Peppers. Eggplant. Tomatoes!
You’ve been asking me for more plant-based breakfast ideas and so I wanted to share this veggie garden spread for some time now. This is what breakfast looked like for me as a child. Whole wheat crusty bread slathered with a thick layer of mom’s roasted vegetable spread. Serve with your favorite herbs, scallions, radishes, cucumbers, the works…
The original recipe also known as Zacusca calls for oil. I adapted mine to be completely WFPB, healthy and good for you without sacrificing flavor. This is legit you guys!
The gist of it is roasting eggplants and bell peppers to infuse them with that roasted smoky flavor, chop them up then cook them down with San Marzano tomatoes (you can use fresh) until a thick spread is achieved.
It doubles down as a pasta sauce and gluten-free dip on the appetizer platter served with pita bread. As you can see the possibilities are endless with a jar of this magic in your pantry.
Best Roasted Vegetable Spread (Zacusca)
The best roasted vegetable spread with eggplant, peppers and tomatoes. Perfect as a dip on the vegan appetizer platter, as a spread on little tea sandwiches, morning toast, bagels or as a smoky pasta sauce.
- 3 large red bell peppers (or your favorite colors)
- 3 medium eggplants
- 28 oz canned whole San Marzano tomatoes (you can use fresh blanched tomatoes instead)
- 1 yellow onion -finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic -minced
- 3 leaves bay
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp red chili flakes -or to taste
- 1 pinch sea salt +more to taste
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley -roughly chopped
Rinse the eggplants and pierce them with a knife in a few spots. Roast them together with the bell peppers under the broiler flames until charred on all sides. Flip them around a few times, then transfer to a bowl. Cover with a lid until cool enough to handle.
Peel the charred skins from the peppers, discard the seeds then core and chop up the flesh. (You can puree them in a food processor too)
Scoop the flesh from inside the roasted eggplants and mix together with the roasted peppers. Set aside until needed.
Meanwhile in a heavy bottom pot saute the onion with a pinch of sea salt, pepper flakes and a splash of water until translucent. Stir in the garlic and the tomatoes breaking them up with a flat wooden spoon.
Stir in the roasted pepper, eggplant, smoked paprika and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Partially cover with a lid and cook down until most of the juices from the tomatoes have cooked down into a thick spread, about 35 minutes or so.
Add the chopped parsley and season to taste with more sea salt and extra pepper flakes. (At this point you can use a potato masher for a smoother consistency If you prefer, I like the rustic texture of the sauce.)
Refrigerate until chilled to serve as a spread or toss with whole wheat noodles or in a cold pasta salad.
note: If you insist on using olive oil in your spread, then just make sure to use a cold pressed variety that you add at the very end after the sauce has been cooked.