All I wanted was hummus... and then I found this.
I love trying new things. It just opens up my world to new possibilities. Even if I'm not so crazy about it, at least it's a new experience. Wouldn't you agree?
So like I said: all I wanted was hummus. I usually make my own from scratch but it was a particularly busy week so Robin and I went to buy some along with our other weekly groceries. Beside the hummus in the refrigerator section of our local grocery store there are loads of other dips, but usually they include some kind of dairy product in the form of yogurt or cheese... but then Robin picked up this container called "Muhammara" - I had never heard of it before and after skimming the ingredient list and learning it was plant-based, we decided to give it a try.
I'll be honest, it was... different. A good different, but it'll throw you off if you're expecting hummus.
It's zesty, but also nutty from the roasted walnuts. Creamy from the roasted bell peppers (or paprikas, as they call them here in Holland), and a tad spicy from the cayenne.
Nevertheless, I was surprised I hadn't heard of it before. I did a little research and it turns out Muhammara is a common spread in Syria, Turkey and a handful of other countries. There happens to be a large population of Turkish people where we live, so I imagine that's why the spread was available at the local shop, and probably why I hadn't heard about it where I lived in Vancouver previously.
Anyway, the point is this: it was interesting. And after looking at the ingredient list I decided to try making it myself.
The traditional recipe calls for pomegranate molasses, and as wonderful as I'm sure it makes it taste, I'm not about to buy a whole jar to use just for this one time. But what I did have on hand was fresh pomegranates, so I decided to give that a try. And it turned out great! Robin said he liked it more than the one we bought at the store. Maybe he's just being sweet, but I really enjoyed this too if I can say so humbly.
It only lasted a couple days. We enjoyed it with some toasted pita chips the evening it was made, then spread it in our mediterranean veggie "chicken" wraps the next day for lunch, and also dipped into it while enjoying this baked dill falafel nourish bowl that evening.
So if you're looking to try something different, and want something other than hummus for once... give this a go. You'll be pleasantly surprised!
Muhammara - Turkish Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Spread
▸ ▹ Vegan, gluten-free
Yield: approx. 1.5 cups
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Total Time: 20 min
2 medium red bell peppers, halved, seeded
1 tsp (5 mL) olive oil
1/2 cup (60 g) raw walnuts
1/4 cup (35 g) fresh pomegranate seeds*
1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 Tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice, from ~1/4 large lemon
1 clove garlic
2/3 cup (90 g) breadcrumbs (GF if desired)**
2 tsp (10 mL) agave syrup, or sub maple syrup
1 tsp (5 g) ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or chili flakes, or more to taste
INGREDIENTS: Optional Garnish
Toasted pita bread
Preheat the oven to 450 F/ 230 C. Toss the bell peppers in 1 tsp olive oil and place on aluminum foil on a baking sheet and roast until slightly charred, about 20-25 minutes. Rotate on occasion for even cooking. When 6 minutes remain, add the raw walnuts so they become lightly toasted. Stir at halfway point.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, pull off the skin from the bell peppers.
Place all the ingredients, except for the walnuts, in a food processor and blend until smooth and well-combined. Then add the walnuts last and blend only momentarily so the walnuts are coarsely chopped to give the dip some texture.
Taste test and add more cayenne or chili to your desired level of spice. Enjoy!
* Traditionally muharammara calls for pomegranate molasses. If you have this on hand, add 2 tsp (10 mL) in place of the fresh pomegranate seeds.
** You can substitute the breadcrumbs for cooked couscous or quinoa.
Speed-it-up: purchasing a jar of roasted bell peppers or pre-roasted walnuts will quicken the cooking time.
Storage: store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Did You Try This Recipe?
Let me know how it went! Comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #pickuplimes