Every time I’ve taken this dip to a gathering during pre-pandemic times, it was a huge hit! I’d venture to say that hummus is probably the most famous and popular one of middle eastern dips, judging from my experience in what people bring to gatherings and potlucks. Whenever I’d arrive at a party, I’d set out my dish along with assorted sliced veggies, crackers and middle eastern flatbread. And if someone asked what it was I’d tell them all about muhammara, my all-time favorite dip. Muhammara’s brick-red color comes from its ingredients: garlic, roasted red bell peppers, toasted walnuts or almonds and pomegranate syrup. During the summer it’s wonderful made with freshly roasted peppers from the garden or farm market, but off season it’s perfectly acceptable and delicious using a jar of ready-to-use roasted sweet red peppers. Walnuts are traditional, but I’m partial to using almonds here. For those of you who are unfamiliar with pomegranate syrup, it’s so worth having a small bottle of it in your fridge! Most supermarkets now carry it in their “international section”. It’s a dark red, sweet-tart and sticky-thick liquid that really makes all the difference in the end result of this concoction. If you can’t or don’t want to get this syrup you can substitute a couple of tablespoons of cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey or agave syrup. This dip keeps well for about a week covered and refrigerated in an airtight container. It’s also tasty as a spread on some freshly baked crusty bread topped with arugula!
Roasted Red Pepper and Almond or Walnut Dip
- 2 generous cups of walnuts or almonds
- 3 to 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 16 ounce jar of roasted red bell peppers, drained and patted dry
- 1/4 cup of pomegranate syrup
- 3 to 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- a little cayenne pepper to taste
Toast the sliced almonds or walnuts in a pan until they are fragrant.
Set them aside to cool while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.
Set up your food processor and pulse the nuts and garlic until coarsely chopped.
Add the roasted peppers, pomegranate syrup, cumin, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt.
Pulse everything into a finely ground paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.
Taste, adjust seasoning with more lemon juice, pomegranate syrup and cayenne if needed.