Croatian Peka For Vegetarians

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Croatian Peka For Vegetarians

This Expat Eats recipe comes from the Island of Vis. Well, kind of…Ispod Peke or Ispod Cripnje, to some, translates to under the bell, and  Croatian Peka; it’s one of the most fabulous ways of cooking here in Croatia. This vegetarian option is being shared with you from Craig & Xania from Wearactive.  They live on the Croatian island of Vis & offer guided activities and accommodation in their beautifully renovated old stone house.

Some time ago, I shared our secrets for cooking Ispod Peke; no huge secret to making a great Peka but rather a skill! If the veggie option does not tickle your fancy, you can see the meaty option we served up along with other recipes in our Croatian Cooking section.

Xania Says

Ispod Peka - Chasing the Donkey #Croatia
Meat or Veggie for you?

On Vis and within Dalmatia, the Croatian ‘peka’ is everyone’s absolute favorite dish. A peka is a slow-cooked ‘under the bell’ baked dish. The plate is usually prepared about 4 hours in advance, and traditionally on Vis, you will be offered lamb, fish, or octopus. Because at Wearactive we provide vegetarian food for our guests, Rokis, a fantastic Vis restaurant, created a veggie peka.

Oliver Roki, the owner, always serves it with a huge grin, shake of the head, and a passing comment about the missing flesh. We love it, though, and our veggie guests really enjoy a slightly adapted Dalmatian dish. Our guests that are not veggie usually come from the restaurant raving about the tasty fish and super succulent lamb!

Ispod Peka - Chasing the Donkey #Croatia

Vegetarian Peka Recipe

Hungry for Croatian peka? Here are two ways to make it, including the not very common vegetarian peka option.

Ingredients

  • 2 quartered onions
  • 1 kg peeled and quartered potatoes (2.2 lbs)
  • 3 peeled and chopped carrots
  • 5 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped aubergine/eggplant
  • 1 chopped courgette/zucchini
  • 4 chopped tomatoes
  • Drained tin of chickpeas
  • 100 ml white wine (1/2 cup)
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoning and a handful of fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon.

Instructions

  1. Oil a circular baking dish (that fits under the peka), add potatoes, onions and carrots, garlic, and some salt and pepper and mix
  2. Add half of the wine and a good splash of oil, and mix again
  3. Make the fire and preheat both sides of the ‘Peka’ (Croatian cast Iron bell). Put the baking dish inside and cover it with the Peka
  4. Add charcoal both below and above the Peka and leave it for 1 hour
  5. Then, add the other vegetables, chickpeas, and the rest of the wine
  6. Add more charcoal on top of Peka and cook until ready (approx 45 mins)
  7. Just before serving. add a handful of chopped fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice
  8. Serve hot with bread and a strong red wine! We always eat the Peka with Rokis Plavac, a Vis island wine

If you want to enjoy this dish, along with kayaking, swimming  & snorkeling on the Island of Vis, talk to Xania & Craig on their Wearactive website or Twitter and book in for some time out with them. We’d love to take the Baby Donkey over to see them this year, so we may see you there.

If you want to see what life on Vis is like, Zora, their dog, has this to show you…

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Comments (17)

  1. Yummmm. The dish itself is new to me but the combination of ingredients sounds really good.

    Sorry I’m popping over later than usual from #recipeoftheweek – Linky Tools went down! Thanks for linking up. I’ve Pinned and Tweeted this post and a fresh linky is open over on the blog x

  2. You have such an interesting blog. Looking forward to learning more about both Croatia and Australia.

  3. This Croatian veggie peka sounds good. Not sure I’ll ever make it to Croatia but enjoyed looking around at the photos. #SITSblogging

  4. We ate at Rokis and loved our peka. I didn’t realise that he made a vegetarian peka but it would be fun to try at home now that we have a recipe! I have a feeling it will taste better sitting in the garden at this fun restaurant with a glass or three of the local wine!

    1. Yes, I think you may be right there. Did you take a Peka tray home with you? Im not sure where to get them in Aust?!?

  5. We are planning to visit Croatia next winter, and as we are vegan we are a little anxious about finding food without animal products. The recipe looks fantastic, and seeing it makes us a little more confident that we can make it work 🙂

    1. Depending on which part of the country you are visiting, but you can find vegan dishes anywhere and everywhere. There are soups, cuspajz with veggies, traditional breads without eggs or milk (with all kinds of grains and seeds though), risotto with veggies and wine, almost all supermarkets have vegetarian or vegan food in their offer.
      Oddly enough, fruits and veggies everywhere. If you drink coffee, you might have trouble getting your coffee with soy milk, as not all have it, and I know of vegan restaurants and icecreams in Zagreb and Osijek, not on the coast though.

        1. Hope that it helps 🙂 The main catch is that it usually isn’t specified as vegan, more often it’s just called traditional. There are also some vegetarian/vegan traditional cookies available for purchase even in some souvenir shops. I actually know a lot of Croatians who are vegetarian, some vegan and they seem to get by quite well, but I can really only vouch for Zagreb and the mainland, as I know that Nishta is quite popular in Dubrovnik and well rated. In all of the country you can find vegan and healthy foods in supermarkets of all kinds, bio&bio is the most popular one. In Zagreb there are many choices, the evident and most popular one being vegehop, although most of the bistro’s and small restaurants offer a vegetarian or vegan meal in their menu. If your looking for all natural indredients without any addietives guaranteed, Ivica i Marica in Zagreb is great. A small all Croatian shop called voce i povrce svemoguce (fruit and vegetables almighty) has vegetarian/vegan employees who are well informed and often give out recipe’s of their own. Both they and vegehop sell homemade vegetarian dog/cat food and treats for pets which can be specially made if your pet is allergic.
          As for peka, apples with carrots and/or plums. With a drizzle of wine in there. Yummy

      1. I don’t know for restaurants but you have some Vegetarian/Vegan shop in Split. Many restaurants also have vegetarian meals, some of them have separate vegetarian menus.

  6. when I first saw the word vegetarian, I thought to myself that there are so many vegetarian options for the peka, with all the fantastic fish available. But this is strictly vegan. Can’t imagine anyone would even miss fish, anyway. Everything is so delicious ispod peka, even slow-roasted apples.

    1. Apples??? Ohhh man what a neat idea. I’ll be asking Tetak to try that for me.

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