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Leigh Belanger and Rebecca Haley-Park
Often served as part of a Mediterranean mezze spread, this umami-rich dip also perks up salads of cooked barley or farro loaded with herbs and feta cheese.
Servings 8


  • 1 red bell pepper
  • cups toasted walnuts skins rubbed off
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 slice country-style wheat bread toasted, crusts removed
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves


  • Heat broiler to high with top rack just below the heat source. Place bell pepper on a baking sheet and broil 8 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally to ensure pepper blackens evenly.
  • Once cool enough to handle, peel pepper skin and discard, along with stem and seeds. Add remaining pepper to the bowl of a food processor with walnuts, tomato paste, and pomegranate molasses. Tear bread into small pieces and add to the bowl. Pulse to a coarse paste. With food processor running, add olive oil gradually until combined.
  • Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and stir in red pepper flakes, cumin, sugar, paprika, salt, and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with warm pita triangles and cucumber slices.


Crumbled feta cheese provides a briny kick.

Rebecca Haley-Park

Rebecca Haley-Park is culture's former editor and resident stinky cheese cheerleader. A native New Englander, she holds a BFA in creative writing from University of Maine at Farmington.

Photographer Evi Abeler

Evi Abeler is a food and still life photographer based in New York City. She helps art directors, cookbook authors and designers to communicate the love, passion and thought that goes into every project and creates modern, yet classic images. Her clients in advertising, publishing, hospitality and retail include Food & Wine Magazine (which named her Digital Food Award Winner), Harper Collins Publishing and Whole Foods Markets.

Leigh Belanger

Leigh Belanger is culture's former food editor. She's been a food writer, editor, and project manager for over a decade— serving as program director for Chefs Collaborative and contributing to local newspapers and magazines. Her first book, The Boston Homegrown Cookbook, was published in 2012. She lives and cooks in Boston with her family.