Healthy & festive, this Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Dip is packed with red pepper, chickpeas and walnuts. It’s lighter than hummus, so you don’t fill up too fast. It makes a rich and colorful spread to top crostini as an appetizer or just simply serve it as a dip.
January represents lighter eating and a true desire to reverse all the excesses from holiday indulgence. We reset our intentions and give way to a more mindful existence that we may have let fade away throughout the year. That’s ok. Now we just bring ourselves back to it.
Over the years, our New Year’s day rituals have changed. In Arizona, we hiked in glorious desert landscapes. In Florida, we kayaked in crystal clear spring fed rivers. In Pennsylvania, we stretched with some yoga and may take a short wintry hike in depending on the weather.
While so many are inside watching football, we are soaking in the first day of a New Year with some healthy, get-your-butt-off-the-couch activities. I’d encourage you to do the same!
Onto the dip…
This Red Pepper Walnut Dip is also called Muhammara.
What is Muhammara?
Muhammara originates from Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s made with roasted red peppers and walnuts. Although it does have chickpeas, it serves as a lighter alternative to hummus.
Step 1: Toast Walnuts.
Toasting the walnuts adds extra depth of flavor.
Step 2: Blend + Serve.
Add chickpeas, roasted red pepper, walnuts, molasses and spices to a Cuisinart and blend.
You can add type of spicy seasoning to this dip that you might have in the pantry. A simple dash of cayenne and a teaspoon of smoked paprika might be all you need. But I was feeling adventurous and had just picked up a new spice mix.
A pit stop in Harrisonburg, VA on our drive home over the holidays led us to a great little food co-op called the Friendly City Food Co-Op. We really just stopped in to pick up some beverages for the drive, but I came home with some spices from the Teeny Tiny Spice Co. of Vermont. This included a can of Whoop Ass – Flavor of the United States. If that’s not enough to get you off the couch and moving, I don’t know what will!
Yep, I added some Whoop Ass to my New Year’s Eve dip. And I liked it. A can of Whoop Ass also makes a fun gift!
TIP: Post-party it can be put to good use as a sandwich spread.
A light red pepper dip seasoned with spice for a little kick!
- 12 oz jar roasted red peppers with garlic in oil (reserve oil)
- 1 small roasted garlic clove from jar of red peppers
- 1 cup walnuts halves toasted (divided)
- 1/2 cup canned chickpeas
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 tsp lemon juice + zest of 1 lemon for garnish
- 1 tsp Whoop Ass seasoning OR 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
- parsley to garnish
- crackers or crostini toasts for dipping
Roast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet at 350F for about 5 minutes until starting to lightly brown and smell toasty.
Place 1/2 cup walnuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a coarse meal is formed.
Remove the roasted red peppers and garlic clove from the jar and add to the food processor along with chickpeas, seasonings and pomegranate molasses.
Blend to a smooth puree. You can add more chickpeas if you want to create a thicker dip.
Transfer the dip to a small bowl and pour a bit of reserved oil from the red pepper jar on top for a thin coat to preserve the dip.
Before serving, crush some of the extra walnut pieces, chopped parsley and some lemon zest to garnish the top.
Alternatively, you can spread this on top of the crostini toasts for a handheld appetizer.
Pomegranate molasses is sweet + tangy. If you don't have it or don't want to buy it (although I strongly recommend it) you can substitute the tablespoon in this recipe with 1 tsp maple syrup or honey for sweetness and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar or lemon juice for the tangy.
I encourage you to branch out and explore some new spice blends to get a healthy start for the year.
It’s the easiest way to make simple vegetable dishes come alive with flavor without adding fat and oils.
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