Pasta with muhammara sauce

Muhammara, a word that means “reddened” is a dip in our neck of the woods; it originated in Aleppo in Syria but is prepared and served as a mezze (appetizer) all over Lebanon. When I first tasted it in the town of Zahlé, in the Bekaa valley, a town famous for its restaurants serving  magnificent mezze spreads, it was love at first bite.

Muhammara in various versions is also prepared in Armenian and Turkish kitchens.

I am making a modified version of it and instead of serving it as a dip to go with pita croutons as is traditional, serving muhammara with pasta, as a sauce.


  • 1 package of penne  pasta
  • 1 can of roasted red pepper, or 3 or 4 red peppers, roasted and peeled
  • olive oil, as needed (can substitute walnut oil)
  • 3 kaak breadsticks with sesame or 1/2 cup of dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 1 Tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
  • 2 cloves of garlic, mashed with a pinch of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of hot Aleppo pepper or hot paprika or hot chili pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup of parsley, chopped fine
  • salt, pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin


  1. Place the red peppers, breadsticks or bread crumbs, mashed garlic, cumin, Aleppo pepper, 1/3 cup of olive oil or walnut oil, walnuts, pomegranate molasses, salt and pepper in a food processor. Puree for 2 minutes.
  2. Boil the pasta, add the sauce, toss, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

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  1. Posted May 20, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Ooh Joumana, I like that new picture of you. Pretty. I didn’t know you were that cute.
    This looks delicious by the way. And I mean that in a photographic sense. I’m learning how to take better pictures, but I’m still finding it hard to catch the food at angles that really show the food’s deliciousness rather than just showing a good angle and hence just a good picture. This photo shows how good that sauce is, so I’m trying it but with sunflower seeds not walnuts, b/c they’re cheaper and what my most recent post is about…

  2. Posted May 20, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Wow this looks great! Me+ pomegranate molasses= SOLD!!

  3. Posted May 20, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    roasted red peppers and pomegranate molasses–GREAT combination. this looks amazing! :)

  4. Posted May 20, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been craving pasta almost everyday! This one looks so delicious and flavorful! I am going to have to see if I have all the ingredients so that I could make it. Yum!

  5. Sylva
    Posted May 20, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I made this dish today. It was amazing!! Thank you Joumana for a very easy to make and delicious recipe. I like your new photo too :)

  6. Posted May 20, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Oh my, I can imagine how tasty this is, and if I had not served pasta to my poor hubby every night this week, I’d be making this version too – its on the list soon!

  7. Posted May 20, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Hello Joumana…thanks for giving me a reason to finally know why I should buy the Pomegranate molasses. I’ve passed by it often at the store…and often wondered what would I use it for. Well, today you answered my question.
    At my home…we do love our pasta! Now, maybe I’ll get to try an Arabic version.
    Thanks for sharing this really appetizing meal ;0)
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

  8. Posted May 21, 2010 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    Ton blog est une source de renouveau pour ma cuisine, tu sais … Ce plat de pâtes a l’air exquis … Tu cuisines des plats que je ne connais pas et rien ne me plaît plus que ces découvertes … Et puis en plus, j’ai un gros stock de mélasse de grenade qui ne demande qu’à être utilisé !

  9. Posted May 21, 2010 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    I love muhammara! although we usually have it with kubuz, I’ll try this as well, thanks!
    Pomegranate molasses is good with chicken liver too :)

  10. Posted May 21, 2010 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    That sauce sounds fantastic! I bet that little bit of pomegranate molasses does wonderful things here.

  11. Posted May 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    I’ve done roasted pepper + nut sauces before but the pomegranate molasses is a new ingredient to me. Looks like a wonderful sauce.

  12. Posted May 21, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Oh goodness this looks wonderful. I will need to get some pomegranate molasses! And maybe I will give it a go with fresh roasted red peppers… mmm…Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  13. Posted May 22, 2010 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    I love muhammara and putting it with pasta is a perfect use for it. Particularly as you are more likely to eat pasta in a normal day than eating dip, so this increases your muhamma eating opportunities :)

  14. Posted May 23, 2010 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    yummy!! i love muammara sauce :)

  15. Posted May 23, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I love muhamarra as a pasta sauce. I also think it out sometimes to use as a salad dressing. Very nice work. Love the use of kaak. :-) Btw, your new profile pic is gorgeous!

  16. Posted May 24, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    wow! I am always stumped on pasta dishes and this looks fab! mmmm, i feel like i can taste all the spices and the smokiness of the peppers. love it!

  17. Posted May 25, 2010 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I’ve always wanted to try muhammara. This dish looks stunning.

  18. Posted October 30, 2010 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    I’ve never heard of muhammara before – maybe it’s only used as a meze in Eastern Turkey and not the West. It looks fabulous, especially served with the pasta. Just off to the shops for some walnuts and guess what we’re making for dinner tonight! :)

  19. Posted November 3, 2010 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    I prepared this dish over the weekend and it was delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  20. phil near Oxford
    Posted June 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi I tried this tonight. Funnily enough there was something slightly lacking in the pasta dish. A sweetness maybe, it could have been the peppers. It didn’t pack the punch I expected. Maybe I simply didn’t use enough sauce. BUT after that we started to dip in to the paste left over in the liquidiser with bread sticks and it was amazing! I will make the paste again and serve with Veg batons, bread sticks, maybe even boiled eggs. In the end a success!

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  10. [...] pita chips, spread on crackers or flat bread, tossed in pasta (see Pasta with Muhummara Sauce from Taste of Beirut) or used as a sauce for grilled meats or kabobs (101 [...]

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