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Muhammara – charred red pepper dip

This dip is ALL about big flavours: Charred red pepper, toasted nuts, paprika and, of course, garlic.

Traditionally this dip has the inclusion of breadcrumbs to add body, but I substitute these for ground almonds to make it gluten-free. It doesn’t change the flavour, but it does make it more inclusive, as it's already dairy free and vegan!

Pomegranate molasses and sumac may not be ingredients you’ve cooked with before but they're great to have in the cupboard as they are fabulous on salads – both are readily available in large supermarkets.

Serves 6-10

5 red peppers – stalk removed, halved and deseeded

½ mild chilli – stalk removed and deseeded (optional)

3 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus extra

2 garlic cloves chopped or grated

2 tablespoon tomato puree

65g ground almonds

2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sumac

½ teaspoon salt

Handful rough chopped toasted walnuts (roast in a hot oven for 5-10 minutes) and pomegranate seeds to serve

1 – Oven at 200*c

2 – Rub the peppers with some olive oil and place them skin side up along with the mild chilli if using – roast for 35 minutes or until the skin has started to char. Remove into a bowl, cover with some cling film and leave to sit for 10 minutes – the cling film creates moisture in the bowl and will make it easier to remove the skins.

3– Whilst the peppers are roasting place the ground almonds in a small pan and toast for 5 minutes stirring constantly so they don’t burn, this will release additional flavour

4 – Remove the skins from the peppers they should easily peel away, and don’t worry if a few bits are left on.

5 – In a food processor combine the roasted peppers, and chilli (if using) with the extra virgin olive oil, tomato puree, ground almonds, pomegranate molasses, paprika, sugar, sumac, and salt. Blend into a smooth paste.

6 – Serve at room temperature topped with the chopped walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil. You can also use pre-packaged toasted flaked almonds if you prefer instead of walnuts

This is delicious with any meat, as a base for a wrap or just as it is with lots of warm toasted pita.


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