Ajvar - Roasted Pepper & Eggplant Spread

“There aren’t too many rules when it comes to ajvar recipes and uses, including the way it’s served. I’ve had it as a condiment with grilled fish and meats, in a sandwich for some oomph, or slathered on a cracker with a drizzle of olive oil and a crumble or smear of whatever goat or feta cheese I can get my hands on. Then I daydream and forget about car troubles, sticky summer heat, and dream of the next time I can get back to those gorgeous seas and summers of Croatia.”—adapted from


  • 2 lbs Colored Bell Peppers
  • 1 small Eggplant
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 small handful Chives or Parsley
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Cane Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Heat oven to 450°F and arrange racks in the upper third. Halve each pepper, discarding stems and seeds. Place peppers, cut side down, on a baking sheet lined with foil. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and drizzle it with about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a little salt and place it, cut-side down, on the baking sheet. Roast the peppers and eggplant until they are blackened, blistered, and the eggplant collapses when you press on it, about 30 minutes.

  2. Remove the eggplant and set it aside to cool slightly. Remove the peppers, place them in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap until the peppers have slightly cooled, at least 5 minutes. Use a spoon to remove the pulp of the eggplant from the skin and discard the skin. Put eggplant in a food processor with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the garlic. Pulse the eggplant a few times so that it’s roughly chopped.

  3. Once peppers are cool enough to handle, peel them (reserving any juices that collect), discard the peel, and add the peppers and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the pepper liquid to the food processor. Add the chives and pulse 5 to 8 times to chop coarsely. Stir in the lemon juice, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and sugar. Taste and add more sugar if it is a bit sour, then add salt and freshly ground black pepper, as desired. 

Recipe Notes

Tip—Ajvar can be made up to 4 days ahead of time; store refrigerated in an airtight container and bring to room temperature before serving. Taste and stir in more vinegar, sugar, salt, or olive oil as desired.  You can also grill the peppers and eggplant.