Pasta with muhammara sauce

May 19, 2010  •  Category: ,


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.


84 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. lisaiscooking says:

    This sounds delicious as a pasta sauce! Thinking of pomegranate molasses and Aleppo pepper is making me very ready for dinner.

  2. Anh says:

    This pasta looks fab! The source is new to me but I love all the ingredients in it!

  3. elra says:

    I would never thought of using muhammara as pasta sauce, that is fabulous idea Jo. I am sure it tastes delicious. I can imagine.

  4. Babs says:

    That looks absolutely amazing! I can not wait to try it, though I’ll have to hunt down the pomegranate molasses first. 🙂

  5. Erica says:

    This sounds really delicious, what a great idea! Stop teasing me with those gorgeous dishes! I am SO hungry now that I have read (and seen) this. Another one of your recipes to try!!

  6. Lydia says:

    This recipe makes me realize how limited I’ve been in my use of muhammara. I always serve it as a dip, and never as a sauce. What a great idea.

  7. peter says:

    I love roasted red peppers for a sauce. In the winter, peppers will often replace tomatoes which are bland in winter. I’m gonna try some pomegranate molasses in my next sauce.

  8. Suman says:

    WOW…what a delicious looking pasta dish…have to try this one soon…yummy…thanks for sharing this !

  9. Lori says:

    A great idea- here’s to thinking outside the box!

  10. A Canadian Foodie says:

    My mouth is literally watering after reading that recipe… there is everything there from sweet to sour to salty to savory. And, it seems like quite a simple dish. Your sense of flavour combinations is so fresh and new to me. I love the idea of this pasta and will definitely try it!

  11. Not Quite Nigella says:

    I like how it looks like an Italian tomato pasta sauce but the ingredients list tell us otherwise! 😉

  12. Katie @Cozydelicious says:

    Oh, yum! There is a great kebab house near my office that has the most wonderful muhammara that I can eat by the bucketful with plenty of pita. I have been wanting to make my own but never thought to toss it with pasta. How awesome! I’m going to have to try this.

  13. citronetvanille says:

    Oh c’est la version orientale du pesto de poivrons en fait! j’adore, je pense que la molasse de grenade doit rajouter un petit gout sucré assez agréable qui doit s’allier à merveille avec les poivrons, mais bon je n’ai jamais gouté. Ca me donne faim!

  14. SYLVIA says:

    This is fast, yummy, and easy pasta, almost to good to be true. I love the roasted red peppers, it concentrates the flavor brings out certain dept that you don’t get from the fresh pepper. Bursting with vitamin C supports the immune system, and the walnuts has omega 3 which metabolizes food into energy. This will be equally good with whole grain pasta it is good to get whole grain whenever we can. Joumana, I give you high five as a nutritionist.

  15. Sushma Mallya says:

    wow these look so yummy, love the flavours in it…too good..

  16. noobcook says:

    sounds like a really good sauce to go with pasta. roasted peppers sound delicious!

  17. Devaki says:

    Dear Joumana – You have solved my problem. I have a Jain family coming to dinner and have to cook something without onions + vegetarian. This is it!!!

    I now have a pasta and a appetizer. Things are looking up 🙂

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  18. Rosa says:

    A great combination! This summer, I am going to try making muhamara sauce…



  19. Meeta says:

    i am loving your new picture Jou!! I also totally love muhammara and with pasta it adds a great burst of flavor. my son loves it!

  20. Cherine says:

    I love muhammara!! Love this addition to pasta!! Great recipe 🙂

  21. clém' says:

    Ouahh your reciepe looks delicious!
    I have to try this one soon … 😉

  22. Heavenly Housewife says:

    This sounds fantastic. I never would have thought to use it as a pasta sauce, I’ve always thought of it as a dip, but I think its very clever and delicious.
    *kisses* HH

  23. Katerina says:

    That was a great idea to use muhammara as a sauce for pasta and not as a dip as it is usually presented. Roasted peppers taste always great.

  24. Nadji says:

    Encore une fois, une recette qui sent bon la méditerranée.
    Cette combinaison doit être du tonnerre de dieu.
    A bientôt.

  25. Sridevi says:

    Pasta looks yummy…Nice idea of adding Breadcrumbs.

  26. anncoo says:

    Love this kind of sauce, must try to make this one day.

  27. Priya says:

    Wat a fabulous combination..makes me hungry..

  28. Rachana Kothari says:

    What a fabulous looking pasta…its lunch time here and after seeing this delicious pasta, I am really craving it 🙂 Yumm!!!!!

  29. Sasa says:

    Yum! And great new photo 🙂

  30. Andy says:

    Wow, this sounds like a Syrian style pesto when used on pasta like that! My mouth is watering, You keep adding new have recipes I need to try!!


  31. nisha says:

    wow that looks delicious..the colour and everything about it..i shud try out muhamara sauce sometime

  32. Jamie says:

    I have seen others make this as a dip but I love it as a pasta sauce! And what a combination of beautiful, rich flavors. Someone just gave me a jar of pomegranite molasses so this has my name all over it!

  33. john@heneedsfood says:

    This looks and sounds so delicious and I love how you use bread sticks in it

  34. deana says:

    I do wish my dearly beloved wasn’t deathly allergic to peppers.. I love this recipe and will make it one day when he is out!!

  35. Barbara says:

    Wow. That color is marvelous, Joumana. I’ve made a red pepper dip but never thought to use it over pasta! I’ll be looking for the pomegrante molasses now!

  36. Simply Life says:

    Oh what a delicious pasta dish!

  37. El says:

    This looks phenomenal. I definitely have to give this one a try!

  38. 3hungrytummies says:

    The Muhammara sounds and looks amazing. I will make that for my next midweek pasta.

  39. Jennifer @ Maple n Cornbread says:

    This sauce sounds SO fabulous!!!

  40. hungry dog says:

    This looks fabulous! Is this also called romesco sauce? Anyway, I’m copying it–thanks! Gorgeous photos too.

  41. TastyTrix says:

    Mmm, though I didn’t realize it at the time, I think this is what I was craving last night. Who knew? By the way, that new photo of you is AMAZING! (It’s new to me anyway.)

  42. lisa says:

    Pomegranate molasses and all those wonderful flavors in one…what a fantastic idea to use this as a pasta sauce. Sounds like a nice hearty dish. You’re so creative with your recipes, Joumana. Love this, bookmarking it, can’t wait to try it.

    P.S. Wow! Love your new photo – you’re gorgeous!

  43. Oui, Chef says:

    Mmmmm….pomegranate molasses, aleppo pepper and cumin, what a fabulous sounding combination. I also love the “surprise” factor of this dish. For me, having been raised by an Italian mother, the dish looks like a pasta with marinara sauce, I am imagining the look on her face as she tries this spicy, exotic alternative. I bet she’ll love it!

  44. Angie's Recipes says:

    A very unusual and yet delicious-looking pasta!

  45. Maninas says:

    What a good idea to serve mumammara like this!

  46. Mary says:

    What a lovely pasta. I’ve never before seen it but that makes it all the more interesting to me. I really like this recipe and plan to try it as soon as possible. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  47. Anita says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever had muhammara. I will definitely try it, looks very scrumptious.

  48. PJ says:

    What an innovative pasta!!Looks so tempting…Your new pic is stunning!!!

  49. Melissa says:

    This looks marvelous. It reminds me of the sephardic food from my childhood.


  50. Doria says:

    Toute l’Italie dans ton assiette, j’adore !
    Je te souhaite une très bonne soirée de ce jeudi,
    Bisous, Doria

  51. Stella says:

    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…

  52. Koko says:

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

  53. grace says:

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

  54. Sook says:

    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!

  55. Sylva says:

    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 🙂

  56. OysterCulture says:

    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!

  57. FOODESSA says:

    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

  58. Hélène (Cannes) says:

    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 !

  59. Mathai says:

    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 🙂

  60. Cara says:

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

  61. Joan Nova says:

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

  62. The Cilantropist says:

    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! 🙂

  63. Conor @ HoldtheBeef says:

    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 🙂

  64. Rajani says:

    yummy!! i love muammara sauce 🙂

  65. Bria @ WestofPersia says:

    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!

  66. Nadia says:

    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!

  67. Amber @Almost Vegan says:

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

  68. turkey's for life says:

    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! 🙂

  69. Sonia - L'Exquisit says:

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

  70. phil near Oxford says:

    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!

  71. gary says:

    I made some muhammara dip today and over pasta seems like a good way to enjoy it. The recipe I followed has a bit more garlic in it than yours but that’s not a problem for my tastes.

    • JOUMANA ACCAD says:

      Sounds great! I love garlic and always use more than my recipes call for actually!

      • gary says:

        That’s good to know! I used to grow several varieties of garlic to sell at our local farmers market but stopped when a disease began to infest the soil and ruin the bulbs. Next year, after four years lying fallow, I will be trying again. And I’m planting a few hundred cloves next month in a place where no garlic has been grown before in the hope that the disease is not present. I’ve always been a fan of garlic, onions, chives, and shallots.

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