Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)
I love an afternoon snack of veggie crudites (celery sticks, baby carrots, cucumbers) with hummus. It's a great way to deliciously satisfy hunger between lunch and dinner while loading up on vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and healthy fats. As much as I enjoy hummus, I can get a bit tired of it and am always looking for ways to mix it up, i.e. adding sweet potatoes and chipotle in for a Mexican twist, or swapping out the chickpeas for zucchini -- that kind of stuff. That's all good, but I really wanted to expand my horizons. This dip - called muhammara - answered my prayers.
It's a traditional red pepper spread originating from Syria, most often found in Turkish cuisine. It's a blend of red peppers, walnuts, pomegranate molasses, bread crumbs and a handful of other ingredients. As I try to eat as gluten-free as possible, I omitted the bread crumbs for this recipe.
Muhammara is traditionally eaten as a dip with bread, as a spread for toast, and as a sauce for kebabs, grilled meats and fish. I'm sure all of those applications would be delicious. Some other ideas are to serve with veggie crudites (as I did here with the celery sticks), crackers, pita bread, or scooped up using California endive cups.
- 3 roasted red bell peppers, or an 8 oz. jar of roasted red peppers (drained)
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
- 3 large cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (*purchased at a Middle Eastern market)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- chopped mint for garnish
Toast walnuts in a 300F degree oven for 10-12 minutes, or in a dry skillet on medium heat until golden and fragrant.
To roast the red bell peppers, set oven to the Broil setting (temperature: 525 - 550F). Place whole red peppers on a baking sheet and set on the top rack of your oven so they are right under the broiler lights. Let broil for about 40 minutes, flipping every 10-15 minutes until all sides are completely charred.
Place the charred peppers in a bowl and cover the bowl with cling wrap. Let them steam for about 30 minutes in the covered bowl.
Peel charred skin off and discard. The peppers will be very limp so you can easily pull out the seeds. Place skin-less and seed-less peppers into the food processor.
Add remaining ingredients, except mint, and process until the dip is smooth but still has some texture.
Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with chopped mint leaves. Serve with whatever you like -- pita bread, celery sticks, grilled chicken kebabs, etc.
Do you have any healthy dips that you love and want to share? If so, pop it in the comments below :)