I first had Muhammara prepared as a chunky type of side dish at a wedding reception many years ago. It was wonderful but I never came across it again until recently made as a smooth style dip. What a bonus to find it’s not only great tasting but contains several super foods! Bell peppers are full of nutrients. They are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamine, beta carotene and folic acid. Red peppers also contain lycopene, which is a carotene that helps protect against cancer and heart disease. Most nuts have healthy benefits but walnuts are the only nut that contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid. ALA protects the heart by improving your ratio of good HDL to bad LDL cholesterol. Walnuts also contain diesase fighting antioxidants. Pomegranates (though used in a small amount in this recipe) also provide many wonderful health benefits like lowering bad LDL cholesterol, protecting against prostate and breast cancers, protecting against heart disease and diabetes as well as reducing some symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes. With all of that goodness going for you, go ahead and dip right in!

Ingredients:

  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat bread, cubed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2-3 tbsp pomegranate molasses (start with 2 and add more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup red onion diced (optional for the chunky spread) *See notes for Preparation*
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped (optional for the chunky spread)

Preparation:

  1. Roast peppers directly over the flame of a gas stove burner on high heat, turning until blackened all over or place the peppers on a baking sheet under the oven broiler, turning until blackened on each side.

    Turn peppers often to char on each side

  2. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 10-15 minutes.

    Let peppers steam to allow the skins to loosen

  3. After steaming in the bowl, peel off the skins with your fingers or rub off with a paper towel. Do not wash the skins off or you will lose the roasted flavor. Remove the stems and seeds.
  4. Toast walnuts in a dry skillet now if not already toasted.
  5. Place the bread and walnuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground.

    Process until combined but still slightly chunky

  6. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the onion and parsley) and process until you have a slightly chunky texture.
  7. Serve with warm pita bread, toasted pita chips, vegetables or any other dipping item that you fancy.

Nutritional Info:

Makes approximately 2 cups.

Serving size 2 tbsp.

Nutrients per serving:  Calories: 79.5, Cal. from Fat: 55, Total Fat: 6.5g, Sat. Fat: .5g, Carbs: 4.5g, Fiber: 1g, Sugars: 1g, Protein: 1.5g, Sodium: 5mg, Chol: 0mg

Notes:

To make the chunky style Muhammara, place the peppers, walnuts, bread, onion and parsley on a cutting board and chop with a knife until all the ingredients are coarsely chopped and combined. Transfer to a bowl and add the paprika, cumin, garlic, pom molasses, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. Spoon onto a plate and garnish with a drizzle more of olive oil and a few toasted walnut pieces. You can eat this as a side dish or use the same as a dip. It’s also wonderful as a sandwich filling.

Chunky style Muhammara

 

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