Muhammara – Roasted Red Pepper Dip, Spread & Sauce

Muhammara – Roasted Red Pepper Dip, Spread & SauceMuhammara – Syria’s Zesty Alternative to Hummus

Few boldly flavored and undeniably delicious foods have so many differing pronunciations. I’m going with “mu-ham-ma-ra” based on listening to it being pronounced here. Though, you might prefer one of these other possibilities: mu-HUMM-a-ra   moo-hahm-MRAH  mooah-MARA. 😉

Muhammara – Roasted Red Pepper Dip, Spread & SauceConsider red peppers (roasted or not), walnuts (toasted or not), and pomegranate molasses as the givens in Muhammara. Along with the pronunciation possibilities, I found different takes on the spices and their quantities as well as on the texture from coarsely chopped to smoothly puréed. After a little tinkering, tasting and fine-tuning, I’ve come up with this Muhammara recipe. My new favorite alternative to hummus.

Likewise, Muhammara received many compliments from the guests at a brunch this past Sunday. Three different people at three different times suggested I package it for sale. This Muhammara really is that good.

Pomegranate molasses Muhammara – Roasted Red Pepper Dip, Spread & Sauce
A key flavor in Muhammara comes from uniquely tart and sweet Pomegranate Molasses. It’s so delicious you’ll find yourself wanting to eat it with a spoon. Find it in Middle Eastern stores, some well-stocked supermarkets, and of course, online. This is a brand I like as its only ingredient is pomegranate juice.

Easily made at home
Another option is to make your own pomegranate molasses. Simply simmer 2 cups of pomegranate juice, uncovered, in a small saucepan over low heat until it reduces to ½ cup. Cool the pomegranate molasses completely before transferring it to an airtight jar. Pomegranate molasses can be stored in the refrigerator for up to several months.

Recipe links
Now that you have pomegranate molasses in your fridge, here are more recipes for enjoying its appealing sweet, tart and tangy flavor.

Muhammara – Roasted Red Pepper Dip, Spread & SauceMuhammara – Syrian Roasted Red Pepper Dip, Spread & Sauce

Intensely flavored and vegan Muhammara can easily be made gluten-free using gluten-free breadcrumbs. For the best flavor, prepare Muhammara at least a day in advance. However, serve it at room temperature drizzled lightly with good olive oil.
The pomegranate molasses adds a beguiling sweet and sour flavor to Muhammara. Consider preparing your own pomegranate molasses. Simply simmer 2 cups of pomegranate juice, uncovered, in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook the juice slowly until it is thick like molasses and reduced to about ½ cup.
Update: You can substitute 1 ½ cups jarred roasted, peeled peppers for the fresh peppers in this recipe

Makes almost 2 cups                                              Printer-Friendly Recipe
Start to Finish 30 minutes

Scant 1 pound red bell peppersMuhammara – Roasted Red Pepper Dip, Spread & Sauce
½ cup walnuts
1 medium clove garlic, peeled
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper flakes
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

  1. Muhammara – Roasted Red Pepper Dip, Spread & SauceTurn the broiler on to low. Adjust the broiler shelf about 5 inches from the element.
  2. Cut the peppers in half and remove the stem and seeds. Cut a few 1-inch slits in the bottom and top edges of each half to help the peppers lie flat.
  3. Lightly oil a small rimmed baking sheet. Flatten the peppers on the pan.
  4. Broil the peppers on low broil for 15 minutes or until their skin is blackened. Remove Muhammara – Roasted Red Pepper Dip, Spread & Saucethe baking sheet from the oven. Immediately cover tightly with aluminum foil. Set aside to cool.
  5. Switch the broiler off and turn the oven on to 350 degrees.
  6. Lightly toast the walnuts for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  7. With the food processor running, drop in the garlic until finely chopped. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl.
  8. Add the breadcrumbs, walnuts, Aleppo pepper flakes, cumin and salt. Pulse just to blend.
  9. Peel the peppers, removing as much of the skin as possible. Discard the skin.Muhammara – Roasted Red Pepper Dip, Spread & Sauce
  10. Add the roasted and peeled peppers, lemon juice, olive oil and pomegranate molasses. Use the pulse button to combine the mixture, leaving it coarsely textured.
  11. For the best flavor, refrigerate Muhammara overnight. Let it come to room temperature before serving.
  12. Great as a dip with hearts of romaine or butter lettuce, fresh vegetables, crackers and/or pita bread. Delicious as a spread for veggie patties. And, I’ve read that Muhammara also makes an excellent sauce for fish, chicken and kebabs.
  13. Muhammara will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for about a week.

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