Saturday, January 31, 2009


Given my torrid, lifelong love affair with Middle Eastern food, it's shocking that I reached adulthood without encountering muhammara: a deceptively simple combination of roasted peppers, walnuts, bread, and olive oil that is immeasurably more than the sum of its parts. I was first exposed to this addictive dip at the home of an Armenian friend, via an enormous batch of his auntie's recipe served at a party. After eating almost the entire bowl, I begged for the magic formula so I could have more the very next day.

I made a few minor adaptations - more nuts, less oil, slightly more assertive seasoning - but otherwise it's pretty faithful, and I happily share the results with you here. Do be aware that this recipe makes a lot, but it tends to disappear quickly so trust me: you really can't have too much. It's good with pita wedges, atop a green or grain-based salad, or in a sandwich, but for the Optimal Muhammara Gluttony Experience I highly recommend getting your hands on some good lavash.

~ 2 12 oz. jars fire-roasted peppers, including liquid
~ 1.5 cups chopped walnuts, toasted in a dry skillet, or in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees (watch closely so they don't burn!)
~ 4 slices toasted whole wheat bread, crumbled
~ 2 tbsp. each: minced garlic, lemon juice
~ 1 tbsp. pomegranate molasses
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, cumin, basil, paprika
~ 1/2 tsp. each:  fresh black pepper, red chili flakes (more or less to taste)
~ 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
~ 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

~ In a blender or food processor, puree the peppers, their liquid, the oil, spices, lemon juice and molasses
~ Add the toasted walnuts and crumbled bread; process until almost smooth, adding a little water to thin if necessary (you're going for a consistency a bit thicker than hummus, but still retaining a bit of texture).
~ Serve as a dip with lavash or pita bread and/or crudites, or make it a little thicker and use as a sandwich spread. Or cut out the middleman entirely and just fill the bathtub with it and climb in: yummy!


  1. My mouth watered just from reading the ingredients!
    I sincerely think that humanity owes a debt of gratitude to whoever first thought about roasting peppers.

  2. Oooh now this is something else I have to try. Sounds delish!

  3. this sounds delish! and like a great dip for a get together too. this would be a good one for me to take to a non-veg get together so i have something to nosh on:) Is that 1/5 cup of walnuts? since it says cups - i wanted to be sure. Thanks!!

  4. EL: Nice save, thank you! It's 1.5 (that is, one and a half) cups. A very important distinction; I hate when I make typos!

  5. I've been meaning to make this since I saw your post and on ppk, and I just finally got around to making it. It's SO good! thanks for the recipe!


  6. Just thought you'd like to know my MIL liked this so much last year she's requested it again this year. Delicious!