Muhammara is a Middle Eastern dip made from roasted red peppers and walnuts that’s smoky, sweet, spicy and tangy. Its vibrant reddish orange color makes it a gorgeous dip to serve with pita or Homemade Naan, on top of Juicy Chicken Breast, or as part of a mezze platter.
I love serving muhammara this time of year because it’s so festive! The red-orange color is perfect for the holidays. Better yet, the dip is so versatile and can be made ahead. My favorite way to serve it is simply with crusty bread, pita or with fresh veggies.
What is Muhammara?
Muhammara (pronounced Mah-Húh-Mah-Rah) is a Middle Eastern dip made primarily from walnuts and roasted red peppers. The addition of breadcrumbs thickens the dip, whereas pomegranate molasses adds distinctive sweet, tangy flavor. Aleppo pepper is the final “secret” ingredient, adding a mild spiciness and fruitiness.
- Red bell peppers – red peppers are the base for muhammara. Roasting them adds a sweet smokiness.
- Finely chopped walnuts – walnuts are also the base for muhammara. I like using finely chopped walnuts that blend more easily than whole ones.
- Breadcrumbs – plain breadcrumbs thicken the dip. A little goes a long way!
- Extra virgin olive oil – olive oil adds a luxurious creaminess to the dip.
- Pomegranate molasses – pomegranate molasses is the secret ingredient in classic muhammara. It’s sweet and tangy.
- Aleppo pepper – Aleppo pepper adds a fruity, earthy spiciness. Depending on your spicy tolerance, I recommend getting a mild Aleppo pepper (unless you like it hot!).
- Garlic – garlic…because garlic!
- Lemon – lemon adds a subtle tangy freshness!
Substitutions and Variations
- Jarred roasted red peppers: you can use jarred peppers that have been patted dry with paper towels; however, jarred peppers lack smokiness and can have a vinegary taste. I recommend roasting your own peppers if at all possible!
- Pine nuts: I recommend lightly toasting pine nuts (in a 350-degree oven for 5-7 minutes) as a substitution for walnuts.
- Toast walnuts: if you like a more smoky flavored muhammara, toast your walnuts for just 1-2 minutes at 375 degrees.
- No breadcrumbs: a dash of breadcrumbs gives muhammara its traditional texture. You can opt out of using breadcrumbs, but the consistency will be less creamy.
- Balsamic glaze: although I highly recommend ordering pomegranate molasses from Amazon if you can’t find it in your local grocery store, you can try balsamic glaze as a substitute for pomegranate molasses if needed.
- Red pepper flakes: although there is no good substitute for Aleppo pepper (and I highly recommend buying it from Amazon if you can’t find it locally!), you can use about ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes instead of 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper.
How to Make Muhammara
Full instructions in the recipe card; this is just an outline!
- Roast peppers.
Cut the tops off your peppers, seed and core them, and cut them in half lengthwise. Place peppers, flesh-side up on a baking sheet. Roast peppers for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.
- Flip and roast.
Use tongs to flip the peppers so they’re skin-side up. Roast for another 20 minutes.
Place peppers in a brown paper sandwich bag, crumpling up the top so the peppers steam for 10-20 minutes.
Peel the skin off your peppers, and place peeled peppers in a blender.
Add in all other ingredients.
Blend until almost smooth.
Serve as-is or with pomegranate seeds, more walnuts, or parsley on top!
Muhammara Serving Suggestions
Serve as-is or with one of these toppings:
- Fresh parsley or cilantro
- More walnuts
- Drizzle of olive oil or pomegranate molasses
- Sprinkle of Aleppo pepper or pomegranate seeds
- Pita or Wheat Naan
- Fresh veggies
- Roasted veggies like these Crispy Brussels Sprouts
- Baked Chicken Breast
- Grilled Pork Tenderloin
- Lemon, Garlic & Herb Baked Salmon or Simple Poached Salmon
- Wraps or sandwiches
- A mezze platter with Beet Hummus & Tzatziki
More Dips and Sauces You’ll Love!
- Dad’s Famous Thai Peanut Sauce
- Tzatziki Sauce
- Sicilian Eggplant Caponata
- Creamy Italian Tonnato Sauce
- Easy Beet Hummus
- Avocado Pesto
- Blender (or Food Processor)
- Brown paper sandwich bag
- 3 medium red bell peppers
- ¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- 1 garlic clove peeled
- ½ lemon juiced
- Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the tops off your peppers, seed and core them, and cut them in half lengthwise. Place peppers, flesh-side up on a baking sheet. Roast peppers for 10 minutes.
- Use tongs to flip the peppers so they’re skin-side up. Push the peppers down so they lay flat and evenly roast. Roast for another 20 minutes.
- Place peppers in a brown paper sandwich bag, crumpling up the top so the peppers steam for 10-20 minutes, or until they’re cool enough to touch.
- Peel the skin off your peppers, and place peeled peppers in a blender or food processor.
- Add in all other ingredients (walnuts, breadcrumbs, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, Aleppo pepper, garlic, lemon juice, and salt to taste).
- Blend until almost smooth but not completely smooth. You may need to stop your blender a few times to scrap down the sides.
- Serve as-is or with some fresh parsley, more walnuts, a drizzle of olive oil or pomegranate molasses, or a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper or pomegranate seeds on top!
- Store in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator.
- Best served at room temperature.
- If you don’t have a brown paper bag, you can skip this step and peel the peppers without steaming them. The steaming helps loosen the skins, so peeling without steaming might be a bit difficult!
- Yes, you can double the recipe!