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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.
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian, Romanian
Keyword Roasted Vegetable Spread
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 49kcal
Author Florentina


  • 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.


Calories: 49kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 155mg | Potassium: 380mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2730IU | Vitamin C: 92.2mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1.8mg