The first time I had muhammara I was sitting inside one of the most beautiful restaurants in Philly, chewing in awe at what I had just eaten. It was so rich, earthy, and spiced to perfection. That Philly restaurant is called Suraya, which would later become the best restaurant in the city multiple years running, so needless to say mine is not as good as theirs. But, it’s pretty good.
At the risk of totally defacing the history surrounding this Syrian dip, let me just briefly describe it. Muhammara means “reddened”,” and it gets that name because the star ingredient is red peppers. Combined with toasted walnuts, olive oil, a touch of honey, and a few spices, this dip is a star whether you’re serving it as an appetizer, stirring it into warm grains, or spreading it on toast.
Traditional recipes call for pomegranate molasses, which imparts a warm sweetness. It can be tough to find, which is why I call for honey in my recipe. If you happen upon it, I would definitely recommend trying the pomegranate molasses as it’s way more authentic and really compliments the roasted red peppers.
My favorite way to serve this dip is alongside fresh vegetables and warm pita bread. Other uses include spreading it on toast or a sandwich, or stirring it into cooked grains for a creamy side (I recommend heartier grains such as farro or brown rice).
If you try this dip, be sure to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram! I hope you enjoy this recipe!
1 12oz jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 cup walnuts
½ cup bread crumbs
1 ½ tbsp honey
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more
½ tsp smoked paprika
½-1 tsp crushed red chili flakes (depending on heat preference)
Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a 375 degree oven, toast the walnuts on a clean sheet tray, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. When finished, set a handful of walnuts aside to garnish. Add the rest to a food processor.
- Add all other ingredients to the food processor and pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with another drizzle of olive oil, the reserved walnuts, and flaky sea salt. Serve with warm pita bread, chips, or cut vegetables.