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Recipe for Health: Muhammara

by Sandy Todd Webster on Jun 17, 2015

Food for Thought

Aleppo-Style Red Pepper and Peanut Dip

Muhammara is a hot-pepper dip that originated in Aleppo, Syria, and is also found in Levantine and Turkish cuisines. Other “meze” (small bites) cousins from this region include tabbouleh, hummus and baba ghanoush; they can be traced to the cuisine of the Ottoman Empire.

With a nod to the consistently positive research reported about the health benefits of peanuts, the walnuts traditionally called for in this dish have been swapped out for the versatile, protein-packed legume.

Use as a dip with whole-grain pita, or spread on wraps and sandwiches.

1 1⁄2 lb red bell peppers
1⁄2 C peanuts, toasted and ground
3 T quality breadcrumbs or sesame cracker crumbs
juice of 1 lemon (or more to taste)
4 t pomegranate molasses (preferably Cortas brand, found at Middle Eastern grocers)
1⁄4 t red chili paste (or more to taste)
1⁄4 t salt
1⁄4 t cumin, ground
1 T refined peanut oil

Recipe Key:

C = cup | lb = pound | T = tablespoon | t = teaspoon

Roast the peppers over gas or under the broiler, turning until blackened and blistered all over. Place in a bag to soften for 10 minutes, to loosen the skins. Slit the peppers open and remove the membranes, stems and seeds. Skin and leave to drain.

Meanwhile, combine the peanuts and breadcrumbs in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the bell peppers, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses and blend until creamy. Add the chili paste, adjust the seasoning and scrape into a 2-cup storage jar. Chill overnight to allow flavors to mellow.

When ready to serve, scrape dip into a serving dish. Decorate with ground cumin and a drizzle of oil. Makes six servings.

Recipe provided by The Culinary Institute of America as an industry service to The Peanut Institute.

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.