Safta’s Lutenitsa Recipe

Discover the tasty tradition of lutenitsa, a savory spread born from the charred flavors of roasted peppers and eggplant and brought to life by this recipe from Safta.

Safta's Lutenitsa
Photo by Connor Stehr.

“My safta (grandmother) would turn those charred vegetables into lutenitsa, a simple spread that you can eat with bread, alongside hummus or labneh, or on its own. Now, we serve it at Safta as a tribute to her.” —Chef Alon Shaya, chef and cofounder, Safta


Servings 2 cups


  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
  • ¼ c. tomato paste
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp. Morton kosher salt
  • ¾ c. canned whole tomatoes with juice
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley leaves (chopped)


  • Line stove’s burners with foil. Set the peppers on their sides over high heat, directly over the flame. Cook until completely blackened, about 3–4 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  • Use a fork to prick the eggplant a few times all over. Cook over medium-high heat as you did with the peppers, rotating every few minutes, until completely charred and tender throughout, about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  • Rub the charred skin from the peppers, then remove the stems, seeds, and pith. Chop and set aside.
  • Halve the eggplant lengthwise and cut off the top. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the charred skin. Set aside with the peppers.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring to help it caramelize. When the tomato paste smells toasty, add the garlic and cook just until it starts to soften.
  • Stir in the peppers, eggplant, canned tomatoes, and salt. Reduce the heat to low, and cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour, until thick, sweet, and deeply caramelized. Stir occasionally to prevent the bottom of the pan from burning. Cool to room temperature.
  • To serve, top with parsley and the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil.
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