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Have you heard of muhammara? It’s the most delicious dip that you’re probably not eating already. I love adding this to my holiday spread along with hummus and guacamole to round out some fun colors for a snack board. This muhammara dip is all made in one easy step of throwing all the ingredients in a food processor. It’s vegan, low-carb and insanely tasty!
What is muhammara?
Muhammara is a Middle Eastern dip that’s basically made with walnuts and roasted red peppers. In Lebanon this dip is very popular as part of our mezza menus and it’s often served with toasted pita or pita bread. I always grew up thinking it was a Lebanese recipe, but it actually originated in Aleppo, Syria. It’s very popular all over the Middle East though.
In Arabic, the word is pronounced “mhamara.” We don’t actually pronounce the “u” in there and the “h” sound is actually a different sound in Arabic that sounds similar to h, but not quite. The word muhammara means “red” and it very adequately describes the vibrant color you’ll get from making the dip. And it just so happens to be a very festive color around the holidays. But, just like hummus, this dip is popular all year round and loved by many all around!
How do you make muhammara?
To make the dip, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Walnuts – you can buy them raw or roasted (or roast them yourself on a pan or in the oven)
- Breadcrumbs – this is what thickens the dip. You can buy breadcrumbs or make them from stale bread
- Jar of roasted red bell
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Pomegranate molasses – the only exotic ingredient (but you can substitute with lemon juice & honey)
- Garlic clove
- Blend of spices like cumin and cayenne pepper (and aleppo pepper if you have it!)
Then you literally throw all those ingredients into a food processor all at once and blend it on high for 1-2 minutes. The muhammara recipe quickly and easily comes together in that one easy step!
Here are all the ingredients before and after blending. You’ll want a consistency that’s pretty smooth with all the ingredients equally blended. The amount of time in the food processor will depend on how strong your food processor is and how chunky you want it. It’s ready in a couple minutes though because none of the ingredient need much (if any) prep.
Tips for making muhammara
- Toast the walnuts and breadcrumbs. If you have some extra time, I would highly recommend toasting the walnuts in a pan, and then toasting the breadcrumbs in that same pan separately. The toasted flavor of the walnuts and breadcrumbs really elevates the flavor of the dip. But it’s totally optional and the dip will still taste amazing regardless!
- Try your best to use pomegranate molasses for this recipe. It’s at all Middle Eastern grocery stores, but even sold at Whole Foods and sometimes in the ethnic Mediterranean isle at major grocery stores. I use it to make fattoush and I even add it to my roasted chicken. It has a sweet and tart flavor that just gives a unique taste to the dish. If you can’t find it, you can try reducing some pomegranate juice in a pan. Or you can substitute with lemon juice (for the tartness) and honey (for the sweetness).
- Let it chill before serving. This dip definitely gets better as it chills and the flavors meld. You can serve it immediately, but if you have time to chill it even for an hour and allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the moisture, it gets even better.
What to serve with muhammara?
Well, it depends if you call it a muhammara dip, muhammara spread or muhammara sauce. It can really be any and all of the above.
- The most popular way to eat it is as a dip. So you can serve it with pita chips, pita bread, or even pretzels and crackers, crudite or vegetables.
- As a spread, it elevates any sandwich you’re having to new standards. Try it with these roasted cauliflower pita wraps, or a grilled mozzarella sandwich.
- As a sauce, you can actually use it to marinade chicken, shrimp or fish or add it to a bowl of pasta, or even in a salad. It’s pretty versatile like hummus.
Insanely tasty spread that’s sweet, savory, smokey and spicy – yup, it all describes this muhammara recipe, and it all makes it so hard to stop eating it once you start!
For more Middle Eastern dip recipes, check out:
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feelgood Muhammara recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Homemade Muhammara Dip
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 12-ounce jar roasted red bell drained
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided plus extra to finish
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pita bread or pita chips for serving
- In a small skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and toast the walnuts until they are lightly toasted, stirring often, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. (this step is optional)
- In the same skillet, toast the breadcrumbs over medium heat until they become golden, stirring often, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. (this step is optional)
- Place all the ingredients in a high speed food processor and blend until all the ingredients are well incorporated and mixture is smooth.
- Transfer to a small serving bowl and chill before serving. Garnish with parsley, drizzle olive oil, and serve with pita chips, if desired.