Ajvar (Roasted Pepper and Eggplant Spread)

A smoky, sweet, and savory condiment as versatile as ketchup. This version is adapted from Tim Wiechmann, of Boston’s Playska, a Balkan-style sandwich shop.

Featured in: International Schmear: The Ketchup and Mayo of the Balkans

Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Sauce (Ajvar) Ajvar (Roasted Pepper and Eggplant Spread)
This Balkan spread is a smoky, sweet and savory condiment as versatile as ketchup.
Yield: makes 3 cups
Time: 30 minutes


  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 4 large red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
  • 1 large eggplant, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt


  1. Heat the oven to 500°. On a foil-lined baking sheet, arrange the peppers and eggplant halves skin side up. Scatter the garlic around the vegetables, then drizzle with the oil and season with salt. Bake until the peppers and eggplant are lightly charred, about 15 minutes.
  2. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack, let cool slightly, then transfer the vegetables to a food processor and purée until smooth. Scrape the sauce into a container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.