Acuka (Walnut, Hot Pepper Paste, Garlic and Thyme Spread)

Acuka was originally a  ‘breakfast’ spread in rural Turkey. Over the ages, it found its way to the dinner table as an appetizer.  I am sort of glad it did because the last thing I want to do every morning is smell massive whiffs of garlic in my colleagues’ breaths.

This recipe is pretty simple and straightforward. My recommendation is to go light on the olive oil. Olive oil is good for you, yes and it does wonders for bringing this particular spread to a creamy consistency but it also jacks up the calories. I suggest you hold back on olive oil and put no more than what the recipe calls. Add water if you want runnier consistency.

I prefer crunchier, thicker spreads so this works well for me. I am sure there are other recipes out there but this is the one that I made up based on what I prefer… You can find the nutrition facts at the end as usual (you will not be pleased)… Serve it as an interesting side to a grilled piece of chicken that you end up finding not flavorful enough OR simply spread it on crackers OR serve with toasted pita bread. Either way, you will find that it is fairly addictive.

Acuka (Walnut, Hot Pepper Paste, Garlic and Thyme spread)


  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 5 Tbsps hot red pepper paste
  • 3-5 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 Tbsps olive oil
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, chopped
  • Black pepper, to taste

In a food processor, pulse the ingredients until the mixture forms a thick paste. To make a creamier texture, add a small amount of water and increase the oil amount. Serve with crackers or toasted whole wheat pita.

Makes 1-1.5 cups or 10 servings.

Note: Do not add salt.  Pepper paste is usually salty enough.

Here are the nutritional facts on this dish:

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