Red Pepper Walnut Dip

Red pepper walnut dip in a bowl surrounded by crackers, vegetables and more
Photo: Judy Barbe, MS, RDN

When I scored a .99 bag of wilted sweet red bell peppers, I knew exactly what I was going to make. Muhammara. A Middle Eastern dip.

This tangy walnut and pepper dip requires roasted peppers, so a few dings and bruises made no difference to me. Red peppers are riper, sweeter and generally more expensive than the younger green peppers. They also spoil faster because they are further along in the ripening process. They can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Deliciously Healthy

Together, the ingredients in this recipe make a delicious dip plus they are a good health investment. 

  • Sweet red peppers star in this dip. But that’s not all. They contribute vitamins C and A and that bright red color means more anti-inflammatory from the plant chemicals help in preventing cancer. Peppers are on the lower end of the potassium scale, making them a better choice for people with kidney disease. (Though this recipe has walnuts, a high-potassium food, so this dip may not be ideal for those watching potassium levels).
  • Walnuts thicken the dip and provide protein, fiber, potassium and fat. This is a better-for-you fat, the plant-based version of omega 3s that contribute to heart health and reduction of chronic inflammation.
  • Spices in this recipe contribute great flavor plus anti-inflammatory benefits. I used smoked paprika but you can substitute regular paprika, or none at all.
  • If you want a gluten free option, replace the bread crumbs with rice crackers or gluten-free bread.
  • Lemon juice and pomegranate molasses provide tangy flavor. Find the pom molasses in the Middle Eastern section of the grocery store. I use it in vinaigrettes, glaze for chicken and I drizzle it over ice cream so it doesn’t languish in the fridge forever. Though you might find you’re pouring more just to make this dip.

Roast Peppers

To save time, roast the peppers (directions below) while you are grilling other foods. After roasting, they can be stored in the fridge for a couple days or can even be frozen for a few months before you make the dip. Jarred peppers work in this recipe too!

Do You Improve with Age?

Red Pepper and Walnut Dip does! Flavors develop as it ages, so if you can make it a day or two ahead, it’s even better.

More Than a Dip

Other ways to use this dip include:

  • Spread on a sandwich rather than mayonnaise
  • Top a burger
  • Dollop a deviled egg
  • Smear on toast
  • Toss with cooked pasta

Red Pepper Walnut Dip

Tangy with a bit of spice, Red Pepper Walnut Dip is flavorful deliciousness! Toss it, spread it, dollop it — this vegetarian dip is simply healthy food.

Yields 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 7-8 ounces roasted red peppers
  • 23 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 13 cup fresh bread crumbs (rice crackers or gluten-free bread for gluten free)
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 12 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 12 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons plus 12 teaspoon olive oil, divided

Instructions

  1. Roast the peppers. If using a grill, set the peppers directly on the grill. Roast until skin is puffed, blistered and blackened and turn peppers once during roasting. Remove from heat, immediately place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes. This creates steam, which allows the peppers to be easily peeled. Remove peppers from bowl, peel off charred skin, remove stem and seeds.
  2. Meanwhile heat oven to 350° F. Place walnuts on baking sheet and toast for 12-15 minutes. Set aside.
  3. To make the dip: In food processor or blender, combine red peppers, walnuts, bread crumbs, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, cumin, chile flakes, salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Process until smooth.
  4. Pour into bowl, drizzle with 12 teaspoon olive oil. Dip can be served or stored up to a week.
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Judy Barbe
Judy Barbe, MS, RDN, nudges people toward better-for-you choices through her blog, original recipes, books, speaking engagements, newspaper columns and webinar series. She’s based in Wyoming and blogs at www.LiveBest.info. Follow her on Instagram and Pinterest.