It’s not uncommon for visitors to think that Spanish cuisine is a bit lacking in the vegetables department.
And it’s understandable why you might think that. In a land of neverending pork products (including our beloved jamón), some of the world’s best seafood, and everything in between, you have to look a little harder to find the veggie-based dishes.
But they do exist, and when you finally come across one, it’s sure to be memorable. Our favorite Spanish vegetables recipe is this slow-simmered pisto.
A Spanish twist on a French classic
As the best-known Spanish vegetables recipe, pisto consists of caramelized vegetables cooked low and slow to bring out the flavors. If you think that sounds similar to the French ratatouille, you’d be right.
But though it’s not as famous abroad as its northern neighbor, pisto has been a favorite on the Iberian peninsula since Spain’s Moorish days. It has its roots in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha to the south of Madrid.
Arantxa’s family recipe
This pisto recipe comes to us courtesy of Arantxa, one of our expert guides here at Devour Madrid. A Madrid native, professional chef (who trained at Le Cordon Bleu!), and cooking class instructor, Arantxa is one of the most passionate foodies we know.
“Part of my family lives in La Mancha and this is one of the simple and delicious dishes you can find there,” Arantxa says about this pisto recipe.
It may seem simple enough, but it does have its secrets. Arantxa highly recommends cooking the vegetables slowly to get their full flavors. This can take up to two hours, but the results are so worth it.
If you don’t have time to cook the vegetables for that long, you can still sauté them normally.
Pisto: The most delicious Spanish vegetables recipe
- 2 onions, diced
- 1–2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 red pepper, peeled and diced
- 1 green pepper, peeled and diced
- 2 zucchini, diced (optional)
- 2 tomatoes, diced (can substitute a can of crushed tomatoes)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 4 eggs (optional)
- Coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil. Heat over low to medium-low heat.
- Once the skillet and oil are hot, add the onions and cook until caramelized (at least 30 minutes, stirring every 5–10 minutes).
- When the onions are golden in color, add the garlic and peppers and caramelize. Stir every 10 minutes. The garlic should appear to almost melt with time, and you want the peppers to soften and get smaller.
- If using the zucchini, add it when the peppers have softened. Cook until done and all the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
- Add the tomato and cook out the liquid again. The end result should be nearly dry.
- Serve with a fried egg on top, if desired.
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