I am so excited to introduce Lyutenitza to anyone who is not East European and reads my blog. It is an amazing and super flavourful spread that goes with absolutely everything and lasts long in the fridge.
This Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Spread is gluten-free, vegan, makes a great addition to a charcuterie board, or as a DIY gift. I, like any other Bulgarian, love it on freshly baked bread.
But you can eat it on absolutely anything. It goes well as a side to grilled meat or fish.
What is Lyutenitza?
Lyutenitza is a traditional Bulgarian relish made out of roasted red pepper, tomato, eggplant, and spices. Ingredients actually vary by the region and there are a lot of variations of this chutney.
It is a custom to prepare it outside in big batches and canning it for the winter. When doing it outside, the spread gets this charred and roasted taste that I was not able to accomplish when doing it at home.
What ingredients do you need for Lyutenitza?
Like I said above, there is not a set and stone recipe that I can follow. I asked my grandmother for hers. So, here are the ingredients you need.
- Red Bell Peppers
- Tomato paste
- Vegetable Oil
- Salt & Black Pepper
Important Note: It is extremely important that the ingredients, especially the vegetables are organic and ripe.
How to make Lyutenitza?
First, roast the red bell peppers. It can be done in the oven, or if you have a gas stove, on top of it. I grilled mine because it was faster and easier. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
The peppers will become soft and you will be able to peel them. Remove the stems and the seeds.
While roasting the peppers, boil the carrots and onion until soft. Make a cross-cut on the bottom of the tomatoes and boil in a different pot. After several minutes, take them out and wash them with cold water. You will be able to peel them then.
In a large food processor blend all ingredients except the tomatoes. Transfer to a large pot and bring to boil. Then turn the heat down and simmer until you are able to scrape on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon and the lyutenitza does not come back together.
In the end, adjust the seasoning and you are all set! Let it cool and put in jars. It lasts up to 10 days in the fridge and up to a year if you can it properly.
Follow the full recipe below and enjoy!
Roasted Red Pepper Spread
- 4 Lb Red Peppers
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 40 ml Vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp Sugar
- 1/2 Onion
- 2 Carrots
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 1/2 Large Eggplant
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Roast the red bell peppers and eggplant until charred. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and steam them for about 40 minutes. Then peel the skin off and discard the stems and seeds.
- In a large pot, boil carrots and onion until softened (about 20 minutes).
- Transfer the eggplant and roasted red peppers to a food processor. Blend for a few minutes. Add the carrots and onion and continue blending for another one minute.
- Transfer the mixture to a sauce pan and bring to boil. Add the tomato paste, sugar, oil, and salt & pepper. Once boiling, bring the heat down to medium-low and simmer for at least 1 hour.
Keywords: authentic lyutenitza, comfort food, lyutenitza recipe, roasted pepper spread