Pisto – A More or Less Traditional Spanish Ratatouille

This incredibly easy vegetable stew is the perfect dish for this time of year, warm and comforting, packed with lots of vegetables and flavour. It is often served in restaurants with a fried egg sunny side up and some fresh bread. It can also be used to fill empanadas or served with potato wedges, rice or pasta as a salsa. It is a great way to use up any leftover vegetables before they go bad. Whether or not it is vegan depends on what you pair it with.

What is pisto?

When picturing ratatouille the dish on this photo probably doesn’t come to mind, right? One pictures uniform looking vegetable slices beautifully arranged in a casserole dish which is then baked in the oven. Really I think of Pixar’s Ratatouille because I could not picture anybody who isn’t a fictional chef rat to actually patiently assemble this dish unless it is to take a really nice photo on Instagram. Is that just me? I was very surprised to find out that pisto, a dish my mother has tortured me with since I was little and hated vegetables, closely resembles ratatouille. It just appears to be a much lazier, less pretty version. Or Pixar has ruined me and all ratatouilles do not look actually all look that nice. I’ve seen a ratatouille in a can once and cannot imagine that they beautifully stacked vegetables inside of it. It is probably more like the “ratatouille” that I am familiar with: a tomato salsa with a lot of vegetables.

How to Make Pisto the Non-Traditional Way

I called this post a more or less traditional Spanish ratatouille because the way I learned to make it seems to deviate from the way it is traditionally made with just cubed bell peppers, tomato and some olive oil. I have to say that sounds quite dull and most pisto recipes now include more ingredients such as onion, garlic, eggplant, courgette and even pumpkin. I have never added pumpkin, but other than that I just throw in all the vegetables I have at home that have to go and that works quite well for me. It is a great dish to make with any leftover vegetables that don’t look quite so fresh anymore such as flexible carrots or crinkly bell peppers. Sauté them all in some olive oil before adding some tomato puree. Let everything boil for a few minutes before seasoning with some salt (and pepper if you are rebel) and enjoy it with some fresh bread and a fried egg.

That is the traditional way to eat this dish, you can even order it at restaurants (pisto con huevo frito). In a fancy restaurant they might add quail eggs which I did here, because I got them for free and had to use them up. It is vegetables in tomato sauce, so can serve it with almost anything you’d like. The recipe is already no longer traditional so you might as well go wild with the sides serving it with rice, potatoes or pasta. It is a super versatile recipe to have in your repertoire when you need to get rid of a few things in your fridge or you’re just craving all the vegetables in one dish. You’re welcome.


• Olive oil
• 1 onion
• 1-2 bell peppers, any colour
• 1 carrot
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 aubergine
• 1 courgette
• 1 packet tomato puree
• Salt
• Pepper

1. Cut all hard vegetables (onion, bell peppers and carrots) into roughly same size cubes and sauté them in the olive oil in a large pot with a lid until the onions are translucent. Meanwhile mince the garlic and set it aside. Cube the aubergine and courgette.
2. Add the garlic to the vegetables and sauté until fragrant.
3. Add the aubergine and courgette and let everything sweat out for about five minutes.
4. Add the tomato puree and let everything come to a boil with a lid on. Boil everything until it has reduced by about a third in volume.
5. When it has reached the desired consistency season to taste with salt (and pepper) and serve it with any side you like.

Here you have it, I’m almost ashamed to call it a recipe. You really just throw everything you have on hand into a pot and let it happen. Most ingredients are optional, which is also the beauty of it. There are also no real measurements therefore it is super easy to make, you cannot screw this up. It is always a little different so you cannot get tired of it. It is the ultimate get rid of every fresh produce before it goes bad dish and sometimes you just need one of those. I hope you enjoyed this recipe and I wish you a wonderful day!

4 thoughts on “Pisto – A More or Less Traditional Spanish Ratatouille

  1. Woah!! That looks so delicious…Thanks for the article 🙂

    BTW, if you have time, please visit my blog and if you like my posts, please follow my blog. I will #FollowforFollow 🙂


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