Meatless Monday: Algerian flat bread with roasted red pepper sauce

A dense hearty, bread that can serve as a meal or an appetizer at a party.

Novel Eats
Algerian flat bread with roasted red pepper sauce. The bread is best eaten fresh, but the sauce can be made a day or two ahead of time.

I love it when I find a recipe that is already vegan. Of course, I enjoy turning popular vegetarian or meat dishes into vegan ones – that is probably pretty obvious by now – but there is something more satisfying when I discover that a recipe is already free of milk, eggs, meat or fish. What is even better about it is when the recipe doesn’t exist to be vegan, the recipe just is what it is. Believe me when I say that those are some of the best recipes out there – they aren’t trying to be something they are not.

I recently came across just such a recipe. It intrigued me for two reasons – first, I didn’t have to change a thing in the recipe, and secondly it uses semolina flour for a flat bread. I have always associated semolina flour with making pasta, so I was surprised seeing it used in this way. I can tell you that it most definitely works, but the bread is heavy and dense.

You’ll want to make this to be a meal in and of itself if making this for a handful of people, or as a side or appetizer at a party – there is so much bread to go around that it really can’t all be eaten by one or two people. Plus, it tastes best fresh, so be sure to make the bread the same day that it will be eaten, but the sauce can be made a day or two in advance if you want to save time.

Algerian Bouzgene Berber Bread with Roasted Pepper Sauce
This recipe is from


2 red bell peppers
4 tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
salt to taste

Flat Bread:

2 pounds semolina flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
3 cups water, or as needed
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons olive oil, for frying

Preheat your oven’s broiler. Place red bell peppers and tomatoes on a baking sheet, and roast under the broiler for about eight minutes, turning occasionally.

This should blacken the skin and help it peel off more easily.

Cool, then scrape the skins off of the tomatoes and peppers, and place them in a large bowl. Remove cores and seeds from the bell peppers.

Chop up your garlic.

Chop up your jalapeños, discarding the seeds first. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the jalapeños and garlic, and cook until tender, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat, and transfer the garlic and jalapeño to the bowl with the tomatoes and red peppers. Using two sharp steak knives (one in each hand), cut up the tomatoes and peppers to a coarse and soupy consistency. Stir, and set sauce aside.

Note: This is where I would deviate from the recipe. If you have a food processor, I would recommend that you pulse the red peppers and tomatoes to a rough consistency. Pour it into a bowl, then stir in the sautéed garlic and jalapeño, as well as about one to two teaspoons of salt (or to taste).

Grab your semolina flour.

Place the semolina in a large bowl, and stir in salt and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Gradually add water while mixing and squeezing with your hand until the dough holds together without being sticky or dry, and molds easily with the hand. Divide into six pieces and form into balls.

For each round, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Roll out dough one round at a time, to no thicker than 1/4 inch.

Fry in the hot skillet until dark brown spots appear on the surface, and they are crispy. Remove from the skillet, and wrap in a clean towel while preparing the remaining flat breads.

To eat the bread and sauce, break off or cut pieces of the bread, and scoop them into the sauce.

To see a photo illustration of each step, click here.

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