This Aleppo pepper marinade melds Middle Eastern and Mediterranean ingredients into a unique and irresistible flavor combination. Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, and lemon provide a wonderful sweet-tart balance for the pepper spice. Garlic and fresh herbs, including rosemary and thyme, add aroma and texture. If you’ve never tasted Aleppo pepper, this recipe is reason enough to pick up a bottle and give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!
What Is Aleppo Pepper?
Aleppo peppers are a variety of spicy peppers largely found in the Middle East. They were named after the Syrian city of Aleppo, though now they’re most commonly grown in Turkey. Dried and crushed Aleppo peppers are used to make Aleppo pepper spice. This dry, vibrant red spice can be dusted on food or used in recipes. Aleppo pepper is not quite as hot as the typical chili flakes Americans are used to. While you can easily overdo it with cayenne or hot chili flakes, Aleppo has a less intense burn and a wonderful depth of flavor. It has a smokiness reminiscent of Ancho chili pepper, with flavor notes of cumin and fruity balsamic vinegar. Use enough of it, and you’re in for quite a kick – but in smaller amounts, it adds a lovely mellow heat.
Aleppo pepper is commonly used in Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisine. Its unique flavor makes it one of my favorite ingredients to cook with when I’m craving a bit of spice.
This sweet and spicy marinade is incredibly versatile and works great with fish, chicken, and vegetables. It also works well as a dip when added to sour cream or Greek yogurt, to serve with fresh veggies or crackers. If you prefer a sweeter marinade, you can double the amount of honey or agave without changing the consistency of the marinade. I love using this on chicken and fish, in particular. Marinate boneless fish fillets for 30 minutes, or skinless chicken thighs overnight. Cooking with this marinade is a treat, the aroma is so enticing. Enjoy!
Aleppo Pepper Marinade
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 large or 6 small cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 3 tablespoon Aleppo pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar (use agave to make vegan)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree until well combined and no large chunks of herbs or garlic remain.Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use, up to one week.