This recipe for muhammara (or muhammareh) is easy to make and insanely delicious. A classic Middle Eastern dip, it features roasted red peppers, toasted walnuts, and breadcrumbs with herbs, spices, and a dash of pomegranate molasses to create an absolute flavor sensation.
Smoky, spicy, savory, and sweet — this muhammara recipe will take your taste buds for a total joy ride. Also spelled muhamara, this roasted red pepper dip is beloved throughout the Middle East.
The robust flavor and aroma of roasted red peppers set the stage for the dip, teaming up with the bold flavors of zesty garlic, smoky cumin, and tangy pomegranate molasses. Warm toasted walnuts and crispy panko breadcrumbs give the red pepper dip a delightfully earthy flavor and chunky texture. This crowd-pleasing spread is like nothing you have ever tasted!
Table of Contents
- Red Bell Peppers – You can choose to roast the peppers yourself or buy the jarred, pre-roasted variety. If you go with store-bought, just be sure to drain them really well.
- Walnuts – Give the dip a toasty, nutty, and earthy crunch. You can omit them for a nut-free version or substitute hemp or sunflower seeds.
- Aleppo Chili Flakes – Deliver a fruity smokiness with a touch of heat. If unavailable, substitute the same amount of regular red pepper flakes.
- Panko Breadcrumbs – Light, airy panko gives the dish volume and heartiness without weighing it down.
- Pomegranate Molasses – Look for this rich, intensely tangy syrup at your local Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or Middle Eastern market or shop online. If you need a substitute, I’ve included a couple of options in the recipe card below.
- Toast the Nuts. Place a dry skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup plus another 2 tablespoons of walnuts to the pan and toast for about 5 minutes. Separate the 2 portions and set aside.
- Roast the Peppers. If you are using pre-roasted red peppers from a jar, skip this step and go on to step 4. Otherwise, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Oil the peppers, place them on the baking sheet, and place the sheet in the oven. Roast the peppers for about 40 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until softened and charred.
- Cool & Peel. Take the roasted peppers out of the oven, transfer them to a bowl, and cover them with a towel. After they have cooled for 15 minutes, remove the seeds, stems, and skin, and discard. You want to aim for 14 ounces of weight after processing your peppers.
- Saute the Onion. Place a skillet over medium heat again, this time with 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and saute for about 5-6 minutes, until the onion is browned. Then toss in the garlic, tomato paste, cumin, and chile flakes and cook for an additional minute. Carefully transfer the mixture to a food processor.
- Combine & Pulse. Add the roasted red peppers, 1 tablespoon of oil, breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the food processor and process for 30 seconds. Add in the toasted walnuts and process for another 30 seconds. You want the dip to stay chunky, so don’t over-process.
- Garnish & Serve. Scoop the muhamara into a shallow serving dish. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly chopped parsley. Crush the reserved toasted walnuts by hand and sprinkle them over the top as well. Serve with pita and veggies.
Adjusting the Texture
While muhammara is traditionally chunky, feel free to adjust the texture to suit your tastes. If you want a smoother texture, simply process the dip for a bit longer. Give it a taste and keep adjusting as needed. Alternatively, if you want the dip to be a little chunkier, don’t process for quite so long.
Muhammara dip is wildly popular throughout the Middle East, with multiple countries claiming they invented it.
However, the actual birthplace of this tasty red pepper dip is the city of Aleppo in Syria. In fact, this is the very city that the Aleppo chile flakes used in this recipe were named after.
Muhamara is traditionally served with fresh Pita Bread and/or sliced veggies. Here are a few more ways to incorporate this flavor bomb of a dip into your life.
– Add a smear to your next bagel with cream cheese or avocado toast.
– Spread some onto sandwiches or wraps like this Tantuni Wrap or Greek Chicken Souvlaki.
– Mix a bit into Greek Spinach Rice, White Rice, or any of your favorite rice dishes.
– Serve as a dipping sauce with meats like this Koobideh Kabob, Iraqi Grilled Chicken, or these Persian Meatballs.
– Enjoy as part of a mezze platter with pita chips and other dips like Greek Skordalia, Creamy Eggplant Dip, and White Bean Hummus.
Your red pepper dip will stay fresh in the refrigerator, kept in an airtight container, for around 5-7 days.
If you end up with lots of leftovers — or simply like to plan ahead — you can store muhamara in a freezer-safe, airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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Muhammara (Red Pepper Walnut Dip)
- 2 lbs red bell peppers (See Note 1)
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup olive oil divided
- 1 cup red onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp Aleppo chile flakes (See Note 2)
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (See Note 3)
- 1 1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (See Note 4)
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Toast the 1 cup + 2 tablespoons for walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Separate and set aside.
- Roasted Peppers: If using jarred, roasted red bell peppers go to Step 3 below, if making from scratch preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and oil the peppers. Place on baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes, or until softened and charred. Turn once during roasting. Remove from oven, place in a bowl and cover with towel and cool for 15 minutes. When cooled, remove and discard the skin, seed and stems. You should have 14 ounces total weight.
- In a skillet over medium heat add 2 tablespoons oil and saute the onion until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, cumin and chile flakes. Cook another minute. Spoon into a food processor along with the roasted peppers, 1 tablespoon of oil, breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process for 30 seconds and then add 1 cup toasted walnuts. Process again for another 30 seconds to keep chunky.
- Transfer to a shallow serving dish, top with a drizzle of olive oil, reserved 2 tablespoons of toasted walnuts (crush with hands) and parsley. Great with warm pita to scoop or vegetables.
- Feel free to use jarred, drained roasted red bell peppers. I find them in 12 ounce jars at Trader Joes, Whole Foods, your local market or online. This recipe calls for 14 ounces, so buy 2 jars.
- If you can ‘t find Aleppo chile flakes, substitute 1 teaspoon of red chile pepper flakes.
- You can substitute an equal amount of ground almonds.
- Pomegranate molasses can be found in most Whole Food Stores or Persian and Middle Eastern food markets and online for ordering. You can also substitute with any of the following: Fresh pomegranate seeds, pomegranate juice + sugar (or honey) with lemon or lime juice.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.