Make Ahead

How Do I Love Thee Muhammara?

August 27, 2010
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Makes 1 1/2 cups
Author Notes

I first tasted this at a conference for food bloggers in London, and I was SOLD. To make it, roasted red peppers are blitzed with toast, then spiced with the usual Levant suspects: pomegranate molasses, cumin, and Aleppo pepper. Make a lot, you won't regret it! To blacken the peppers, I skewer them with fondue forks and use those as the handle to cook them on my stove. To peel them after the perfunctory bagging, I start from the bottom end and keep a small knife handy to help scrape off tough bits. Whatever you do, DO NOT RINSE THE PEPPERS, as that will strip them of their flavor. I use almonds in this recipe because I love almonds, but the version I had in London was made with a combo of walnuts and cashews. You can make it however you like! —Kitchen Butterfly

Test Kitchen Notes

Red pepper lovers, gather round! This spread is a satisfying, hearty alternative to your everyday hummus. The blend of walnuts and fresh bread crumbs gives a toothy, welcome mouthfeel, and the rather significant dose of cayenne (I didn't have Aleppo on hand) had me reaching for this to spread on sandwiches, top veggie lunch bowls (#notsaddesklunch-approved), and liven up some Greek yogurt. With that said, if you have a low spice tolerance, I recommend reducing the amounts called for here. —Lauren Ruben

What You'll Need
  • 2 slices whole grain bread, toasted
  • 80 grams raw walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon smoky paprika
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoons Aleppo or cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry-roasted cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves of roasted or smoked garlic, smashed
  • 2 red bell peppers, blackened, skinned, with veins and seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, plus extra to drizzle on top
  • 20 milliliters olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. To a food processor, add the dry ingredients (bread, walnuts, paprika, pepper, and cumin seeds), followed by the garlic and cooked red peppers.
  2. Blitz, stopping at regular intervals, until well combined. Scrape down the sides.
  3. Add the liquids, then blitz again until well combined. Taste. You can increase the sweetness by adding more molasses, or amp up the sourness with a touch more lemon juice. Salt to taste, and serve with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.
  4. Use muhammara as a dip, a spread, or in place of pizza sauce. You can even add some stock and a touch of yogurt to make it into a spicy soup.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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  • Transcendancing
  • Donna Strobel Prall
    Donna Strobel Prall
  • Natalie
  • lalf
I love food and I'm interested in making space for little-heard voices, as well as celebrating Nigerian cuisine in its entirety.

14 Reviews

Maaahia July 25, 2020
This is delicious. I made it for a party and a friend stole what little was left of it at the end by hiding it in his girlfriend's handbag. I think that says it all! Will send him the link.
Also, if you're in a rush (or lazy) you can bake the red peppers in the oven and leave the skin on. It saves a lot of time, especially if you're making a lot (which you should).
Enneagram April 17, 2018
If you're serving this as a dip, it looks cool with toasted walnuts and pomegranate seeds on top. :)
Chris G. September 27, 2017
To lalf:
FYI: Many spice markets and grocery stores carry two versions of cayenne pepper, can't remember the specifics about their different heat ratings, (scoville units I think it is), however , one is "fairly low rating & the other is "OH-MY-GOD" flaming hot!
I decided to do some internet research before I opened my mouth to tell you that eating really hot food with lots of capsaicin can cause permanent intestinal tract damage! (used to work in southern Calif. with a bunch of Hispanics that maintained it did! Anyway here is a couple of links, read them and you be the judge!)
(I used to eat those really hot dried chilies they put in Chinese food, stomach has never been the same since, but I also tend to be a worry wart too and the two are not a good combination!)
Transcendancing March 19, 2016
Really enjoyed this! Would note that your 2 capsicums do need to be on the larger side, or add another one. Spicy and delicious :)
Donna S. November 1, 2015
Can I buy it already made? What else can you do with it besides bread spreas+
Natalie August 7, 2015
This sounds like a middle eastern version of romesco sauce. Yum!!
lalf April 20, 2015
There is a vast difference between the heat in a teaspoon of Aleppo red pepper versus one of cayenne pepper. A teaspoon of Aleppo, which, like the Turkish Urfa, offers more depth and complexity than many other ground red peppers, should work well here, while a teaspoon of cayenne pepper would likely obliterate the other lovely flavors in the dip. I prefer spices to be balanced and supportive in a recipe. That said, I like to experiment and will probably make this — with Aleppo! : )
chris September 5, 2014
I was just looking for something to do with the bountiful peppers in my garden, and came across this recipe. Sounds marvelous. For the person with the walnut allergy: my granddaughter's school has outlawed all nuts (tree and ground) and I use flax seeds to replace walnuts. They don't taste the same, but they provide the omega-3 fats. You could also go with sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds, if you have a problem with all nuts.
Patti L. July 18, 2014
I'm allergic to walnuts...has anyone tried substituting other nuts? If so, which work best? Thanks!
EmilyC December 4, 2012
Lovely recipe for such a wonderful dip!
aargersi November 28, 2012
I love this - I know I have read over it before but not done anything about it - time to change that! Muhamarra here I come!
onetribegourmet January 15, 2011
Gosh I love muhammara! Gorgeous recipe! :)
Kitchen B. August 28, 2010
I had these at a lebanese restaurant and every one came back for more till it was ALL gone.
adamnsvetcooking August 27, 2010
I love muhammara too! That was one of my favorite things to eat when I worked in Lebanese restaurant, long long time ago