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Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip

Renée Robinson

This is So Much More Than Can Be Described in a Simple Title.

This dip, known as Muhammara, is said to have originated in Aleppo, Syria, but is now ubiquitous in many Middle Eastern communities. Roasted red bell peppers, walnuts, bread crumbs, pomegranate molasses, Aleppo pepper, cumin and olive oil are combined into what is usually a dip or spread-like consistency. It tastes sweet, nutty, a little spicy, and earthy. Over time, I’ve tweaked it until I’ve come up with my own particular favorite version. There is nothing authentic about my recipe. This is simply how I like it best.

The central ingredients are roasted red bell peppers. Yes, you can buy them already roasted in jars. But I’ve yet to taste any of those which remotely compare to the ones you roast yourself. And they’re easy. I split them in half, place them on a foil lined sheet pan, put them under the broiler until they’re blackened, enclose in the foil to allow them to steam until they’re cool enough to handle, and then peel off the blistered skins. The flavor and texture are so much better than the ones packed in jars at the supermarket.

The next thing I do a little differently is rather than pulverizing the peppers to a puree in the food processor, I only very briefly pulse them. I like for some chunkiness to remain. I treat the walnuts similarly because I want some larger pieces of nuts to be evident. This is simply the texture I like best.

The same thing goes for the texture of the fresh bread crumbs I use here. I don’t grind them up super fine. I keep them on the coarse side. When I mix the peppers, walnuts, and bread crumbs with olive oil, pomegranate molasses, cumin, Aleppo pepper, and salt, I use an old fashioned hand held potato masher in order to get the exact texture I like. You can see my technique in the video below. By not pulsing everything together in the food processor, I have much more control over the outcome and I easily get the chunky texture I like best. 

I add a little hot chili oil in order to give it a little more heat, not a lot, but enough to keep it interesting. I happened to have purchased what I thought was a typical chili oil/paste. When wandering the aisles of my local Vietnamese owned market, I always like to try different products or brands. Well, in this case I bought a jar from Thailand of what was labeled Fried Chilli Paste – Extra Hot. My son and I now call it “The Hottest Thing In The Entire World”. We both have a high tolerance for heat, but this one is mind boggling. I only used 1/4 teaspoon in my dip. That amount did the trick. 

Besides topping it with olive oil, pomegranate arils, and sliced scallions, I did something different an sprinkled on a healthy amount of ground black lime.. We each ended up adding even more black lime to our individual servings. It’s pungent flavor is excellent here. It beautifully accents the warm and sweet flavors of the dip and I will eat it this way from here on out.  

I served this as a type of mezze meal – one of my favorite ways to enjoy food. I baked up a couple loaves of King Arthur’s Ekmek (Turkish Flatbread) recipe , put out some of my pickles, and a bowl of marinated labneh. I love scooping up the dip with roughly torn pieces of warm fresh bread, spreading some soft labneh on more of that bread, with bites of pickles in between. It’s also a feast for the eyes, but most importantly, every bite is deeply satisfying. 

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Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Roasted red bell pepper, toasted walnuts, fresh bread crumbs, olive oil, and pomegranate molasses, combine for a gorgeous dip that is topped with pomegranate arils and ground black lime. Scoop it up with flatbreads for an meal you won't soon forget.

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  • 5 large red bell peppers

  • 100 g (1 cup) walnuts, lightly toasted

  • 110 g (approximately 1 1/2 cups) coarsely ground fresh bread crumbs

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted and very roughly ground

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper

  • 2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon hot chili oil

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 3 black limes, finely ground in a spice grinder

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1/3 cup pomegranate arils (seeds)


  • Stem the bell peppers, cut them in half through the stem and remove all seeds and membranes. Lay the pepper halves on a flat surface, cut side down, and using the palm of your hand, flatten them as much as possible. Place each pepper half, skin side up, on a sheet pan, lined with foil.
  • Broil on the center rack in the oven until the skins have blackened. Remove from the oven and encase them in the foil on which they’ve broiled. Seal them up tightly and let them rest and steam until they come to room temperature.
  • Peel the blistered skins off the peppers, using a paring knife to remove any of the skin on the edges that didn’t blister.
  • Quickly pulse the toasted walnuts in the bowl of a food processor. I only pulsed them twice. I don’t like them to be completely ground. I want some larger pieces in the mix. Remove and set aside. Add the roasted peppers to the bowl of the processor and pulse very briefly. You only want them to break down partially. There will be some large pieces remaining. Add the peppers and the breadcrumbs to a wide bottomed bowl. Stir in the walnuts, pomegranate molasses, cumin seeds, Aleppo pepper, salt, and chili oil. Using a hand held potato masher, work all the ingredients together, mashing on the peppers in order to break them down into smaller pieces. Stir in the olive oil. Set aside and let the ingredients meld for awhile. An hour is good. Taste for seasoning. Top with more olive oil, 2 teaspoons ground black lime, pomegranate arils, and scallions. You will have leftover ground black lime. Offer it for additional use on individual servings. Enjoy!

4 Responses

  1. This looks so perfect, from my favorite family of spreads. Give me this, labneh, a good, smoky eggplant dip, fresh bread, and a bit of chopped salad; that’s a party to me!

    1. Oh, I couldn’t agree with you more strongly. That is most definitely a party. All of these types of spreads are irresistible to me. I always treat them as a meal – never as a snack or an appetizer. They’re the main deal for us. And my recipe makes plenty (about 4 cups), so we get leftovers and it tastes great for days. Thank you, Gilana!

  2. Nice! My broiler doesn’t work so I will just do the peppers on top of my gas stove. That bread looks like the bread eaten in Morocco.

    1. Melissa, a gas stove burner works perfectly for the peppers. I have an electric stove and don’t have that option, so I always use my broiler. The bread has quickly become a favorite of mine since I first made it awhile ago. King Arthur says it’s a Turkish flatbread. All I can tell you is that it’s easy and absolutely delicious. Thank you!

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