Muhammara is a Middle Eastern roasted red pepper dip that is slightly smoky, savory, and packed with flavors. It has the right amount of acidity from the lemons and sweetness from the peppers, plus the walnuts and olive oil richness. It's perfect!
This Red Pepper and Walnut dip muhammara is easy to make, and we love serving it as part of a mezze, and it pairs well with Hummus, Babaganoush, Falafel balls or, and fresh Tabbouleh Salad. All of these delicious Middle Eastern recipes are on our site.
It is a very versatile dip, so I even add some scoops to our Venezuelan Vegan Arepas, on top of a poke bowl or simply serve it as a snack along with pita bread, making it the perfect vegan party appetizer.
Make it your own
Having moved so many times around the globe and taking all those beautiful flavors with us, we have learned that the lack of some ingredients shouldn't be an excuse or downer to keep us from enjoying those acquired tastes and comfort food dishes. What would be the point then?
On the contrary, it should work as a door opener for invention, creativity, and exploration of the new flavors that the land that's opening its arms to you is now offering.
You may find some of the Muhammara recipe ingredients hard to find, don't let that keep you from making the recipe. I provide substitutions below for all of them. All true and tried before with excellent results.
- Red bell peppers
- Pomegranate molasses (or a mix of pomegranate juice and maple syrup)
- Cumin seeds
- Aleppo pepper (or a mix of chili flakes and paprika)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon juice
Optional: parsley leaves.
See the recipe card for quantities.
The Muhammara dip recipe has three main steps: roasting, peeling, blending, and serving, that easy! It requires minimal work and delivers tons of flavor.
1) Roast the peppers - brush the red bell peppers with olive oil, and place them in a pre-heated oven, turning them once halfway until they are cooked, and the skin is blackened.
Place the roasted peppers in a container with a lid so the steam helps the skin to separate from the peppers' flesh.
2) Roast the walnuts with the cumin seeds, on a medium flame for 2-4 minutes.
2.1 Optionally: if you prefer milder garlic flavors as we do. Roast the garlic cloves for 3-5 minutes on a pan on the stove, nothing else is required, see how below.
3) Blend – the walnut and cumin seed in a food processor until powdered.
4) Peel the bell peppers - once cool enough to handle, peel with your hands, and discard the skin and seeds.
5) Blend everything - add the cleaned, roasted peppers to the food processor containing the walnuts and cumin seeds with the rest of the ingredients.
6) Serve - transfer to a serving bowl. Using the back of a spoon, give it a wavy texture. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and serve at room temperature. Serve with flatbread or chips.
Garnish - optionally garnish with fresh parsley or extra walnuts.
Hint: although most people have no digestive issues after eating red bell pepper, some may get a stomachache or even diarrhea. This is because they may have trouble breaking down the outer skin.
Muhammara is excellent because for these people, roasting red peppers and then removing their skins may help to digest them more easily.
This step is inherent to the preparation of the Muhammara dip.
Substitutions and Variations
If you can't find pomegranate molasses, you either substitute it with:
- A mix of 3 tablespoons of pomegranate juice and 1 teaspoon of agave or maple syrup.
- A mix of 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon agave or maple syrup.
Instead of cumin seeds, you could use:
- Ground cumin. In that case, you only need to add it to the blender, instead of toasting it with the walnuts.
- Sumac. Is a Middle Eastern spice that works very well in replacement of cumin.
Gluten-free - You can exclude breadcrumbs; the texture will only change a bit. You could also use gluten-free breadcrumbs.
Whole Food Plant-based and Oil-Free - you can exclude the olive oil altogether, you will only find it less creamy, and you can also exclude the breadcrumbs.
We like serving this Red Pepper Dip with Pita bread, Azim bread (made on the stovetop), as part of a Mezze brunch along with Hummus, Falafel, Tabbouleh, and Babaganoush (roasted eggplant spread). Sometimes we pair it with freshly made Pagnotta Bread (Italian bread loaf) or Focaccia. We just love all kinds of dips!
The reality is that it goes well with everything you can scoop it with... even chips!
Thickness: if you want to thicken the Muhammara dip, add extra breadcrumbs.
Garlic: if you prefer a milder and less intense garlic flavor, along with the walnuts and cumins seeds, roast one or two garlic cloves. Peel them and add them to the blender.
Another way to decrease raw garlic's flavor intensity is by removing its germ out. Just cut the raw garlic in half and pry it with the tip of a knife.
Mortar and Pestle. You can make this recipe using mortar and pestle, for a more textured version of this dip. Ottolenghi has a great textured Muhammara recipe.
Food Processor. We prefer the creamy version, and this is our food processor of choice for most of my preparations, as it works very well both for small and large quantities.
Hint: the equipment you use, makes a big difference in the results. So, if you are all about creaminess, use a high-speed potent food processor. In case, your blender is more potent go for it.
Not only the texture will be silkier, but the ingredients will blend better, directly affecting the flavor.
This roasted bell pepper dip keeps well and even can improve after a day. As with most middle eastern platters, you can prepare it the day before a get-together to keep off some of the natural stress that arises from putting together all the dishes. Just don't serve it fridge-cold.
Health benefits of red bell peppers
The Health Benefits of bell peppers are great! These are some of them!
- Immune System Support - as red bell peppers are high in Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps boosts immune system response to microbes and fight cell damage.
- Improve Eye and Skin Health - they are rich in carotenoids that can help increase blood circulation to your skin and prevent wrinkles, helping it look more youthful. Also, their beta-carotene and beta-carotene content offers support for our overall vision and eye health
- Anti-inflammatory - Bell peppers are anti-inflammatory, as they contain carotenoids. They are also high in vitamins C and A. These beautiful vegetables, although they are technically considered fruits, contain 6 grams of digestible carbs per serving.
- Anemia prevention - red bell peppers are a good source of iron, and they are also rich in vitamin C, an excellent antioxidant, which increases the absorption of iron from our gut. For us vegans... these are extra reasons to consume bell peppers!
- Nutritious and low carb - for those worrying about carb intake, one cup of chopped red bell peppers contains 9 grams of carbohydrates, 3 of which are fiber, which is great to keep things moving!
In short, capsicum benefits (as they are called in the Commonwealth countries) are great, and we should be eating our fair share. Remember, eat the rainbow!
Try to include as many colors as you can on your plate.
More Middle-Eastern Favorites
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Recipe: Muhammara Dip (Roasted Bell Pepper Dip)
- 2 red peppers large
- 2 ounces breadcrumbs
- 5 ounces walnuts
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or 3 tablespoon pomegranate juice + 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 ½ teaspoon cumin seeds or ground (sumac also works)
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or ½ teaspoon red chili flakes + ¾ teaspoon paprika
- 1 garlic clove medium (or 2 smalls), peeled, and crushed
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for roasting the peppers
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to blend in
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil to serve
- 1 tablespoon parsley chopped (optional to garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 370 ºF.
- Brush the bell peppers with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and place in a lightly oiled oven-safe pan or cast-iron skillet.2 red peppers
- Roast the peppers, turning them once until they are cooked and the skin is blackened. About 30 minutes.2 red peppers
- In a flat pan, roast the walnuts with the cumin seeds on a medium flame for 2-3 minutes. Add them to the food processor and blend until powdered—Reserve in the food processor container.5 ounces walnuts, 1 ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- Roat the garlic. This step is optional, but I prefer to do it as the raw garlic has a pungent flavor, and I prefer to roast it to get a more delicate flavor.
- Cover. Put the peppers in a saucepan and cover with a lid. Once cool, peel, and discard the skin and seeds.2 red peppers
- Blend. Now add the cleaned, roasted peppers to the food processor containing the walnuts and cumin seeds, blend the rest of the ingredients. Blend into a smooth paste.2 red peppers, 2 ounces breadcrumbs, 5 ounces walnuts, 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses, 1 ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, 1 garlic clove, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, ¾ teaspoon sea salt, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Adjust. Add using more pomegranate juice (or molasses), lemon juice, and salt to taste. We are aiming for an intense flavor.
- Serve. Transfer to a serving bowl. Spoon the dip into a shallow bowl and spread it using the back of a spoon to give it a wavy texture. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and serve at room temperature.
- Garnish. Optionally garnish with fresh parsley. Serve with flatbread or pita chips.1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Muhammara dip calories
We sometimes take for granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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