Basically, Ajvar is a roasted eggplant and sweet bell pepper dip. There are many variations around Mediterranean countries as well as in Balkan region. It can be served as a spread or a dip with crackers or crudités but traditionally it is served with grilled meat which reminds me that it would be a great topping for Viana Cowgirl Veggie Steaks.
2 large eggplants, washed and dried
6 large red bell peppers, washed and dried
1 garlic clove, crushed
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (optional)
Salt and black pepper
• Preheat the oven to 200°C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
• Place the eggplants and peppers on a baking sheet (2 layers if it is thin) and roast until their skins blister and turn black. This should take about 40 minutes depending on the oven.
• By using tongs, remove the vegetables from the oven and put them in a glass bowl and cover with a tea towel. Set aside for 10 minutes. This will make the peeling process easier.
• Peel off and discard blackened skins, stems and seeds. In a large bowl, mash or chop vegetables, depending on how smooth or chunky you like your Ajvar. Add crushed garlic and lemon juice, salt, pepper and oil. Stir well.
• Transfer Ajvar onto a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley for garnish, if you’re using.
• Serve as a dip or a topping to your seitan, vegan steaks and anywhere else you might like to use Ajvar. Enjoy!
Note: Store the remaining Ajvar in a clean glass jar. This way, it can be stored in the fridge up to 1 week.