Adjika – Tomato Pepper Salsa

Adjika is a popular European side dish that is similar to a tomato pepper salsa. The tomatoes and peppers are cooked with carrots, apples and garlic to make a delicious combination that is savory, a little bit sweet, tart with a bit of heat too. It’s wonderful to serve with poultry, meat, seafood or even spread on black bread to enjoy with a bowl of soup.

Adjika tomato pepper salsa

The best way I can describe Adjika, or Adzhika is a tomato and pepper salsa. Every year, at the end of the summer, my Mom would make this delicious vegetable side dish to preserve and enjoy during the cold months. As the bountiful garden harvest comes to a close, canning all these delicious vegetables is a great way to make good use of every last bit of summer’s gifts. Every canning season doesn’t seem complete to me without making a batch of my Mom’s Adjika.

Adjika is made with peppers, tomatoes, carrots, apples and garlic that together make a wonderful combination of flavors. It’s usually served as a side dish, condiment and is often used to flavor other dishes. Since I don’t have any Georgian heritage in me and don’t really have any acquaintances from that particular region of the former Soviet Union, I’m pretty sure this is NOT an authentic recipe. This version is my Mom’s recipe, and her side of the family goes back to Belarus as far back as we know. I can’t vouch for authenticity like I said, but I can certainly guarantee that it tastes great!

It has a salsa like consistency, you can make it as spicy and hot as you like by adding more or less hot peppers. I like mine mild, so I keep the heat level pretty tame. With the addition of carrots, tomatoes, and apples, this pepper salsa is a perfect combination of flavors – peppery, acidic, slightly sweet and very balanced. Serve it alongside shish kebabs, chicken, fish as well as to flavor soups, stews, casseroles and on top of burritos. 

Ingredients For Adjika:

  • tomatoes – any tomatoes will work, but it’s best to use larger tomatoes, not grape/cherry tomatoes.
  • bell peppers – any color or variety of sweet peppers can be used. I recommend using red, orange or yellow bell peppers.
  • carrots
  • apples – any variety of apples will also be great in this recipe. I like using apples that are more tart, like Granny Smith apples.
  • hot peppers – the hot pepper variety and amount is completely up to you, depending on how spicy you want the Adjika to be. Use poblanos and/or jalapenos for a more mild Adjika, or use much hotter peppers that will really give the Ajika a kick and put your mouth on fire.
  • garlic – the garlic flavor is a must in Adjika.
  • distilled white vinegar – you can use other vinegars, but it will change the flavor. Distilled white vinegar gives it a very clean flavor.
  • sugar – regular granulated sugar or raw sugar
  • salt
  • oil – sunflower was the most common oil that we used in Belarus, so I like to use it hear to give it the flavor that I remember, but any oil will work – avocado, olive oil, grape seed, etc.
Ingredients for Adjika

What is Adjika?

Adjika was created in Georgia, a country in the Caucasus region, at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is made by blending and cooking together tomatoes, peppers and a few other ingredients to make a salsa-like consistency that is usually spicy and can be used as a condiment, side dish or added to other recipes, such as entrees and soups.

How To Make Adjika/Tomato Pepper Salsa

  • Wash and prep all the ingredients. Peel the carrots and apples, remove the seeds from the tomatoes and peppers. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and apples.
  • Use a meat grinder or a food processor to finely chop all ingredients into a salsa-like consistency. If you’re using a meat grinder, you can cut the veggies into bigger chunks. I like to use the food processor, so I coarsely chop them so that the consistency would be the same. 
  • Place in a big stockpot or a heavy bottomed dutch oven and cook, simmering and covered for an hour. The vegetables will soften and the mixture will become more liquidy.
  • Add the vinegar, salt, sugar, oil and garlic. Cook for another 15-20 minutes.
  • Distribute the Adjika into clean jars and close with lids. If I make just one batch, I store it in the refrigerator. However, if you are making a large amount, make sure to sterilize your jars and lids before adding the Adjika. Then place the jars inside a large pot filled with water and boil for 10-15 minutes. Turn the jars upside down and cover with a towel.
  • Store unsterilized jars in the refrigerator or sterilized jars at room temperature. You can also freeze Adjika for up to 6 months. Open jars of Adjika can be refrigerated for a week. Sterilized jars can be stored for months.
How To Make Adjika Tomato Pepper Salsa
*the last photo is a double batch of Adjika

What To Serve With Adjika

Adjika tomato pepper salsa
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Adjika

Adjika is a popular European side dish from the Georgian cuisine that can be compared to a tomato pepper salsa, cooked with carrots, apples and garlic to make a savory, slightly sweet and spicy condiment or sauce.

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 mins
  • Yield: 12 cups 1x
  • Category: Side Dish

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 1/2 lbs tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb apples, cored, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 12 hot peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic head, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup salt
  • 1/3 cup oil (sunflower, olive, grape seed, avocado etc.)

Instructions

  1. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and apples.
  2. Grind in a meat grinder or use your food processor until it has a salsa-like consistency.
  3. Place in a big stockpot or heavy-bottomed Dutch oven and cook, simmering and covered for an hour.
  4. Add the vinegar, salt, sugar, and garlic. Cook for another 15 – 20 minutes.
  5. Distribute the adzhika into clear jars and close with lids.
  6. Sterilize the jars if you want to store them at room temperature for months, or refrigerate.

Keywords: Adjika, how to make adjika, adzhika, tomato and pepper salsa

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43 Comments

  • Natasha

    Looks great! Looking forward to more pickled food recipes. What kind of pickled recipes do you usually make? by the way, Every single recipe I tried from your blog came out so delicious. Thank you for all the work that you put into this blog. I check it everyday 🙂

    • olgak7

      I love to make all kinds of pickled food, Natasha. My favorites are marinated pickles, tomatoes, mushrooms, lecho, and all kinds of salads and mixes with different vegetables.

  • Natalya Wilson

    Olga… what kind of apples go best for the adzhika? more sour or sweet? thinking to make little bit for a family.
    Thank you!

  • Rachel

    Olga, just love browsing through your website. Anyways, I made adjika two years in the row. Guess what, the ingredients are exact like yours. Got to tell you this that anyone who tries it ask’s for the recipe. It’s absolutely the best one I ever tried.

  • Anna

    hey olga, is it important to seed the tomatoes? wouldn’t it add the sauce-nous of it all? I have tried to make my moms and my moms in law adjika recipe and both have come out to be.. not exactly like theirs lol so i am excited to find this! steps measurements pictures, love it! Thank You!!!

    • olgak7

      First of all, I don’t like biting on the seeds. Second of all, it will make the Adzhika more watery. However, you can certainly use the tomatoes whole and not bother seeding them, Anna. It’s a personal preference for me.

  • Nadia

    Hi Olga, I have never made adzhika, my mil brought me a lot of tomatoes today from her garden! About how many tomatoes is 2 pounds! I have medium sized tomatoes.

  • malina

    i know you said this was your mom’s version , but still is has absolutely nothing to do with real Georgian Ajika , or with its variations . Ajika is made with chili or jalapeno peppers , coriander , spices and walnuts , if desired. It is very hot and spicy sauce . Apples and carrots ? Big NO.

    I’m not sure that having the only “right” ingredient , which is jalapeno pepper qualifies for , this otherwise pretty good recipe , to be called Ajika , or even version of it.

    I don’t mean to be rude or anything by writing this , just thought it wasn’t correct .

    • olgak7

      Thanks for your input, Malina. This is the kind of Adzhika that we had in Belarus, where I was born. We love this version. I’m sure there are many other delicious versions. I share the recipes on this website that my family and I enjoy.
      If you’d like to share your recipe, I would love to try it as well.

      • beata

        Thank you for your wonderful recipes. I am originally from Ukraine and I like to try other cuisines as well. Adzhika you are suggesting is very similar to one I buy for my American friend In Russian store. I want to make your recipe and see if I can use other peppers like Thai or Korean hot pepper.

  • L

    Hello I am canning and was wondering about the step where you place jars of adjika into pot and boil for 10-15 min. Do you boil them against each other standing straight up (lid up)? Upside down for a seal? Or does the upside down Come after the boiling in the pot?

        • Violetta

          Im sorry for so much questions, but also about the turning the cans upside down, do I need to do this if i’m storing in the fridge? I didn’t understand that part.

          • Violetta

            Ok thank you! My husband really liked it 🙂 my first time making it. Next time he just asked to make it spicier so I will probably just add more jalapeno peppers. Thank you so much for your recipe!

          • olgak7

            That’s awesome, Violetta! I am so glad you enjoyed the Adzhika. Thank you for taking the time to write; I really appreciate hearing from those who made the recipes. This version of Adzhika is very mild, so you can definitely add some jalapeño peppers, or even some spicier peppers to bring in some heat.

  • sallsabill

    Thnks Olga ,how about some onion?can i add some ?have you or your mother added onion before? It looks delicious

  • Anna

    Nade this and it was delicious! If I’m tripling this recipe do I cook it for 3 hrs then or will it still be 1hr?

  • Olga

    I made adjika with just tomatoes, Serrano (didn’t have chili) and garlic. It was such a great addition to the manti I made. I told my American husband that it used to be our family fun together time when my parents and us kids would make pelmeni together. So my hubby and I made manti together, steamed them and ate them right away with little adjika (he also wanted Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce). Tell you it was so much fun and all made together. I’m Russian (as much as you can be lol). S uvageniyem, tezka Ol’ga

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