Monday, November 12, 2012


I don't know how I went so many years without even hearing of muhammara
but when I found it on a vegetable antipasto at my favorite local restaurant,
it was love at first bite.

Muhammara is a Middle Eastern dip but I've used it in sandwiches of grilled eggplant, 
in quesadillas, or mixed in to a little pasta.  It's versatile.  If I were to describe it to
someone who's never had it, I would say it's like a sweet red pepper pesto.  

When time allows, I like to do everything from scratch but I've added a few shortcuts in red
that will allow you to whip this up in a few minutes with things can keep in your pantry.

                    Ingedients                         (Quick-n-Easy alternative in red)              

                    1 cup walnuts, toasted  (toasting optional to save time)                      
                    3 sweet red peppers, roasted (or use one 12-oz. bottle roasted red peppers)        
                    2/3 cup plain bread crumbs (or throw one piece pita bread in food processor)          
                    3 cloves garlic
                    3 T. fresh lemon juice (don't you dare use the fake stuff)
                    1 T. paprika
                    1 tsp. cumin
                    1 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste)
                    1 tsp. salt
                    1/2 tsp black pepper
                    2 T. pomegranate molasses* (2 T. pomegranate juice, optional)
                    3 T. olive oil

                    Extra olive oil, moroccan black olives and spring of mint for garnish

                   * See recipe for pomegranate molasses below

Brush peppers with oil and roast in 400 F. oven.  Roast about 30-35 minutes,
flipping once or twice so they brown evenly.  When tender and collapsed, set aside
to cool.  Remove stems, seeds and skin.

On another baking sheet, toast the walnuts for about 7 minutes.
Watch them closely; they burn quickly!  Set aside to cool.

1 16-oz. bottle of pomegranate juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 lemon juice

Heat pomegranate juice to boiling.  Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
Add lemon juice and reduce heat to a simmer.

Simmer until liquid is reduced to about one cup.

Remove from heat and cool.

Extra molasses can be stored in a glass jar in fridge for a few months.

In a food processor, start with the walnuts, bread and dry ingredients to make sure
they're well integrated.  Add the peppers and wet ingredients and puree until smooth.
Use a spatula to push ingredients down a few times
End with the olive oil and add one tablespoon at a time.  You may not need all the liquid
and it's a great place to cut on calories if you want to.

Can be served immediately or stored in refrigerator for a few days.

Garnish with moroccan black olives and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Serve with any kind of bread.  I love toasted pita points because there's
something satisfying about eating something with a little crunch.



  1. GORGEOUS! AND delish sounding, watermark boy!! Bravo!!

    ...and here I thought the title was just you...clearing your throat!

  2. OMG I love this dip/spread, call it what you will.
    I have saved a recipe forever in my bookmarks just waiting for the day.

    I like your recipe better.

    The time may have come.

    xo Jane

  3. that sounds so delicious!! Thanks for sharing! I'll have to try it!

  4. My favorite brunch spot here in Jacksonville has muhammara on their hummus platter and it is to.die.for. Theirs has a kick to it that I absolutely love.

  5. This sounds delicious even if the name sounds like a villain's laugh: mwahahah.

  6. Ok that has my mouth watering all the way over here in the Highlands of Scotland, going to give it a go. Sadly pomegranate molasses is not stocked over here, so juice it will have to be.
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. That looks fabulous - and great photos! Will definitely give it a try this weekend.
    All best,

  8. Where has this been my whole life? My family would absolutely love this. I am going to give this a try for Christmas when everyone is home!! Great photos too!

  9. Not only is this a beautifu presentation but it sounds fabulous and I will definitely try it out!

    Enjoy your day Steve!

  10. I have never heard of it either. Sounds fabulous but it have to be for guests only as I am allergic to bell peppers,which stinks because I love them.
    I love the simple presentation.

  11. Learn something new every day. Never heard of it but it looks amazing.

  12. it just so happens that i have everything but the pomegranate juice. i'm for sure making this. beautiful photos!

  13. This looks not only delicious but very fun to cook on a blustery day...AND eat!

  14. Sounds and looks very good! Gorgeous photos, Steve. We just made Moroccan fish over couscous this past weekend....this would have been a wonderful appetizer with it.

  15. That looks delicious -- can't wait to try! And, I want to thank you -- I used your diy for removing paint from metal (arm & hammer washing soda and boiling water) -- amazing. It was so easy, i still can't believe it. Now, I can return the paint stripper!!!

    Love your blog & all the gorgeous posts -- your home is such an inspiration. Thanks so much!

  16. Thank you for the feedback on the paint stripping. Glad it worked well for you!

  17. Wow, Beautiful photos!
    Love the wood background.
    I'm hungry.
    This makes me want to go out to eat tonight!

  18. Yum!!!
    just in time for the Holidays!!!!


  19. Love love this dip! Have made it more than two dozen times changing it a little each time. Will make your version this weekend. Thank you for "spreading" the word on this delicious dip'

    1. It is one of those things you could easily tweak a bunch of different ways. Let me know if you do anything differently. I's love to try it.

  20. I have a recipe similar to this that is one of my go to appetizer recipes. Yours sounds much better! I am going to try it Thanksgiving! Thanks for sharing

  21. Steve, This looks wonderful! I am always looking for an alternative for a sandwich spread. It makes of think of a tapenade. I'm saving this recipe. Yum!

  22. Steve,
    There's this little place in Corona del Mar that serves a trio of hummus like dishes and I'll bet this is one...the one that was my favorite, but I didn't know what it was. I never even heard of making pomegranate molasses. I wish I were having this for dinner...tonight. Your photos are so pretty...especially the ingredients one.

  23. Yummo! Have put it on my "to make" list :)

    So happy it's pomegranate time, too-I have a winter Sangria recipe that calls for pommie; making that for T-day.

    Steve, are you cooking fun stuff for turkey day?

  24. Oh my. I so have to try this. Maybe for Thanksgiving. I'm copying your link and passing it around. I can taste it! Your images are stellar, my friend.

  25. I've never heard of this either. Sounds so tasty - and looks delicious too thanks to your great photos! Thanks for the recipe.

  26. I've been searing my peppers over the gas burner... I lose a lot of pepper. Noe I'll roast them!

  27. This sounds perfect for the vegan part of my holiday meal. Thanks Steve!

  28. That looks so tasty!

  29. Must admit I'm pretty intrigued by this recipe. Sounds and looks positively yummy. Shiree'

  30. i love ANYTHING eggplant or Greek or Mediterranean, so Im all about this, but can we just talk about how GREAT your pics are?!?!!? omgosh...

  31. I LOVE muhammara and have been making it for years! Mulit-tasking fun tip: When you make the Pom molasses, if you make a double batch, use it as a glaze/finishing sauce on a rack of lamb and you'll never want for mint jelly again. I have used the store bought molasses from the mid east groceries before, but it's never as good and slightly bitter.

  32. I've never heard of it, but how glorious - it contains everything that I love and looks absolutely delicious. Thank you, Steve, I shall definitely enjoy!

  33. This sounds so wonderful, I can't wait to try it!

  34. Just another reason why I wish I was your neighbor.....I would just stop by unannounced knowing that you had just whipped up a little something......I would bring a nice bottle of wine though.

  35. gosh that looks luscious. are you following ottolenghi in the guardian??? same feel if rather more elaborate prep.