Recipe: muhammara chickpeas by Amelia Christie-Miller

A flavour-packed dip with walnuts, red peppers and plenty of spices

Bowl of muhammara chickpea
(Image credit: Joe Woodhouse)

Move over hummus, said Amelia Christie-Miller. This classic Levantine dip of walnuts, roasted red peppers, spices and pomegranate molasses is sweet, earthy and nutty: you'll want to eat it with or on everything. In this version, it's stirred through chickpeas, but you could also try serving it in a pitta bread with lettuce and tomatoes. It will keep in the fridge for up to five days.

Ingredients: serves four

  • 700g jar chickpeas, or 2 × 400g cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

For the muhammara

  • 50g walnut pieces (or almonds or hazelnuts), plus extra to serve
  • 1 slice of crusty white bread or bread of your choice, roughly chopped into chunks
  • 3 red peppers (either from a jar for a speedy version, or fresh if you’re grilling yourself)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper, dried chilli flakes or hot chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • To serve: pomegranate seeds, handful of freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley or coriander, feta (optional)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  • Tip the walnuts and bread chunks onto a baking tray and bake for 6-8 minutes until slightly golden. Keep checking to make sure they don't burn. This step is optional, but roasting the nuts brings out their earthy, nutty flavour.
  • If you're using jarred peppers, skip to the next step. If using fresh red peppers, put them on a baking tray and slide under a grill. Once they start to blacken, turn them over until they're charred on all sides. (You can also do this on a barbecue or over a gas stove: char them straight on the flame, turning with tongs.) Once charred, place into a bowl and cover with cling film. Steaming them like this makes them easy to peel. Once they're cool enough to handle, peel and discard the charred skins from the peppers.
  • Transfer the peppers to a blender or food processor, along with the bread, walnuts, spices, purée, molasses, garlic, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Blitz until smooth. Add a few spoonfuls of water to loosen, if necessary.
  • Tip the chickpeas into a bowl. Add the muhammara and stir to combine, making sure the chickpeas are well coated in the sauce.
  • To serve, sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds and the fresh parsley or coriander. Add a sprinkle of feta here, if you like, and some extra toasted walnuts for crunch. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve. This is great alongside a fresh, crunchy salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.

Taken from "Bold Beans: Recipes to get your pulse racing" by Amelia Christie-Miller, published by Kyle Books at £22. Photography by Joe Woodhouse. To buy from The Week Bookshop for £17.99, visit theweekbookshop.co.uk.

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