Chef Becky Selengut's Muhammara

This recipe by Seattle chef, instructor and author Becky Selengut, comes with an endearing story many of us can relate to:

"The strangest thing I ever made for my family for Thanksgiving was a Syrian dish called muhammara. Growing up, prior to dinner we were always threatening to eat our arms with hunger but my grandmother insisted, 'Don't nosh, you'll ruin your appetite.' In the last hour of frantic final preparations, we were all cranky with precipitously low blood sugar; especially worrisome for working that closely around family with access to sharp knives.

"The bad bit about being a chef is that my family expects me to cook the whole meal now, but the good bit is that the menu and pacing is up to me, thank you very much. So, we'll be more civilized and snack on muhammara, one of my favorite spreads, while we're finishing up the last minute mashing and carving."

Serves 6 to 8 for appetizer


• 1 7-ounce jar roasted red peppers or 2 home-roasted red peppers, skin and seeds removed
• ⅔ cup walnuts -- toasted (in a preheated 400 oven for 10 minutes)
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
• 1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted, ground
• ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne, to taste
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil


In a food processor, blend together the peppers, walnuts, salt, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, cumin, and red pepper flakes until the mixture is smooth.

With the motor running, gradually add the oil.

Taste and adjust the flavorings to your liking. Best served at room temperature with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil around the edge of the bowl. Serve with grilled pita or cucumbers and olives.


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Recipe by Seattle chef and instructor Becky Selengut, author of "Good Fish" and "Washington Local and Seasonal Cookbook".