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Muhammara and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

October 10, 2013

Muhammara, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, and Pita BreadPin it!

If you’ve been following my blog long enough, you’ll know that last summer I signed up for a CSA share. Not really a whole share; a half share that Paula and I split with friends by alternating pick up weeks. A half of a half share. And STILL we were drowning in peppers.

Red heirloom peppers of all sizes and shapes. Orange, yellow, green, and purple peppers. Italian frying peppers (Cubanelles). Sweet peppers and spicy peppers. We couldn’t use them up fast enough. In fact, we didn’t use them up fast enough: some of them went bad!

I had pepper shame.

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Then just as the CSA’s summer share was coming to a close, I exchanged a few e-mails with my friend Leah, and she gave me the perfect solution for how I could have used all of those peppers that had wrinkled and rotted under my delinquent supervision.

Roasting Peppers for Muhammara and Hummus

If only we’d had the same e-mail conversation just weeks earlier! All of those peppers could have been so nicely roasted to a crisp, stripped of their peels, slathered in olive oil, and stored away in the freezer for future cooking projects.

Now I know.

Roasting Peppers for Muhammara and Hummus

Leah not only suggested (too late!) that I simply roast and freeze my bounty of peppers; she also sent along her recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. (A flavor of hummus that, I admit, I have purchased from the grocery store.)

Roasted Red Pepper HummusPin it!

At the time, I couldn’t bear to go out and purchase another pepper, since that would have driven home the shame of having wasted so many of its peers.

Instead, I filed away Leah’s recipe where I keep all of my most pressing and important documents—on the desktop of my Macbook—and vowed to redeem myself and make roasted red pepper hummus this summer.

Roasting Peppers for Muhammara and Hummus

I did it—just under the wire! And now I wish I’d (once again) gotten my act together even sooner.

This summer was far too busy to have done justice to even half of a half of a CSA share, but Paula and I picked up some heirloom bell peppers at the farmers market the other day, and we were in business.

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I also couldn’t resist making muhammara, a spicy Middle Eastern red pepper walnut dip/spread.

Muhammara, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, and Pita Bread

I’ve seen recipes for muhammara that use jarred, store bought roasted peppers in olive oil with garlic, but why use someone else’s preserved ingredient when you can make your own? (And roast extra peppers to freeze!)

Roasting Peppers for Muhammara and Hummus

Sure, I failed to roast extra peppers to freeze, but I was quite happy with my decision to make both muhammara and Leah’s roasted red pepper hummus. For one thing, they share so many of the same ingredients, that I felt I’d made super efficient use of my olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne, and garlic. Both dips are also delicious served with fresh homemade pita bread, so of course they go well together as part of an appetizer spread or a Middle Eastern meal. And on top of everything else, I got away with making two dishes but washing the food processor only once… It’s the little things.

Making Muhammara: Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Dip

Leah’s hummus recipe was unique, in that it calls for peanut butter instead of tahini! I used tahini this time, but I think that’s a genius substitution (as opposed to the substitution I always fell back on when I lived in Japan: sesame oil).

Making Muhammara: Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Dip

The ingredient that makes muhammara is the pomegranate molasses (which I bought specifically for making muhammara, but I’ve already used it for like thirty other things). Paula was a bit turned off by the sweetness it gave to the pepper walnut dip, but she had a completely different reaction after the leftovers had chilled overnight in the fridge: that extra time mellowed the sugar and amped up the spice. Day-old muhammara had found a new fan.

Roasted Red Pepper HummusPin it!

The creamy, bright hummus and the thick, spicy walnut spread have both taken up permanent residency in my mental (oh, and now digital) recipe collection.

Roasting Peppers for Muhammara and Hummus

Add these new pepper strategies to the fact that raw bell peppers make for lovely snacks—or lovely substitutes for green beans in this, as we discovered last summer—and I’ll never waste another pepper again.

Muhammara: Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Walnut DipPin it!

Print both recipes. (PDF)
Print Muhammara recipe only. (PDF)
Print Hummus recipe only. (PDF)

RECIPES:

Muhammara

(Serves 4-8)

Ingredients:
~ ½ lb. red bell or heirloom peppers, roasted, peeled, and de-seeded
~ 1¼ cup walnuts, lightly toasted
~ 2 cloves garlic
~ ⅓-½ cup (5-8 Tbsp.) bread crumbs, to taste
~ 3-4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
~ 1½-2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses (depending on your sweetness preference)
~ 1 tsp. sweet paprika
~ ½ tsp. ground cumin
~ ½ tsp. cayenne
~ pinch of chili flakes
~ pinch of salt
~ 3-4 Tbsp. cold water
~ 4-5 Tbsp. olive oil
OPTIONAL:
~ fresh mint, to garnish

Note: There is no real substitute for pomegranate molasses but in the absence of the real thing, adding a pinch of brown sugar and an extra tablespoon of lemon juice couldn’t hurt!

How to make it:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees. Place whole peppers on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and roast for 25-30 min., turning them once halfway through. Remove from the oven and immediately cover the peppers tightly with tin foil for 10 minutes; this will make them easier to peel. Peel the peppers by hand: 95% of the peels should come off easily—especially if the peppers got blackened in enough spots—but it will still be messy! Don’t let the sticky pepper juice, seeds, and slippery roasted peppers discourage you.

Roasting Peppers for Muhammara and Hummus             Making Muhammara: Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Dip

2. In a food processor, combine the peppers, walnuts, and garlic, and give it a few good pulses. Then add some of the bread crumbs along with the lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. Continue to pulse, adjusting amounts (e.g., adding more bread crumbs) if necessary. It should be more of a thick paste than a dip, but should not be too dry. Add the spices and process to combine.

3. While the food processor is running, gradually add the cold water; this will smooth things out a little until it reaches your desired texture. Finally, while the food processor is running, gradually add the olive oil, but avoid processing too much after adding the olive oil to keep it from becoming bitter.

4. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh mint or whole walnuts. Serve with fresh pita bread, with pita chips, or spread on sandwiches.

Print Muhammara recipe only. (PDF)
Print both recipes. (PDF)

Muhammara, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, and Pita BreadPin it!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
(Adapted from my friend Leah’s recipe)

(Serves 4-8)

Ingredients:
~ ½ lb. red bell or heirloom peppers, roasted, peeled, and de-seeded
~ 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can)
~ ¼ cup (4 Tbsp.) peanut butter or tahini
~ 3 cloves garlic
~ ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
~ 1 tsp. ground cumin
~ ¼-½ tsp. cayenne
~ pinch of smoked paprika (optional)
~ generous sprinkle of sea salt
~ 3-4 Tbsp. cold water
~ 3 Tbsp. olive oil

How to make it:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees. Place whole peppers on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and roast for 25-30 min., turning them once halfway through. Remove from the oven and immediately cover the peppers tightly with tin foil for 10 minutes; this will make them easier to peel. Peel the peppers by hand: 95% of the peels should come off easily—especially if the peppers got blackened in enough spots—but it will still be messy! Don’t let the sticky pepper juice, seeds, and slippery roasted peppers discourage you.

Making Roasted Red Pepper HummusMaking Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

2. In a food processor, combine the peppers, chickpeas, peanut butter or tahini, garlic, and lemon juice. Pulse to combine, until the mixture starts to become uniform. Add the spices and process until the mixture is entirely uniform and starting to be smooth.

3. While the food processor is running, gradually add the cold water; this will smooth things out a little until it reaches your desired texture. Finally, while the food processor is running, gradually add the olive oil, but avoid processing too much after adding the olive oil to keep it from becoming bitter.

4. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with good olive oil and sprinkle with sweet or smoked paprika. Serve with fresh pita bread, with pita chips, or spread on sandwiches.

Print Hummus recipe only. (PDF)
Print both recipes. (PDF)

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and MuhammaraPin it!

Related recipe posts:

Homemade Pita and Hummus Beet Hummus Pita Chips with Labne Olive Oil Dip Za'atar Roasted Chickpeas
Homemade Pita Bread & Greek Yogurt Hummus Beet Hummus Homemade Pita Chips & Labne Olive Oil Dip Za’atar Roasted Chickpeas
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37 Comments leave one →
  1. October 10, 2013 8:36 am

    I love hummus and the red pepper seems to be a nice touch on the classic recipe.
    And, your pics look gorgeous. What lovely colors!

    • October 10, 2013 8:53 am

      Thanks! Yes, one nice thing about roasted red pepper hummus is that the red pepper flavor is really pretty subtle, so it’s not that far off from a classic unadulterated hummus, but just a little variation on it.

  2. October 10, 2013 8:38 am

    Peppers and walnuts, garlic and paprika..they were meant to be together. Your recipe looks scrummy and simple. Perfect x

    • October 10, 2013 8:53 am

      Thanks, Deena! I agree; those ingredients are meant for each other. I especially could not get enough of the muhammara… yum!

      • October 10, 2013 8:54 am

        That’s the recipe that I couldn’t get my eyes off! Yum indeed xx

  3. October 10, 2013 8:56 am

    This looks wonderful!

  4. October 10, 2013 10:01 am

    It’s like this post was meant for me, I have 10 lbs of bell peppers wrinkling on my counter… :) Another tip for dealing with them in bulk: I just slice or chop and freeze them uncooked. I used to tray-freeze them first but now know that it doesn’t make a difference, and if you’re going to cook them anyway the texture change from freezing is irrelevant. I use the peppers with onions on pizza and the chopped peppers in chilis and soups all winter for a fraction of the price of a winter pepper!

    • Jessica permalink
      October 10, 2013 1:19 pm

      I do that too!

    • October 11, 2013 11:48 am

      Good to know! Thanks Emmy (and Jess)! I could definitely see adding them to soups (although I think Paula would object to peppers on pizza—she really only likes raw bell peppers). Anyway, I had no idea that peppers froze well…

      Although come to think of it, I always keep Thai bird’s eye chili peppers in my freezer—so that they keep longer and are easier to finely dice—and those freeze well, too!

  5. October 10, 2013 11:03 am

    I first tasted muhammara in Damascus. It makes me sad to think of what is happening in that beautiful city.

    • October 11, 2013 8:00 am

      I know, it is sad! You’re lucky to have gotten to visit. One of my college friends is from Damascus, and I remember we spent most of our freshman year talking about how we’d like to visit her hometown together some day (and she even gave me an Arabic lesson or two! …long before I took actual Arabic classes as a grad student). Now it seems a trip like that will be very unlikely in the near future.

  6. October 10, 2013 2:58 pm

    What a great way to not let some beautiful peppers go to waste. I feel like this always happens to me with bananas. I buy them, and they go bad before I can eat them all. How about banana hummus?

    • October 11, 2013 8:01 am

      Haha, um… not sure about banana hummus… :) But that used to happen to me all the time with bananas, too, and now I’ve solved that problem—once they start to get too ripe to be appetizing (or often even before that), I peel them, wrap them in tin foil, and freeze them to serve as the base for yogurt/fruit smoothies! (Or for food processor banana “ice cream”!)

  7. October 10, 2013 3:08 pm

    Awwwwww, yah! You’re all up in dips face! I am seriously craving that red pepper hummus…

    • October 11, 2013 8:08 am

      Make it!!

      I can’t believe I once considered not having a “dips” tag for recipes on my blog, just because it’s not my favorite word… I believe I’m over that now.

  8. October 10, 2013 3:21 pm

    Your very good recipe of hummus could be a Southern Italian one!

    • October 11, 2013 8:09 am

      Thanks, Silva! Wow, really? I don’t know any Italian dishes like that, so it’s a little surprising to hear, but then again it definitely makes sense because chickpeas, roasted peppers, garlic, and lemon are all Mediterranean flavors/ingredients!

  9. October 10, 2013 4:22 pm

    Yum!!! I’ve never made hummus with red peppers before, or with peanut butter for that matter (what?! That’s definitely unique, it’s on my list to try!). I do love pomegranate molasses though, so I’m planning to make both of these recipes on the weekend with a glut of raw peppers in my fridge (they were on special at the market and I was planning to just stew the lot to make peperonata, which I love, but this sounds way more interesting). Thanks! x

    • October 11, 2013 8:11 am

      Oh perfect! I’m so happy to hear about your glut of raw peppers. :) I was wondering if I was posting this a little late in the season to be very useful to anyone, but I’m glad to hear it was still timely for you!

      And yes, I thought it was such a great idea to try adding peanut butter to hummus (although my friend Leah told me that was just her own substitute for tahini), but then at the last minute I decided to make mine with tahini instead of PB… I’d like to try it next time, though!

  10. October 10, 2013 10:53 pm

    wow. i actually died a little bit inside reading your post. everything looks delicious, and i can literally get none of the ingredients required to make either of these spread without search far and wide (and/or paying an arm and a leg).

    sometimes, i think you are torturing me intentionally. ;)

    still, as always, everything looks great, and just because i don’t have the resources to make it doesn’t mean i don’t want to.

    • October 11, 2013 8:15 am

      Oh noooo… I enjoyed getting your comment, but I am SO sorry to have caused you to die a little bit inside. Believe me, I know the feeling. (But, hey, at least these recipes don’t rely on either cilantro or cheese, right?!?!?)

      I know the muhammara ingredients would be a stretch in Japan, but surely you can find fresh red bell peppers and *possibly* canned (I doubt dried…) chickpeas at an international store or the fancy international food section of a department store? (That’s where I used to buy majorly overpriced canned chickpeas in my little town in Yamaguchi-ken…) Then just do what I used to do there and use 1-2 Tbsp. good sesame oil (or more, but then cut back on the olive oil) in place of the tahini!

      • October 11, 2013 2:29 pm

        alright. you convinced me. let the chick pea search begin!

        yeah, i thought about using sesame oil instead of tahini, but i think i could probably make some from surigoma and water. we’ll see. if it works out, i’ll definitely give you an intense shout-out on pmk.

        thanks for the help (and great ideas)!

  11. October 11, 2013 5:40 am

    Oh my goodness this looks absolutely wonderful! I can’t wait to give it all a try.

  12. October 11, 2013 9:08 am

    Hi! I find your blog is very interesting! Congratulations! Why not look at mine too? We also have a website, maybe might be useful!
    Ciao! Trovo il tuo blog sia molto interessante! Complimenti! Perchè non guardi anche il mio? Abbiamo anche un sito internet, magari potrebbe esserti utile, vieni a dare uno sguardo.

    • October 17, 2013 9:20 am

      Thanks for your comment! I’ll check out your blog, too. (Although I can only understand a little bit of Italian, thanks to being able to speak Spanish, but I always enjoy trying… :)

  13. October 13, 2013 4:00 pm

    it looks so tasty!!!!!!

  14. October 13, 2013 4:03 pm

    I just roasted an oven full of peppers his morning for some spinach lasagna. Now I know what to do with the rest of them. This sounds delicious. Thanks much for the recipe.

    • October 17, 2013 9:22 am

      Oo, nice! I wish I could put roasted peppers in spinach lasagna; that sounds amazing! (But my fiancee Paula doesn’t like the texture of roasted peppers—for her, they have to be blended up into dips like in these recipes, or just eaten raw as a snack.)

      Anyway, I’m glad to have been able to give you an idea for what to do with rest of your roasted peppers! Hope you enjoy!

  15. September 8, 2014 7:19 am

    Lovely! This is exactly how I make Muhammara too, except for the roasted red peppers–which seem like a great idea :)

  16. Larry Wells permalink
    July 16, 2015 12:10 pm

    Really tasty, although the amount of cayenne is a bit more than I would use again.

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