Zacusca – traditional Romanian vegetable spread

“Zacusca” is a spread that any Romanian must love and I think it is time to be spread out in the world :). This dish is meant to be prepared in big quantities and preserved for the winter.

It is usually served on bread and it is absolutely delicious. The combination of roasted pepper, its sweetness and the smokiness of the eggplant will surely make you fall in love with it too.

It is time consuming to chop and roast all the ingredients and afterwards stir for 1.5 hours the mix, but the jars will last for months and the effort will be well worth it.

borcane de zacusca Zacusca
Servings: 4-5 jars
Time: 2-3 hours
Difficulty: difficult


  • 1.5 kg onion
  • 3 kg eggplant
  • 1.5 kg tomatoes
  • 2 kg red pepper
  • 500 ml oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2-3 bay leaves


  1. Roast the eggplant either in the oven (pinch them with a fork so that they won’t explode) or on an older pan as in the pictures. This method it a lot better since it will give an extra smoky taste to the eggplants. Turn them on all the sides until they are very soft to touch, but not burnt.
  2. Cut the top of the eggplant and let them strain until they are cool enough to be cleaned.wm_IMG_20181111_163319
  3. Roast the red pepper in the oven at 175 ºC for ~30 min or until they soften a bit. Once ready you can sprinkle them with salt (this will help to peel them off easier) and let them cool.wm_IMG_20181111_155943
  4. Once the pepper and eggplant are cool, peel them off and chop them really finely.
  5. Cut the onions Julienne.
  6. Grate the tomatoes.
  7. In a large pot pour the oil and let it get hot.
  8. Put the onion and simmer it until it becomes slightly yellow and reduces significantly in volume.
  9. Now you can add the chopped eggplant, get it to a boil and keep it on small fire for another 15 min.
  10. Add the chopped pepper.
  11. Bring it to a boil and add the tomato juice.
  12. Now the salt, pepper and bay leaves can be added.
  13. The spread needs to boil on small fire for another 1 or 1.5 hours or until the oil comes to the surface. Don’t forget to stir occasionally.
  14. Sterilize the jars in the meantime.
  15. Let the spread to cool for 20 min and it can be poured in the jars.

Enjoy your breakfasts!