Bomba Calabrese (Spicy Calabrian Pepper Spread)


This amazing Calabrian pepper spread is as delicious as it is unknown. I love it on sliced fresh bread, but you can toss it with pasta, add it to a sandwich, fill an omelet, top a pizza, or serve as salsa with grilled fish, or in deviled eggs.

Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
55 mins
32 (2-tablespoon) servings


  • 4 large button mushrooms, quartered

  • ½ yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 small eggplant - trimmed, peeled, cut into chunks

  • ¾ cup olive oil, or more as needed, divided

  • 1 pinch kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 2 pounds hot cherry peppers

  • 1 pound red bell peppers

  • 3 habanero peppers

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • ½ teaspoon crushed fennel seeds

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar, or to taste


  1. Place mushrooms, onion, and eggplant into bowl of a food processor. Pulse on and off until very finely chopped but not liquefied, 8 to 10 pulses.

  2. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil into a skillet. Transfer mushroom mixture to skillet over medium-high heat. Add a large pinch of salt. Cook until mixture is soft, stirring, about 10 minutes.

  3. Cut off tops of cherry peppers; discard stems but save the ring of pepper around it. (Do wear protective gloves for this.) Cut the peppers in half and remove the seed pods. Shake out the rest of the seeds. Prep the bell peppers and habanero peppers the same way. Place all peppers in bowl of food processor. Pulse on and off until peppers are very finely chopped, but not liquefied. Transfer peppers to eggplant-onion-mushroom mixture in skillet. Add remaining olive oil. Cook and stir over medium-high heat, reducing heat as needed if mixture looks like it may brown. Add fennel seeds, oregano, and a pinch of salt. Cook until peppers are sweet and tender, 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

  4. Stir in white wine vinegar and (optionally) another tablespoon of olive oil. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and cool to room temperature. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt, a splash of vinegar, and/or olive oil, if needed. Transfer to jars. Store in refrigerator.

    close up view of Bomba Calabrese (Spicy Calabrian Pepper Spread) in a jar on a cutting board, served with sliced bread
    Chef John

Chef's Note:

Two pounds cherry peppers should yield about 1 pound after trimming. One pound bell peppers should yield about 12 ounces after trimming.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

58 Calories
5g Fat
3g Carbs
1g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 32
Calories 58
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Sodium 74mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 32mg 160%
Calcium 6mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 98mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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