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Macedonian Ajvar is a roasted red pepper spread made up of red bell peppers, eggplant, oil, and less frequently, red wine vinegar and garlic. Macedonian Ajvar or what is often found labeled as ‘Serbian’ ajvar is a popular dip in Southeastern Europe, specifically North Macedonia or the ‘Republic of Macedonia’ that directly borders Serbia.
This dish has become one of my favorite dips, often served on toasted bread with feta and herbs. It was first introduced to me at my culinary internship after making friends with a bartender from North Macedonia. This healthy dish is a perfect addition to your summer entertaining menu that’s easy, filling, and nutritious.
How To Make This Macedonian Ajvar
- Wash & De-seed. Wash and de-seed your peppers while removing the eggplants skin if desired. For me, I do not mind the texture of the eggplant’s skin which provides additional antioxidants. If desired you may also pull the peppers apart as the size of the pieces does not matter very much.
- Roast & Blister. Separate your eggplant and peppers just incase one cooks faster while making sure not to overcrowd your pan. If you crowd your pan your peppers/eggplant will sweat vs. roast and blister.
- Pulse & Purée. Pulse all of your ingredients in a food processor, in batches if necessary, and combining into a serving dish when ready.
- Garnish, Serve, & Enjoy. Garnish and top with herbs like dill or oregano, feta or vegan feta, lemon zest, and pine nuts. Serve with veggies, warm toasted bread, and crackers of your choice!
Macedonian Ajvar (vinegar-free)
- 2 lb red bell pepper about 5-6 peppers
- 1 lb eggplant about 2 medium eggplants / skin on or off (whatever you desire)
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil used with roasted veggies
- 2 tsp to 1 tbsp picnic salt blend further season once it’s blended – adjust to your salt needs.
- Cracked salt & pepper
- Wash all of your ingredients for this Macedonian ajvar.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
- Dice your eggplant into large cubes and dice and de-seed your bell peppers. Reserve.
- Combine both veggies on a separate baking sheet with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper to each. Tuck two cloves of garlic into a roasted pepper or between to ensure it does not burn in the roasting process.
- Cook the items until thoroughly cooked (roughly 35 minutes)
- Remove the veggies from the oven (you want them to have a blistered appearance.)
- Add the veggies while still hot to your food processor and pulse immediately.
- Pulse the ingredients until thoroughly combined and season to taste. I prefer using the linked (above) French picnic salt for an extra boost in flavors.
- Remove and add to a dish and serve with sliced veggies, toasted warm bread, or almond crackers.
- Optional: Add lemon zest, feta or vegan feta, toasted pine nuts, fresh oregano or dill to top your dip. Other ways to enjoy it is in a Macedonian Ajvar-based Shakshuka!
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