Feliz Muhammara – Guest blogger Aimee Stout on Vegan, Middle-Eastern Dip

I am extremely excited to introduce guest blogger Aimee Stout!  This is the first of a series where I will be featuring recipes for global dishes that, like mine, are delicious, nutritious, and figure-friendly.

By the time I met Aimee, she had already become a Vegan—something that was very unfamiliar to me. I quickly noticed that every time we invited her and her husband Damon to our house she would bring a vegan dish. Why? Because most people, even avid entertainers like me, usually forget to provide a variety of options for all sorts of diets and lifestyles. I confess I may have underestimated vegan food, but Aimee made me a believer when she brought this dish to my house. I purposely kept part of the dip in the refrigerator so I could have it again the next day and remember texting her a couple of times when I found myself thinking about it.

I hope you are encouraged to try her recipe and, why not, to serve it next time you throw a party—this is a real crowd pleaser.  So without further adieu, here’s Aimee….

FELIZ MUHAMMARA by Aimee Stout

Feliz Muhammara, my spicy roasted red pepper & pomegranate dip is inspired from the classic “Muhammara” which originated in Syria and has evolved within several cultures in the Middle East, each with different preparations of the recipe with red peppers, walnuts and pomegranate.  I introduced Alejandra to my recipe a few years ago when she invited my husband and I to her home for a party.  Knowing that Alejandra appreciates bold and interesting flavor combinations, I figured this would be a perfect appetizer to share at her table.

The day of the party, as I gathered my ingredients to make the muhummara, I realized that I completely forgot to buy the walnuts – um, that’s a main ingredient!  Instead of scrapping my plans and making something else, I decided to use cashews in place of the walnuts.  Cashews have a sweetness that would compliment the red peppers and the pomegranate, so I figured I was on my way to something tasty.  Also, I decided to take the recipe in another direction by adding a little protein by blending in silken tofu.  My husband and I are vegan and whenever we take food to a gathering, we like to bring something that gives us some protein and that everyone at the party will enjoy as well. 

“He who controls the Spice, controls the universe!” – Dune

Just a little bit of spice gives Feliz Muhummara a complexity that dances with the bright flavors of the red pepper and the pomegranate.  As I make this dip, my head starts swimming with different flavor profiles to change it up for next time.  It’s a chameleon that can be flavored with everything from jalapeños or smoked paprika – it has a lot of potential to be played with!

Alejandra asked me to share this recipe with you and I am pleased to introduce you to Feliz (Happy) Muhummara!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup roasted and salted cashews
  • 1 cup roasted red pepper (1/2 of 16 oz jar)
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 12.3 oz package silken tofu (firm)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

Preparation

In a high-speed blender, combine cashews, roasted red pepper, pomegranate molasses and all spices until cashews have reached a creamy texture.  Blend in silken tofu and you’re done!  This recipe yields about 2 2/3 cups.

Plating

This is a creamy and colorful dip, so dress it up by serving it in a pretty dish and garnish with a little hint of what’s inside.  I used whole cashews, and about 1 tsp of diced roasted red pepper with a little fresh cilantro for a nice green scatter of herbs across the top.  Serve with pita chips, toasted bread, crackers or veggies.

Tips

  • If you’re making this for your own party – make it a day in advance and garnish right before your party.
  • I like to use ready to go, roasted red peppers in the jar, they have a great flavor and the liquid from the water adds moisture to my recipe.  If you like to make your own roasted red peppers – go for it!  After blending with the other ingredients, if your dip is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of water until you reach your desired consistency.

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