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Grilled Red Pepper Spread

I’m lucky enough to live very close to a grocery store stocked with delights from Ukraine, Poland, Romania, the Balkans, and more. One of my favorite things is trying all the spreads! Over the last couple months, I’ve tried so many delicious savory vegetable spreads, but one that really stands out is Bulgarian lyutenitsa (or lutenitsa), a red pepper spread.

In Dr. Mary Neuburger’s book Ingredients of Change: The History and Culture of Food in Modern Bulgaria, she writes that the earliest forms of lyutenitsa were made with onion, eggplant and peppers. If it was summer, green peppers were used, and in the winter, dried hot peppers were used. Under socialism in the 1950’s, the spread became a mix of sweet peppers, tomatoes, oil and salt. In the late 1970’s, there are many different regional approaches of this popular spread–some including hot peppers; others with onion or eggplant.

Inspired by lyutenitsa, I’ve put together this variation, a quick grilled red pepper spread recipe with eggplant, onions, carrots, tomatoes and more. This recipe is fast. You grill the veggies, and then, you grind them in a food processor. It tastes delicious ice cold and smeared across your favorite bread. You can also use it as a condiment or dip.

This recipe makes ~3 cups.

A few things…

  • ・I used a gas grill. It took about 20 minutes to get everything grilled. Different vegetables will cook through at different rates. Keep a plate handy to place veggies that are ready to come off the grill.
  • ・I love smoky flavors, so I add a touch of smoked paprika. It’s a nice addition, but 100% optional.
  • ・Grind the red pepper spread to your preference. I like it a little chunky, but other people like it completely smooth. Do what suits you.

Please enjoy this grilled red pepper spread recipe! And don’t miss additional UVK recipes, like Kalamata Olive Tapenade, Grilled Tofu Skewers, Vegan Pita Sandwich with Grilled Eggplant and Pomegranate Molasses Tempeh, Mediterranean Chickpea Eggplant Salad, Vegan Baked Pasta with Tofu Ricotta and Eggplant, and more.

Red Pepper Spread Recipe Vegan
Inspired by Bulgarian lyutenitsa, this is a quick, delicious grilled vegan red pepper spread recipe

Grilled Red Pepper Spread

3 medium red bell peppers, sliced in half and cored

1 medium eggplant, sliced lengthwise in half

1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into sticks

½ medium yellow onion, sliced in large chunks

1 roma tomato, sliced lengthwise in half

1 Tbsp canola oil (+ more to drizzle)

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp smoked paprika, optional

Finely chopped parsley, to taste

Lyutenitsa Recipe

1. Preheat the grill to 400º F. Line a grill-proof sheet pan with non-stick aluminum foil.

2. Place the red peppers, eggplant, carrot, onion and roma tomato on the sheet pan. Drizzle with canola oil, and move around the veggies until well coated. Season with salt.

3. Place the sheet pan on the grill, and close the lid. Allow the veggies to cook for a ~5-8 minutes, and then, flip the veggies. Cook with the lid closed for ~5-8 minutes. As the veggies cook through, remove them from the grill. Continue grilling until everything is cooked through.

4. Place the grilled peppers, eggplant and tomato inside a pot and cover with a lid. Let it sit for ~10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Peel the skin off the red peppers, eggplant and tomato. Discard the skin.

4. Now, it’s time to mix everything into a tasty red pepper spread. Add all the grilled veggies, 1 Tbsp canola oil, salt, and smoked paprika (if using) to a food processor. Grind until it’s the consistency you like. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed (more salt? maybe some sweetener?). Serve cold as a spread for bread, condiment or dip.

2 responses to “Grilled Red Pepper Spread”

  1. Oh I love this! In Romanian this is called zacuscă and it took me a few years of living hear to love it (love-hate relationship with eggplant) but now I can’t get enough. Now I’m gonna make it for the in-laws. thanks for this

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