Red pepper and walnut spread

    makes about 2 cups

    This spread was inspired by an appetizer called muhammara found in Middle Eastern countries such as Syria and Turkey. In the original, roasted red bell peppers and walnuts are flavored with pomegranate syrup. If you have pomegranate syrup on hand, you can use it to replace the maple syrup in this recipe.
    ½ cup chopped walnut pieces

    1 slice white bread, torn into pieces, or ½

    cup dry bread crumbs

    1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers,

    drained and coarsely chopped

    Juice of 1 lemon

    1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

    1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

    ½ teaspoon chili paste, or to taste

    ½ teaspoon salt

    ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus

    additional as needed

    Chopped fresh parsley or walnut pieces,

    for garnish

    In a food processor, process the walnuts and bread until finely ground. Add the roasted red peppers, lemon juice, vinegar, maple syrup, and chili paste, and blend until smooth. Season with the salt and cumin. Add the olive oil and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings, and add more oil if needed for consistency. Place in a bowl and garnish with chopped parsley or walnuts. note: If not using right away, cover and refrigerate.