June 2019 and has been updated, primarily with new photos.