The traditional Spanish ‘pisto’ recipe from Andalusia varies a lot in flavour from chef to chef, but it always has lots of onion, garlic and tomatoes. The other main vegetables are usually eggplant and/or zucchini straight from the summer vegetable garden.
Some people add potatoes to the dish and traditionally it’s served with a fried egg on top. But I don’t like fried egg and instead of potatoes, I use sweet potatoes. It’s also delicious just on its own without any type of potato/sweet potato as a side dish.
Quick Method for Cooking Spanish Pisto
This method’s quicker and simpler than the second, as you’ll only need one pan for the pisto and one for the sweet potatoes instead of an extra one for the tomato sauce.
So, first of all, chop 1 onion and 4 cloves of garlic and set to fry in a frying pan with some extra virgin olive oil. Next, slice 1 eggplant, 2 green peppers & 1-2 zucchinis into rounds. If the eggplant’s large, cut it in half or into quarters lengthwise before slicing. You want the slices to retain their shape, so don’t make them too thin: about a centimetre wide should be fine for the eggplant and zucchini.
Add some herbs to onion and garlic in the pan and then the sliced eggplant first. Wait till the eggplant’s beginning to look a bit cooked, then add the zucchini, followed after a few moments by the sliced green peppers.
Allow the veggies to cook, checking they don’t stick or burn and turning carefully with a spatula. Add salt to taste. Meanwhile, chop 5 large tomatoes and add them to the pan with a generous grinding of black pepper.
Stir in the tomatoes and cook on a medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, then cover and reduce heat to a medium-low heat so that the dish is just simmering, and leave to finish cooking.
Meanwhile, peel and chop the sweet potatoes into bite sized pieces and bring to the boil in a separate pan. When they’re soft through, add them to the pisto flip over with a spatular and leave to absorb the flavour for about 5 minutes before serving.
This Spanish pisto recipe makes a lovely lunch served with a mixed salad, like it is in the picture shown above.
Method Number Two: Spanish Pisto, Long Version
If you aren’t planning on adding any sweet potatoes and you want a more rich sauce to you Spanish pisto, you can try this recipe instead. I’ve made it both ways and I like the flavour of the tomatoes when they’re reduced like this, but it is more time consuming so I normally go for the first method.
Finely chop 8 medium tomatoes (or 12 if they’re small). I use a large wok-type pan for the veggies and a saucepan for the tomatoes.
Heat a little oil in both pans and add half a large sliced onion and a sprinkle of salt to the veggie pan and the other half an onion, finely sliced, to the tomato pan (also add salt). Fry both pans on a high heat and then lower to medium before the onion burns.
Place all the chopped tomatoes in with the finely chopped half onion and return the heat to high again. Allow the tomatoes time to boil and reduce, adjusting the heat as necessary so that they’re cooking fast but not sticking.
In the other pan, once the onions are translucent, add the sliced eggplant and allow to cook until beginning to look semi-cooked. Next add the other veggies of choice to the pan and sprinkle with salt. Allow to cook on a medium high heat, flipping over occasionally.
When the veggies are well on their way, cover with a lid and reduce the heat, and leave to cook until ready and soft. Check the salt levels all through the cooking. Finally, add the reduced tomato sauce to the veggie pan and mix well. Taste to check the seasoning and serve.
Quick, easy, vegan and delicious!
10 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
- 1 large onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 eggplant
- 1-2 zucchini
- 2 green peppers
- 5 large tomatoes
- olive oil
- herbs of choice (oregano, basil, parsley . . .)
- salt & pepper
- 2 sweet potatoes
- Chop the onion and garlic and set to fry in enough olive oil to generously cover them.
- Add the sliced eggplant and herbs of choice to the pan.
- When the eggplant is beginning to look semi cooked, add the zucchini and green pepper to the pan.
- Salt to taste and add some black pepper.
- Cover and leave until the veggies are soft.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook, covered, for a further 10 minutes.
- Alternatively you can make the tomato sauce by frying half the onion and adding lots of chopped tomatoes in a separate pan. Reduce the tomato sauce and add to the fried vegetables.
If you liked this recipe, please let me know in the comments!