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Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Sauce

August 16, 2010

Entrance to a Slovak house, the courtyard, baby ducks, farming equipment

In Pivnica, just as they did hundreds of years ago, Slovaks live in houses facing the side yard, with the main entrance opening to a stone courtyard and a fence across the front facing the road.  Chickens and ducks wander around freely in the courtyard with the dogs and cats.

At the back of the courtyard is a barn, usually housing farm equipment, rabbits in cages, hay for horses, and shulky, dried corn used as fuel. The barn opens on the other side into a garden and here you will find neat rows of vegetables planted, perhaps a small vineyard and fruit and nut trees blooming.

The Slovaks in Pivnica grow their own walnuts as well as red peppers.  When I was there this past spring, relatives gave me a handful of their homegrown walnuts, as well as a slice of just baked walnut squares – they were heavenly.

Pivnica garden, shulky shredder, shulky,walnut squares

A classic Middle Eastern sauce, this recipe is similar to basil pesto and can be used in place of it; I’ve found variations in Turkish, Greek and Serbian cookbooks. I know, you can buy it now in a jar, but why would you choose an inferior tasting product when you can whip up such a delicious version so quickly yourself?  This recipe freezes well.

Serves 6-8.


  • 2 red bell peppers
  • ½ cup walnut pieces
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Day old bread, about 2 pieces (optional) – thickens it a bit
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup water


  1. Roast the red peppers on the BBQ or in the oven, cool and remove the seeds and skins
  2. Toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan for 2-4 minutes, until slightly brown
  3. Process the stale bread in the food processor (toast lightly first if not stale)
  4. Blend all the ingredients, including the peppers, walnuts and breadcrumbs, together in a food processor until smooth
  5. If necessary, add a few drops of water at a time to thin the sauce to the desired consistency

Serve with pita bread triangles, spread on a lamb or veggie burger in place of ketchup (and add feta cheese and grilled onions), as a dip for kebabs, tossed with pasta, as a sauce on baked salmon, or as an appetizer on a crostini with feta cheese.

Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Sauce

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 19, 2015 7:07 am

    Hi there Tonya, what a find your site is – I love it! I came to it researching about food from Slovakia.
    The recipes sound fantastic, so authentic, I can’t wait to try some. Want to make my own Ajvar- I adore that stuff.
    How lucky you are to have such a rich culinary history in your own family to draw from.
    Thanks Mimsey

    • January 20, 2015 3:53 pm

      Hi Mimsey! Thank you for your compliments! I really need to get back to it and writing more stories. Tonya


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