Muhammara is a delicious Middle Eastern dip made from roasted red peppers and walnuts, with a little spice and the sharpness of pomegranate molasses.
I roast or chargrill red capsicums or peppers often, when they're in season, but I like to have a jar of chargrilled capsicums in the pantry at all times too. They're excellent value with at least 10 peppers crammed in to each jar and they're great to have on hand to add a deeper flavour to soups and risottos.
They're also perfect in muhammara, a Middle Eastern dip originally from Syria. Naturally vegan and easily gluten free, this red pepper and walnut dip is a nice alternative to pesto, hummus or other dips.
My father in law keeps us well supplied with fresh walnuts from his tree, so this dip makes it onto our dinner table often. I like to serve it as part of a mezze platter for a casual dinner - it's a natural partner with dolmades, chargrilled eggplant, falafel, olives, pita bread and vege sticks.
Make your own muhammara
The key ingredients of muhammara are roasted red capsicums (peppers), walnuts, garlic, olive oil, lemon and pomegranate molasses for sourness, and a little spice.
Muhammara is traditionally thickened with fresh bread crumbs, which you can add if you like, but I don't feel the need to and prefer the dip without them.
Pomegranate molasses is a thick, glossy, sweet and sour syrup made from reduced pomegranate juice - a little similar to balsamic glaze but with a fruitier flavour. If you can't find pomegranate molasses, replace it with red wine vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar for a similar flavour profile.
I make my muhammara in a food processor because it's quick and easy, but you can also make it in a large mortar and pestle if you have one.
- 3 large roasted red peppers
- ¾ cup walnuts
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1-2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch chilli flakes (or more to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 210C (410F) fanbake (convection).
- Toast walnuts in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Put all ingredients into a food processor and whizz to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. The dip should still have some texture - you don't want it to be perfectly smooth.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Add more chilli flakes or lemon juice, if you like.
- Chargrill and skin your own red capsicum (peppers) or use the kind that come in a jar.
- If you don't have pomegranate molasses, replace with 1-2 teaspoon of red wine vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
- Makes about 1 ½ cups.
- Nutrition information is estimate.
Originally published 8 July 2015. Updated 29 September 2018.