This Spanish pisto recipe is a fresh and tasty vegan tapas recipe. It can be prepared as a main course, lunch, or side dish. It’s most often called Spanish ratatouille because it’s made with various vegetables seasoned and cooked in olive oil.
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What Is Spanish Pisto
I always shy away from defining a dish by reference to another, similar dish from a different country. But it is one of the easiest ways to give a reference point to someone who might not be as familiar with a cuisine from a country not their home.
With that, I will say that pisto is a Spanish ratatouille at its most basic. It’s a great Spanish vegetables recipe (it’s even vegan). If you are not a vegetarian, Spanish pisto makes a great authentic Spanish side dish to grilled meat or fish dishes. It can also be served as a snack or tapa dish, spread onto fresh or toasted bread.
It is similar to a ratatouille because various vegetables are seasoned and cooked in olive oil. Although there are variations using different vegetables, it’s also a great recipe to use up leftover vegetables in the fridge. And, by using olive oil and cumin to season it’s a perfect example of a Mediterranean vegetable stew.
Check out some of our other Spanish vegetable recipes:
Spanish Pisto Manchego
There are regional variations of pisto. The version in Andalusia normally includes Spanish eggplant and potatoes. This version is from La Mancha, in central Spain. It’s Spanish Pisto Manchego, meaning from La Mancha (just like manchego cheese!). It’s also popular in other Spanish regions, including Extremadura and Murcia, which is along the coast.
Like almost every Spanish recipe, this one starts with good, quality olive oil. All of the tasty vegetables are sauteed in the olive oil. The dish starts with a base on diced yellow onions, and diced or minced garlic. Then, I like to use green peppers, red peppers for sweetness (yellow peppers work too). I like using zucchini, although you can also use eggplant. The vegetables are then cooked in crushed tomatoes (you can use fresh as well, but it’s best to peel them) and seasoned with salt, black pepper, cumin, and a touch of sugar. The cumin adds a earthiness to the dish, which is then offset by a bit of sugar to balance.
Check out our recommendations for the Best Spanish Tapas Recipes.
How To Make This Spanish Pisto Recipe – Spanish Ratatouille
A traditional Spanish pisto recipe normally involves cooking the vegetables separately. This is particularly the case when using eggplant because it is a bit more difficult to properly cook eggplant. That is another reason why I skip the eggplant in this version to make it an easier recipe to cook.
After prepping all of the vegetables, place a large skillet over low to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Once the olive oil is warm, add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until they start to soften. Add the peppers and zucchini. Coat the vegetables in the olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and cumin, and allow to cook for about 15 minutes or until they soften. Add the tomatoes and sugar and allow to cook another 20-25 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 2 Italian green peppers, cut into chunks
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into chunks
- 1 large zucchini, cut into chunks
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 15 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- After prepping all of the vegetables, place a large skillet over low to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil.
- Once the olive oil is warm, add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until they start to soften.
- Add the peppers and zucchini. Coat the vegetables in the olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and cumin, and allow to cook for about 15 minutes or until they soften.
- Add the tomatoes and sugar and allow to cook another 20-25 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
- This recipe is for a Spanish Manchego Pisto, the more popular version of Pisto. There’s another version that is common in Andalucía that includes vegetables like potatoes and eggplant. Feel free to add these to your recipe if you want.
- Pisto is normally used as a side meal to accompany fried eggs, meat, etc. It can be eaten on its own as well, though, with some sourdough bread.
- Pisto can be prepared in advance since it will taste even better the next day.
- Feel free to double or triple the proportions and freeze part of it!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 330Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1261mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 4gSugar: 12gProtein: 4g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
How To Serve Pisto
If you are not vegan, there are a few fun ways to prepare and serve pisto to make it a bit more of a meal. For example, you can also top it with a fried egg to make pisto con huevo. Or, top it with a few thin slices of jamon, Spanish cured meat. You can even embrace the manchego in pisto manchego and add some slices of manchego cheese on top, allowing it to melt into the vegetable dish.