Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Spread)
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A delicious rich red pepper spread with walnuts and a hint of spiciness.
Make this the day before serving to allow the flavors of the spices to mix. The olive oil may separate slightly, so stir well before serving.
Makes 1 cup or more
2 to 3 whole roasted peppers (from jar or roasted yourself)
2/3 cup bread crumbs (see below to make your own)
1 cup walnuts, toasted
4 large garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons clover agave nectar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more for added spice)
In a blender or food processor, combine the peppers and all the remaining ingredients. Taste, and add more spice or salt as necessary.
Serving suggestions and variations
Garnish with toasted pine nuts
To toast walnuts, just place them on a toaster oven tray and toast for 5 minutes; watch closely or they will burn.
Serve with pita triangles, fresh bread, crackers, chips, carrots, mushrooms, cucumber, etc.
To make your own bread crumbs: Place some bread (stale bread works great) in the oven until it’s crispy but not really browned – at 300 degrees). Let it cool, then add it to your food processor until it is reduced to crumbs. Add Italian herbs such as dried oregano, thyme, basil, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper, etc. Enjoy!
To roast your own pepper: Heat the oven to 525 degrees (or use your broiler if you have one). Place peppers on an oiled cookie sheet. Roast on the highest rack for about 30 minutes or until they turn completely black. It’s not necessary to turn them. Remove them from the oven, and put them in a paper bag right away. Let them cool before handling them. The blackened skin will then just peel off after only about 10 minutes in the bag. Roasting peppers over an open flame is also a great way to do it (and you don’t need any oil). Use your gas range or grill. Use tongs and just turn over an open flame for about 10 minutes until charred. Proceed as above.