A Fresh & Bright, Non-Guacamole Dip for the Middle of Winter

If you aren’t familiar with the roasted red pepper dip muhammara, it’s time to get acquainted. It’s earthy and smoky, with just the right level of spice. Amazing smeared on bread or pita, it also makes a great dip for vegetables.

(Photo: Heather St. Pierre/Food52)

My version uses jarred roasted red peppers, which makes it perfect for these dull winter months when fresh local produce isn’t available. It also makes it super quick to whip together on a whim.

You can play with the spice levels, adjusting them up or down to suit your individual taste. We love Aleppo pepper, so there’s a good, healthy dose in this version. The texture can also be adjusted by changing the mixing method. We like to make ours in the food processor for a chunkier, heartier dip, but you could alternatively use a blender for silky-smooth perfection.

Makes about 2 cups

12 ounces jar of roasted red peppers

2/3 cup fine fresh breadcrumbs
½ cup walnuts
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Drain and rinse peppers, then layer them between paper towels to dry while preparing other ingredients.

(Photo: Heather St. Pierre/Food52)

Mound breadcrumbs on one half of a baking sheet and spread walnuts on the other half; roast for 5 to 10 minutes to slightly dry the crumbs and toast walnuts. Remove the nuts to a cutting board to cool, then put them in the food processor and pulse to finely chop.

Add peppers and remaining ingredients, starting with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Pulse 10 to 15 times until desired consistency is reached, adding more oil if needed.

(Photo: Heather St. Pierre/Food52)

Transfer to bowl and cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour to let the flavors blend. Adjust seasoning and serve at cold or at room temperature with pitas, toasted bread, or raw vegetables for dipping.

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