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This non-traditional version of Muhammara, a Syrian roasted red bell pepper and walnut dip, is both savory and sweet, crunchy and silky, slightly toasty, and with just enough heat. I substituted traditional pomegranate molasses for fresh pomegranate (easier to find and bringing little pockets of freshness and juiciness to this delicious dip). Vegan, and easy to make (with a simple way to roast red peppers), this recipe is perfect for when you want a flavourful appetizer without too much hassle in the kitchen. This Muhammara is the perfect pairing for Cabernet Franc wines. A real match made in flavors!

Muhammara and fresh pomegranate seeds in a bowl with flatbreads and a glass of red wine

What is Muhammara?

Muhammara is a roasted red bell pepper and walnut dip from Syria. It is a hearty dish, bursting with flavors and colors. The name Muhammara comes from the Arabic word “Ahmar” meaning “red”, from its vibrant red color.

It is a dish that builds bridges between oppositions: both savory and sweet, crunchy and silky, slightly toasty, and with just enough heat. All textures and flavors complement each other in an amazing way.

Traditional Muhammara is made using pomegranate molasses, which is a syrup of boiled pomegranate juice. However, in this recipe, I substituted pomegranate molasses for fresh pomegranate, easier to find and brings more freshness to this dip. Perfect for spring or summer dinner parties!

3 red bell peppers, pomegranate, lemon, walnuts, garlic, breadcrumbs, cumin, sumac, chili powder, extra-virgin olive oil and salt

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The ingredients you’ll need

  • Red bell peppers, roasted – for their sweet and sour taste.
  • Walnuts – toasted, for a nice crunch and toasty notes.
  • Fresh pomegranate – compliments red bell pepper beautifully, thanks to its zing and juiciness.
  • Breadcrumbs (either homemade or store-bought) – for the texture.
  • Garlic – for a sharp kick.
  • Cumin, Turkish red pepper flakes, and sumac – to season and spice things up.
  • Lemon juice – to balance the sweetness of bell pepper and pomegranate.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – to help fix the flavors and bring delicate fruitiness.
  • Salt – for seasoning and to bring out the flavors.

How to make Muhammara with Fresh Pomegranate?

Start by preparing the red peppers:

  • Using a vegetable peeler, peel the red bell peppers. It’s okay if the peeler cannot access some crevices, remove what you can and leave the rest.

  • Using a kitchen knife, remove the side of the bell peppers by slicing around the seeds. Remove the base too. Discard the stem and seeds.
  • Remove the white parts with a pairing knife (as it becomes bitter when cooking).

  • Cut the red bell peppers into 1-inch (2.5 cm) strips.
a hand chopping a red bell pepper into strips with a kitchen knife

Roast the red peppers:

  • Transfer the bell pepper strips onto a parchment-lined baking tray (or a large baking dish).
  • Drizzle 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of extra-virgin olive oil and toss to coat.
  • Roast for 25 min at 400°F (200°C) until tender and lightly charred. 

Meanwhile, toast the walnuts:

  • Transfer the walnuts to a skillet.
  • Gently toast over medium heat, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon, until fragrant and lightly colored.
  • Set aside.

Assemble the dip:

  • Transfer the roasted red pepper to a food processor. 
  • Add the breadcrumbs, crushed garlic, 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, red pepper powder, optional sumac, and salt. 
  • Mix until well combined, but not completely smooth, about 30 seconds. 

  • Add the pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts and pulse two-three more times. We want some texture and crunchiness (from the pomegranate seeds and walnut). Do not over-mix the Muhammara.

Finish the Muhammara:

  1. Plate the spread onto a shallow bowl. You can use the back of a spoon to create some swirls and crevices.
  2. Garnish with extra pomegranate seeds, sprinkled sumac, chopped flat-leaf parsley, and drizzle a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil. 
  3. Serve with warm fluffy flatbreads, pita bread, or pita chips.

Muhammara and fresh pomegranate seeds with chopped parsley in a bowl

Enjoy with a glass of Cabernet Franc!

Nim Keys – Useful Tips

To easily remove the seeds from a pomegranate:

  1. roll the fruit on a flat surface to loosen the seeds;
  2. score around the middle and tear it open into halves;
  3. hold each half over a bowl, seeds facing down. Using a wooden spoon, whack the skin squeezing a little to release the seeds. Be aware that pomegranate juice stains, so make sure to protect your clothes!

For time-sensitive situations, feel free to use 16 ounces (450 g) of store-bought roasted or chargrilled red peppers preserved in oil (drain well and remove the excess oil). Check the label for unflavored oil (some brands use flavored oil which is not what we want here). Be aware that the taste will be different (slightly more acidic) as most brands use a bit of vinegar in the preserved oil. But a great timesaving option for when you are extra busy!

Though traditional Muhammara is made with mortar and pestle, I like to use a food processor to simplify and speed up the process. To mimic the crunchy texture of the mortar and pestle version, make sure not to over-mix the Muhammara.

Serving suggestions


Muhammara and fresh pomegranate seeds in a bowl with flatbreads and a glass of red wine

Wine Pairing for Muhammara with Fresh Pomegranate🍷


CABERNET FRANC

Cabernet Franc produces red light fruity wines. They often display aromas of strawberry, and raspberry, with subtle notes of roasted bell pepper and chili pepper, which will match this Muhammara’s flavor profile beautifully.

We often tend to serve red wines too warm. The ideal service temperature for Cabernet Franc wines is around 60°F (16°C).

WINE APPELLATION SUGGESTIONS

  • Bourgueil, Loire Valley (France)
  • Bolgheri, Tuscany (Italy)
  • Sierra Foothill, California (United States)

Muhammara and fresh pomegranate seeds in a bowl with a  flatbread dunk into it

FAQ

How long does Muhammara with Fresh Pomegranate keep?

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Can I use yellow bell peppers instead of red peppers?

Sure, can! The result will be slightly milder in terms of sweetness and bell pepper flavor, but super delicious too! However, I do not recommend green peppers, as they are a bit too vegetal and grassy for this recipe.

Can I use store-bought roasted red pepper?

Yes, just replace the three fresh red peppers with 16 ounces (450 g) of store-bought roasted or char-grilled red peppers preserved in neutral oil.

Other Delicious Dip Recipes


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Muhammara and fresh pomegranate seeds in a bowl with flatbreads and a glass of red wine

Muhammara with Fresh Pomegranate

This non-traditional version of Muhammara, a Syrian roasted red bell pepper and walnut dip is both savory and sweet, crunchy and silky, slightly toasty, and with just enough heat. I substituted traditional pomegranate molasses for fresh pomegranate (easier to find and bringing little pockets of freshness and juiciness to this delicious dip). Vegan, and easy to make (with a simple way to roast red peppers), this recipe is perfect for when you want a flavourful appetizer without too much hassle in the kitchen. This Muhammara is the perfect pairing for Cabernet Franc wines.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Middle-Eastern
Diet Vegan
Servings 6

EQUIPEMENT

  • Wooden Spoon
  • Kitchen Knife
  • Food Processor

INGREDIENTS
 

  • 3 large red bell peppers
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil plus more to serve
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (10 g) breadcrumbs (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 medium garlic clove crushed
  • the juice of half a lemon 1 tablespoon or 15 ml of lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Marash or Aleppo pepper alternatively, use crushed red chili flakes
  • ¾ teaspoon sumac optional
  • ¾ teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • ½ cup (60 g) walnuts
  • ½ cup (75 g) pomegranate seeds plus more to serve
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley to serve

INSTRUCTIONS

Start by preparing the red peppers:

  • Peel the red bell peppers with a vegetable peeler.
  • Using a kitchen knife, remove the side of the bell peppers by slicing around the seeds. Remove the base and the white parts too.
  • Cut the red bell peppers into 1-inch (2.5 cm) strips.

Roast the red peppers:

  • Transfer the bell pepper strips onto a parchment-lined baking tray (or a large baking dish).
  • Drizzle 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of extra-virgin olive oil and toss to coat.
  • Roast for 25 min at 400°F (200°C) until tender and lightly charred. 

Meanwhile, toast the walnuts:

  • Transfer the walnuts to a skillet.
  • Gently toast over medium heat, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon, until fragrant and lightly colored.
  • Set aside.

Assemble the dip:

  • To a food processor, add the roasted red peppers, breadcrumbs, crushed garlic, 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, red pepper powder, optional sumac, and salt. 
  • Mix until well combined, but not completely smooth, about 30 seconds. 
  • Add the pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts and pulse two-three more times. To keep a crunchy texture, do not over-mix the dip. 

Finish the Muhammara:

  • Plate the dip into a shallow bowl.
  • Garnish with extra pomegranate seeds, sprinkled sumac, chopped flat-leaf parsley, and drizzle a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil. 
  • Serve with warm fluffy flatbreads, pita bread, or pita chips.
  • Enjoy with a glass of Cabernet Franc!

NIM KEYS - USEFUL TIPS

  1.  To easily remove the seeds from a pomegranate: 1/ roll the fruit on a flat surface to loosen the seeds; 2/ score around the middle and tear it open into halves; 3/ hold each half over a bowl, seeds facing down. Using a wooden spoon, whack the skin squeezing a little to release the seeds.
  2. For time-sensitive situations, feel free to use 16 ounces (450 g) of store-bought roasted or chargrilled red peppers preserved in neutral oil (drain well and remove the excess oil).
  3. Though traditional Muhammara is made with mortar and pestle, I like to use a food processor to simplify and speed up the process. To mimic the crunchy texture of the mortal and pestle version, make sure not to over-mix the Muhammara.

NUTRITION

Calories: 171kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 3gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gSodium: 315mgPotassium: 267mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 2598IUVitamin C: 109mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg
Keyword muhammara recipe, red pepper and pomegranate spread, roasted red pepper and walnut dip, Syrian Muhammara
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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    It’s 32 degrees outside; cooking meat is not an option. So I discovered this recipe and decided to try it: perfect. I paired it with a rosé (no Cabernet franc in the cellar). Not the best match but it was cold and refreshing. I’ll make this recipe again. Thanks Ninon.