The main ingredients are roasted eggplant, sauteed onions, tomato paste, and roasted red peppers (Romanian pepper called gogoşari),. Some add mushrooms, carrots, or celery. Bay leaves are added as spice, as well as other ingredients (oil, salt, and pepper). Traditionally, a family will cook a large quantity of it after the fall harvest and preserve it through canning.
Zacuscă can be eaten as a relish or spread, typically on bread. It is said to improve in taste after some months of maturing but must be used within days of opening. Although traditionally prepared at home, it is also commercially available. Some Bulgarian and Middle Eastern brand-names are available in the United States.