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5 from 6 votes

Romanian Zacuscă Recipe

Traditional Romanian vegetable spread made up of roasted eggplants, bell peppers and a variety of aromatic spices such as peppercorn and bay leaf.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Romanian
Keyword dip, Romanian food, vegetable spread, Zacuscă
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 357kcal


  • 4 medium eggplants (aubergine)
  • 8 medium red bell peppers
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 2 spicy peppers such as jalepeno, serrano or 1 tbsp crushed chili flakes
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cup sunflower oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp peppercorn (around 25-30)
  • 2 medium red onions


  • Preheat oven to 220C/430F. Poke eggplants and bell peppers all over with a fork. Roast in the center of the oven for 45 minutes (eggplant) and 35-40 minutes (bell pepper) until charred and soft. Rotate halfway through.
  • Once cool enough to handle, remove the skins from the eggplants and bell peppers. To remove the flesh from the eggplant: cut in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. (photos above)
  • Set eggplant in a strainer to drain its liquid for an hour and 30 minutes.
  • While the eggplant is draining prepare the tomato puree. Cut an x into the bottom of each tomato. Boil for 3-5 minutes then place in cold water for 3-5 minutes. Peel skin and blend with hand mixer or blender.
  • Thinly dice onions (and peppers if using). Add oil and diced onions to pot.
  • Roughly chop eggplant and bell peppers to form a loose, thick paste.
  • Roughly grind peppercorn in mortar and pestle
  • Add eggplant, bell pepper, tomato puree, bay leaves, peppercorn and salt to pot.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 90 minutes.
  • Adjust seasoning to desired taste and enjoy! You can serve this immediately however it drastically develops flavor over time so I recommend a night in the fridge first.