Tapas of Andalusia - Pisto, vegetarian stew

Pisto Andaluz – Traditional Vegetarian Stew

One of the most popular dishes prepared around Spain, pisto is basically a vegetable stew or ratatouille, and forms a popular base into which other ingredients can be added. One of the most famous versions of this recipe also adds egg (it looks like fried eggs sitting on top of the pisto).

Originally made in Castilla La Mancha, which is why the most well-known version of the dish is called Pisto Manchego. It is, contrary to some opinions, not a cheese dish. Queso Manchego comes from the same place, but please don’t confuse the two; queso is cheese, pisto is a cooked vegetable dish.

Pisto can be a vegetarian meal meal on its own, or it can be served as an accompaniment to meat. Pisto also makes a great small tapas serving, or a side dish. It also makes a great base for adding other ingredients to completely change the the entire menu. Replacing some of the ingredients doesn’t require any more thought than simply adding them. If you don’t like zucchini, no problem, try eggplant. In fact it is one of the most versatile Spanish recipes and this is why it is so universally loved around Spain.

Pisto Andaluz in Ronda
Pisto Andaluz – Traditional Vegetarian Stew with a fried egg.

By the way, many visitors to Spain complain that vegetarian or vegan food isn’t readily available, but a good (non-egg, non-meat) pisto recipe like this one should be suitable.

Pisto Andaluz Ingredients

This recipe serves 6.

  • 2 onions
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • a teaspoon of sugar
  • salt
Pisto Andaluz Preparation
  1. Start by preparing the vegetables prior to putting them all in a large flat fyingpan or saucepan. Blanch the tomatoes then remove the skin and cut into cubes. Peel and dice the onions and the zucchini, and slice the peppers.
  2. Place a small amount of extra virgin olive oil in the pan and fry the garlic and onion over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Then.
  3. Add the peppers and cook together for another 5 minutes making sure to stir so none of it burns in the bottom of the pan.
  4. Now add the zucchini for 2-3 minutes, and finally add the tomato, letting the mixture simmer for a further 15 minutes.
  5. Add the sugar and salt, and quickly bring to the boil then remove from the heat. If your pan has too much tomato juice, let it boil away whilst stirring to avoid burning.
  6. Fresh basil or oregano are often added to give the pisto a pleasant herby taste.
  7. Serve hot in small terracotta tapas dishes for that authentic feel, or place on the side of a plate with some fish or even a fresh salad.
  8. This pisto andaluz goes down very well with a glass of La Rioja red wine, or if you can get it, one of many excellent Ronda red wines.
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