Ajvar (Roasted Pepper and Eggplant Spread)

This smoky, savory Balkan spread is as versatile as ketchup and as spreadable as butter.

  • Serves

    makes 3 cups

  • Cook

    30 minutes


By Craig Cavallo

Updated on August 2, 2022

As versatile as ketchup, this smoky, sweet, and savory condiment known as ajvar was adapted from one served at Tim Wiechmann’s now-defunct Playska, a Balkan-style sandwich shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


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


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Step 2

Arrange the peppers and eggplant halves skin-side-up on the lined-baking sheet. Scatter the garlic around the vegetables, then drizzle with the olive oil and season lightly with salt. Bake until the peppers and eggplant are lightly charred, about 15 minutes. Set aside at room temperature to cool slightly.

Step 3

Transfer the cooled vegetables to a food processor and purée until smooth. Season to taste with more salt as needed. Use immediately or spoon the sauce into an airtight container, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

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