Muhammara is a delicious, creamy dip packed with Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern flavors and perfect as an appetizer, spread, or side dish.

This recipe combines the fruity, spicy, sweet, nutty, rich, and tangy flavors of roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, walnuts, garlic, onion, and cumin into one of the best dips you’ll ever taste.

Muhammara with pomegranate and parsley

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Muhammara is a red pepper and walnut dip from Syria. It is one of the best representations of Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cuisine, combining simple natural ingredients into a dish with bright colors and bold flavors.

You’ll love muhammara because it connects you to distant cultures where food has been at the center of local communities for millennia.

You can make muhammara by coarsely blending roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, cumin, olive oil, breadcrumbs, chilies, or red pepper flakes.

If you have it, top it with pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses. Serve it at the center of the table, part of a beautiful appetizer platter with a warm pita or flatbread.

Watch the people at your table dig in, taste the Muhammara and be in awe. How can such a simple dip taste so good?

Attribution: This recipe is inspired by Ottolenghi’s Muhammara.

Muhammara with hand

Ingredients

Muhammara ingredients

Olive oil

We use good quality extra virgin olive oil to roast the veggies and drizzle on top of the dip.

Red bell pepper

We recommend using fresh red bell peppers and roasting them at home for the best results.

You can make muhammara with roasted jarred bell peppers; however, remember that those are often preserved in citric acid or vinegar, making the dish tangier than it should be. Still delicious but less authentic.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes add sweetness and natural acidity, and we roast them with bell peppers to enhance their flavor.

Onion

White or yellow onion, chopped into chunks and roasted with bell peppers and tomatoes.

Tomato paste

Tomato paste adds richness and umami. Get thick tomato paste that comes in a tube, not a can. We cook it with the garlic for a couple of minutes before adding it to the food processor with the other ingredients to make it taste less raw and more flavorful.

Garlic

Use fresh garlic, finely chopped or grated.

Red pepper flakes

We use red pepper flakes to add some spice to the Muhammara.

Substitute Aleppo pepper flakes, red chili peppers, or cayenne pepper for red pepper flakes. Add as much as you like.

Cumin

Cumin adds a beautiful aroma, and we strongly recommend it. You can use ground cumin or cumin seeds.

Walnuts

Walnuts are another traditional ingredient in muhammara. They add a pleasant nutty flavor and crunch to this red pepper dip.

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are optional, but we like to add them to thicken up the muhammara and make it more creamy and spreadable.

There are different ways of making this recipe that vary slightly based on local traditions. For example, some make a thick muhammara with breadcrumbs, while others leave the breadcrumbs out and make a thinner, runnier muhammara.

There’s no right or wrong amount of breadcrumbs. Add as much as you need, depending on how wet your ingredients are until you reach your desired consistency.

Use gluten-free breadcrumbs if you are allergic to gluten.

Pomegranate molasses

Pomegranate molasses is not the most common ingredient, so don’t worry if you don’t have them at home; you can make a delicious muhammara without it. We purchase it online.

Pomegranate molasses is reduced pomegranate juice, and they have a syrupy consistency and a sweet and sour flavor to add some tang to our dip.

You can replace them with a balsamic vinegar glaze or squeezed lemon juice.

Pomegranate seeds

We use pomegranate seeds as a garnish on top. They add a beautiful deep red color, freshness, and fruitiness to the dip.

Parsley

For garnish on top, optional. Flat-leaf parsley is best.

Salt and pepper

We use sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Equipment

While muhammara was originally made with mortar and pestle, we can easily make it at home with a food processor.

Muhammara with naan bread

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Rinse and chop the red bell peppers, tomatoes, and onion into large chunks and add them to the baking sheet.

Season them with olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss with your hands, then arrange the veggies on a single layer without too much overlapping.

bell pepper and tomatoes on a tray

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the bell peppers are fully cooked and well charred outside.

Tip: charring equals flavor, so we want those dark colors to develop.

roasted bell peppers on a tray

Let them cool down slightly, then peel the skin of the bell peppers. Try to peel off as much as possible, but don’t worry if some don’t come off. That’s perfectly normal.

peeling skin off a bell pepper

In the meantime, add olive oil, grated garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, and tomato paste to a small skillet.

Stir and fry for 2 to 3 minutes until the tomato paste darkens in color and you smell the fragrant aroma of the spices.

tomato paste and spices

Then to a food processor, add the tomato paste mixture, roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, walnuts, and pomegranate molasses.

bell pepper, walnuts and sundried tomatoes in blender

Pulse a few times until you reach a creamy yet coarse texture. Don’t over-blend the ingredients; muhammara should be coarse, not perfectly smooth.

IMPORTANT: depending on your ingredients and how much water they hold, you can add in breadcrumbs to thicken up the dip.

Add a few tablespoons at a time, pulse, then add more, if necessary, until you reach your desired consistency.

We’ve done this recipe many times, and it’s impossible to give precise measurements for breadcrumbs. We usually add between 1/2 cup and 1 cup of breadcrumbs.

blended muhammara dip

Taste and adjust for salt and molasses, then transfer on a serving platter or bowl, spread it out with the back of a spoon, drizzle with pomegranate molasses, extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, and chopped parsley.

Muhammara with flatbread

Serving Suggestions

Our favorite way of serving muhammara is as part of a mezze or appetizer platter with warm pita bread or flatbread and dukkah, a crunchy Egyptian and Middle-Eastern nut-spice mix that tastes incredible.

Muhammara with naan bread

Other easy and delicious appetizer recipes to serve it with are:

mezze platter with tabbouleh and hummus

Or serve it as a dinner with one of our veggie-packed mains, such as:

Tips

Freshly roasted bell peppers vs. jarred bell pepper

If you don’t have time to roast the bell peppers yourself, we recommend using jarred roasted bell peppers and tweaking the recipe slightly.

  1. Omit the tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes are way too watery and acidic to add to this dip without roasting them, so keep them out.
  2. Chop the onion finely, then fry it in a pan with olive oil for 5 minutes before adding grated garlic, tomato paste, cumin, and red pepper flakes and frying for another couple of minutes.
  3. Now add all ingredients, except bread crumbs, to the food processor and pulse until you reach your desired texture.
  4. Add bread crumbs a little at a time until you reach your desired texture.

Questions

What does muhammara taste like?

Muhammara has a similar, although more aromatic, taste to Italian red pepper pesto and Spanish Romesco sauce.

You can expect familiar roasted flavors from the red peppers, onion, and tomatoes, combined with garlic and cumin notes. It also has a mild sweetness from the pomegranate seeds and molasses and a hint of nuttiness from the walnuts.

If you are a fan of flavorful dips, you’ll love this one!

What do you eat muhammara with?

Eat muhammara with a warm pita or with other types of flatbreads. Serve it as part of an appetizer platter with other Mediterranean and middle-eastern dishes such as hummus, baba ganoush, roasted eggplants and zucchini, tzatziki sauce, and more.

Is there tahini in muhammara?

No, there is no tahini in muhammara.

Make Ahead & Storage

Make ahead: to get ahead in the kitchen, we recommend roasting onion, tomatoes, and bell peppers and peeling the bell peppers ahead of time. You can do so up to 3 days in advance and store them in the fridge in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.

Refrigerator: store leftover muhammara in the fridge for up to 5 days. We recommend putting it in a small bowl or an airtight container, covered by a thin layer of olive oil and plastic wrap to keep it fresh.

Freezer: transfer it to a freezer-friendly container – we often use a jar – and freeze it for up to 6 months.

Thaw: defrost in the fridge slowly, for example, overnight.

Reheat: muhammara is served at room temperature, so there’s no need to reheat it. However, we recommend taking it out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving it to allow the flavors to come alive.

More Dips and Spreads

More Bell Pepper Recipes

For more condiment ideas, check out our dressing and sauces category page.

Muhammara in a bowl

Muhammara

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 5 votes
Muhammara is a delicious, creamy dip packed with Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern flavors and perfect as an appetizer, spread, or side dish.
This recipe combines the fruity, spicy, sweet, nutty, rich, and tangy flavors of roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, walnuts, garlic, onion, and cumin into one of the best dips you'll ever taste.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 people
Course: Appetizer, Side dish
Cuisine: Middle-Eastern

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients

  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 vine tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • ½ to 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt + 2 twists of black pepper optional

Garnish With

  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley chopped

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F or 200°C. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
    Chop bell peppers into large pieces, cut tomatoes and onion into quarters, and add them to the baking tray on a single layer.
    Season with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss with your hands.
    bell pepper and tomatoes on a tray
  • Bake for 40 minutes until bell peppers are soft and charred.
    roasted bell peppers on a tray
  • Let cool down slightly, then peel bell peppers. Don't worry if some peel won't come off.
    peeling skin off a bell pepper
  • In the meantime, add the remaining olive oil, grated garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, and tomato paste to a small skillet and fry for 3 minutes, stirring often.
    tomato paste and spices
  • To a food processor, add tomato paste mixture, roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, walnuts, and pomegranate molasses.
    bell pepper, walnuts and sundried tomatoes in blender
  • Pulse a few times until you get a creamy yet coarse texture.
    Now add a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs at a time, pulse, then add more, if necessary, until you reach your desired consistency.
    blended muhammara dip
  • Taste and adjust for salt and molasses, transfer to a serving platter, spread it out with the back of a spoon, and drizzle with pomegranate molasses, olive oil, pomegranate seeds, and chopped parsley.
    Serve with warm pita bread or any other type of flatbread.
    Muhammara with flatbread

Video

My version of Muhammara | super tasty and creamy dip!

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for one large serving of muhammara out of 8 servings. If you use this in an appetizer platter you can serve more than 8 people.
SUBSTITUTIONS
– Extra virgin olive oil: substitute regular olive oil.
– Fresh red bell peppers: substitute with pre-roasted jarred red bell peppers. See tip below on how to use them.
– Tomatoes: substitute with 4 sun-dried tomatoes for a thicker muhammara.
– Red pepper flakes: substitute with Aleppo peppers or with cayenne pepper.
– Cumin: you can omit the cumin.
– Breadcrumbs: substitute with gluten-free breadcrumbs if allergic to gluten.
– Pomegranate molasses: substitute with balsamic vinegar glaze, balsamic vinegar, or with lemon juice.
TIP
If you don’t have time to roast the bell peppers, we recommend using jarred roasted bell peppers and tweaking the recipe slightly.
  1. Omit the tomatoes or use sub dried tomatoes instead. Fresh tomatoes are way too watery and acidic to add to this dip without roasting them, so keep them out.
  2. Chop the onion finely, then fry it in a pan with olive oil for 5 minutes before adding grated garlic, tomato paste, cumin, and red pepper flakes and frying for another couple of minutes.
  3. Now add all ingredients, except bread crumbs, to the food processor and pulse until you reach your desired texture.
  4. Add bread crumbs a little at a time until you reach your desired texture.
MAKE AHEAD & STORAGE
– Make ahead: to get ahead in the kitchen, we recommend roasting onion, tomatoes, and bell peppers and peeling the bell peppers ahead of time. You can do so up to 3 days in advance and store them in the fridge in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.
– Refrigerator: store leftover muhammara in the fridge for up to 5 days. We recommend putting it in a small bowl or an airtight container, covered by a thin layer of olive oil and plastic wrap to keep it fresh.
– Freezer: transfer it to a freezer-friendly container – we often use a jar – and freeze it for up to 6 months.
– Thaw: defrost in the fridge slowly, for example, overnight.
– Reheat: muhammara is served at room temperature, so there’s no need to reheat it. However, we recommend taking it out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving it to allow the flavors to come alive.
Attribution: This recipe is inspired by Ottolenghi’s Muhammara.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 227kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 385mg, Dietary Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 2308IU, Vitamin B6: 0.3mg, Vitamin C: 86mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 28µg, Calcium: 47mg, Folate: 63µg, Iron: 2mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 43mg, Zinc: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below or mention @theplantbasedschool on Instagram. We are also on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.

If you liked this Muhammara recipe, you might also enjoy the following:

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”LKhAGmT4″ upload-date=”2023-02-01T13:04:34.000Z” name=”Muhammara.mov” description=”Muhammara is a delicious, creamy dip packed with Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern flavors and perfect as an appetizer, spread, or side dish.

This recipe combines the fruity, spicy, sweet, nutty, rich, and tangy flavors of roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, walnuts, garlic, onion, and cumin into one of the best dips you’ll ever taste.” player-type=”default” override-embed=”default”]


Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

5 from 5 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My husband and I just tried this for lunch on pita bread. So tasty!!!! Excellent combinations of flavors. I love that I now have a unique appetizer to impress friends with. I will check out more of your plant based recipes. Thanks very much.

    1. Wonderful combination, Karen. Muhammara and pita is such a treat 🎉

      Thank you for your comment and rating, happy to have you here 🥰 Kindest, Louise

  2. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe. Full of flavours, healthy and so easy to make.
    thanks.
    sb, Oakville, Ontario Canada

    1. Fantastic, Stephanie!
      I’m delighted you liked the muhammara. Thanks so much for leaving a comment here.
      Kindest, Louise

  3. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe for the first time and it’s delicious, I have a plant-based diet and I often look for ways to incorporate proteins, this is very healthy, I hydrated the nuts, which I think is better, and then I baked them a bit, to avoid the combination of starch with protein, I ate it with vegetables, all the recipes on this site worked for me and they are very delicious.

    Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Valentina,
      I’m so happy to hear that you liked the muhammara. Thanks so much for the tips regarding hydrating the nuts, that is very useful!
      Thanks again for taking the time to leave a comment here.
      Kindest regards,
      Louise