Red Bell Pepper-Walnut Dip (Muhammara)

Red Bell Pepper-Walnut Dip (Muhammara)

This Middle Eastern dip is a colorful alternative to hummus and a nice appetizer for holiday parties. It can also be used as a sandwich spread or as a sauce for grilled meats and fish. Bell peppers are an excellent source of carotenoids and vitamin C and are members of the nightshade family.

Ingredients

  • 1 12-ounce jar roasted red bell peppers, drained*
  • 1/3 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
  • 2/3 cup walnuts
  • 2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper to taste

* Or use about 2 freshly roasted medium red bell peppers.

Directions

  1. In a food processor blend together all of the ingredients until a coarse puree forms.
  2. Transfer the puree to a bowl and serve it at room temperature with pita chips or vegetables for dipping.

TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes / MAKES: 1 & 3/4 cups.

Key Ingredient Benefits

Bread Crumbs: Bread crumbs are a low-fat, cholesterol-free way to add texture and crunch to salads, soups, casseroles and pan-fried meats. One serving also supplies thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin, as well as selenium.

Cayenne Pepper: Hot and spicy, cayenne pepper adds zest and health to flavorful dishes around the world. The hotness produced by cayenne is caused by its high concentration of a substance called capsaicin. Capsaicin has been widely studied for its pain-reducing effects, its cardiovascular benefits, and its ability to help prevent ulcers. Capsaicin also effectively opens and drains congested nasal passages.

Cumin: It is probably not just for nutty, peppery flavor alone that cumin has made it into the stellar ranks of Indian, Middle Eastern and Mexican cooking. This ordinary looking seed is anything but ordinary when it comes to health benefits. Cumin is an excellent source of iron, a mineral that plays many vital roles in the body. It also benefits the digestive system and may have anti-carcinogenic properties.

Garlic: The mighty garlic bulb can protect us in many ways. It contains sulfur compounds that may protect cells from cancer, relax blood vessels and improve cardiovascular health. Research suggests garlic may help boost our cellular antioxidant production. There is also evidence supporting numerous health benefits from a diet rich in garlic.

Olive Oil: This type of oil contains numerous antioxidant polyphenols in addition to monounsaturated oleic acid. Both help support fat metabolism and cardiovascular health. Studies suggest a healthy combo of olive oil and fish oil (omega 3s) can work together in maintaining a pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory balance.

Pomegranate Molasses: Pomegranate molasses is a simple concoction of pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice. Therefore, you can get the same health benefits from pomegranate molasses as you can from pomegranate juice. Pomegranate juice contains antioxidants and B vitamins that boost the immune system, produce energy and benefit muscles and the cardiovascular system.

Red Bell Peppers: Bell peppers are an excellent source of carotenoids and vitamin C and are members of the nightshade family. They also provide plenty of fiber, water and Vitamin A.

Walnuts: These nuts are an excellent source of precursors to the anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids and great for your heart and circulatory system. Walnuts are also rich in antioxidants and are an excellent source of manganese and other essential elements.