This vibrant Middle Eastern appetizer is made with roasted red peppers, walnuts and spices. It’s a great vegan side dish for a gathering, and also gluten-free. Muhammara will make you fall in love with pomegranate molasses, a sweet, tangy, deep-garnet syrup reminiscent of an aged balsamic vinegar. It helps make the dip sweet, salty and sour with a hint of heat. And who can resist a dish crowned with beautiful ruby-red pomegranate seeds?
- 1 cup toasted walnuts
- 2 large red bell pepper
- 4 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus extra, for drizzling
- 2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 Thai red chili
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill, for garnish
Heat oven to 350ºF. Place walnuts on baking sheet. Toast on middle rack of oven for 8–10 minutes, or until skins look darkened.
Increase oven heat to 400ºF. Place pepper on baking tray. Roast on lower rack of oven for 45 minutes, rotating once, until skins are blackened. Remove from oven and immediately place in plastic bag for 15 minutes. When cool, discard stem and peel skin. Discard membrane and seeds. Set aside.
In bowl of food processor, add red pepper, garlic, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, salt, cumin and chili. Purée for 2 minutes, until it appears smooth and creamy. Add walnuts and pulse a few times until chunky. Transfer dip to wide, shallow bowl. Using spatula, create well in middle of dip. Drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with pomegranate seeds and dill.
Enjoy with crudités, crackers, kettle-cooked potato chips or flatbread. Serves 4–6.
Sparkling Chardonnay, like those made in Champagne have the complexity and concentration to keep up with roasted red pepper and walnuts. However the bubbles and vibrant acidity help to keep things light and refreshing.