The C.S.A. share has been delivering a lovely array of sweet peppers the last couple of weeks, and this dip–my take on Middle Eastern Muhammara–is a versatile way to use them up. This dip is typically thickened with some sort of bread, but the walnuts really make that addition unnecessary. Toasting the walnuts add another layer of flavor, so I highly recommend that step. Just place the walnut halves in a dry skillet and toast over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until they just begin to glisten. They burn quickly, so don’t walk away from the pan.
This is a recipe that uses pomegranate molasses, and I used my homemade version to avoid any added sugar. If you don’t have this ingredient and don’t feel like making it, I would suggest just omitting it, rather than looking for a substitute. It adds a distinctive flavor, but is not completely essential. All of this is really to taste, so adjust the seasonings to suit your palate.
I like this as a straight-up dip, served with vegetables, shrimp, olives, etc., or as a sauce for grilled eggplant or chicken. If you are looking for a party dish that travels well, this is usually a hit, and the dip itself is vegan, grain free, gluten free, and will accommodate most special diets.
Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip
- 3 large, sweet bell peppers, roasted, seeded, and peeled (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups walnut halves, lightly toasted
- 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- juice of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
- salt, to taste
- To roast the peppers, either use tongs to blacken them directly over a stovetop flame, or roast them in the oven at 400 degrees until the skins are blackened in spots. Toss the roasted peppers into a paper bag to let them cool–this will also help steam off the skins. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and remove the seeds and ribs.
- Place the peppers and all of the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender, and blend until fairly smooth.
- Serve this chilled or at room temperature, drizzled with a little more olive oil. This will keep well in the refrigerator for about a week.