Serbian Roasted Eggplant Pepper Spread (Ajvar)

Serbian Roasted Eggplant Pepper Spread (Ajvar)

Nikola Nastasic / Getty Images

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
290 Calories
19g Fat
33g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 290
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 102mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 9g 33%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 47mg 237%
Calcium 37mg 3%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 489mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Ajvar is a Serbian roasted eggplant-sweet pepper mixture, sometimes referred to as vegetarian caviar. It can be mashed or left chunky, depending on personal taste, and served as a relish, vegetable or spread on country-style white bread like pogacha as an appetizer. Its smoky flavor is a great match for grilled or roasted meats, especially lamb.

Ajvar is also typically served with cevaps sausage, also known as cevapcici, and a bread known as lepinje. Russians call this eggplant caviar or ikra which means caviar and is the same word for fish roe.


  • 2 large eggplants, about 3 pounds

  • 6 large red bell peppers

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1/2 cup good-quality olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat oven to 475 F.

  3. Pierce the eggplants all over with a fork. Place washed eggplants and peppers on a baking sheet with a lip to catch any juices, and roast until their skins blister and turn black—about 30 minutes.

  4. Place roasted vegetables in a heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let them steam for 10 minutes.

  5. Peel off and discard blackened skins, stems and seeds.

  6. In a large bowl, mash or chop vegetables, depending on how smooth or chunky you like your ajvar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add garlic and lemon juice, and drizzle in oil, stirring constantly.

  7. To serve, transfer to a glass dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley for garnish if desired.

  8. Enjoy.

Recipe Variation

  • Add chopped hot red chiles and onion and substitute red wine or red-wine vinegar for the lemon juice. Bulgarian kiopoolu is similar, but it uses green peppers instead of red peppers and tomatoes are added.


  • Store covered and refrigerated for up to one week.