A smoky sweet mixture of roasted red peppers, walnuts and spices goes into making this luscious muhammara.
A couple times recently people have asked me what I do for a living. I didn't really think about being asked this question when I decided to ditch being a lawyer in favor of this, but I guess it's one of those questions people ask, so duh.
"I'm a professional blogger." That's what I told them, because I couldn't think of much else to say. And don't even get me started on explaining to people that chose professional blogger over lawyer.
So I went to law school to publish recipes on the internet. Sometimes I like to do things the hard way.
And sometimes I have more fresh red bell peppers than I can come up with a practical use for.
Just about every recipe I've ever come across for muhammara calls for jarred roasted red peppers. I'm not sure how authentic that method of making it is, but it's easy, so it's got that going for it.
My method involves roasting your own peppers, so it takes a little more time. But I'm guessing anyone that's got some red peppers planted in their backyard garden will have good use for a muhammara recipe that calls for fresh roasted red peppers. Also, it's just better this way: see how thick and luscious it came out?! You know you want to make it!
How to Make Muhammara
As you may have guessed, the first thing you'll want to do is roast your peppers. Place them in a skillet or roasting pan and bake them until they're tender and their skins begin to blister.
Once they're out of the oven, give them a few minutes to cool, and then peel off the skins. They should come off pretty easily, but don't fret if you've got a few sticky spots. I always end up with a little bit of skin still on there, and it's never noticeable in the final product.
The next step is easy: stick everything in a food processor and blend!
Taste-test and adjust any seasonings to your liking. Then grab some pita bread and dig in!
FAQ & Tips for Making Perfect Muhammara
- Don't feel like roasting your own peppers? I hear ya! Feel free to substitute jarred roasted red peppers. You'll need about 1 ½ cups. Be sure to press out as much moisture as you can before adding them to the food processor!
- What is pomegranate molasses and where can I get it? Pomegranate molasses is basically concentrated pomegranate juice. (It's not really molasses at all!) Look for it in your supermarket's international foods section, and if you can't find it, or don't want to buy it for one recipe, try making your own using this recipe. It's super easy.
- And if you buy or make some pomegranate molasses for this recipe and are looking for another use for it, try these stuffed squash or this soup.
- Need a gluten-free version of this recipe? Substitute gluten-free panko breadcrumbs.
- Muhammara will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Dip)
- 1 ¾ pounds fresh red peppers, about 3 to 4 peppers
- ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup shelled walnuts
- ½ cup chopped scallions
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Additional olive oil
- Chopped parsley
- Pita bread
Preheat the oven to 400°. Cut the peppers in half and remove the stems and seeds. Lightly rub the peppers with about 2 teaspoons of oil and arrange them on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan. Bake until the skins begin to blister and brown, about 45 minutes. Remove the peppers from the oven and allow them to sit until they're cool enough to handle.
When the peppers are cool, gently peel off the skins (it's okay if you miss some spots. I did!).
Place the peppers into the bowl of a food processor, along with ¼ cup of olive oil, the walnuts, scallions, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, garlic, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Blend until smooth, then taste test, season with salt, and adjust any other seasonings to your liking.
Add in the panko breadcrumbs and pulse just until incorporated. The mixture should be nice and thick.
Scoop the mixture into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with pita bread.
If you want to try using jarred roasted red peppers, you'll need about 1 ½ cups. I recommend pressing out as much moisture as you can before blending them up.