Vegan Muhammara Hummus

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

Muhammara is one of my favorite dips or spreads, Middle Eastern or otherwise. Plus, it can be used to add a burst of flavor to soups, stews or, in this case, hummus. Don’t get me wrong, I have no complaints about the most basic hummus. But, I had some leftover Muhammara that needed to be used, a can of chick peas, and a need for something tasty to nosh on while watching the Oscar’s. And, so, Muhammara Hummus was born. It’s the best of both worlds: the subtle earthiness of creamy hummus gets a boost from robust Muhammara, and the latter is tamed a bit by the less assertive hummus. (The truth is, though, that you can substitute any tasty paste, like a vegan pesto.) To finish it off, I swirl the top with Pomegranate Molasses, a middle eastern condiment I fell in love with at a Turkish tapas restaurant in Washington, D.C. But if you don’t have it or can’t get it, drizzle with balsamic reduction or a little walnut or olive oil.

1-12 ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained
5 tablespoons Muhammara (or the savory paste of your choice)
4 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon olive oil (or you can use all olive oil)
juice of 1/2 of a lemon
1 tablespoon dried parsley (or 3 tablespoons fresh minced parsley)
optional garnish: 1 tablespoon or so of pomegranate molasses, balsamic reduction or walnut or olive oil plus a lemon wedge
Fresh raw veggies, pita chips and/or small toasts

Place first 5 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and swirl the top with the pomegranate molasses, balsamic reduction or walnut or olive oil. Garnish with a lemon wedge. Serve with fresh raw veggies, pita chips and/or small toasts.

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