Pisto (Spanish Vegetable Stew)

Having enjoyed traditional Spanish Pisto on many occasions during my travels, I’ve always wanted to make it at home and share a recipe with you on the blog. It’s a dish that brings a lot of warm memories and I hope you like it as much as I do.

Pisto Recipe (Amazing Spanish Vegetable Stew)

As some of my readers know, I have spent a considerable amount of time in Spain. While staying in a small town of Margalef in Catalunia, I often ate out at a family-run restaurant called Vernet and I ordered the same thing: local sausage with salad and pisto. At first, I didn’t even know what pisto was as I simply pointed at someone else’s plate when ordering but I fell in love with this dish from the first bite.

What Is Pisto?

Pisto is the Spanish version of France’s ratatouille, Italy’s caponata or Turkey’s imam bayildi. It’s a hearty vegetable stew made with eggplant, zucchini, onion, tomatoes, red and green peppers, and lots of olive oil.

Like with the other Mediterranean vegetable stews, the key is good quality olive oil (and lots of it!) and fresh, seasonal vegetables. Pisto is originally from the Murcia region of Spain but can be found in the rest of the country.

Spanish Pisto Recipe

Pisto is usually served warm and can be accompanied by an egg (great for breakfast) or some Manchego cheese and bread, or it comes as a side dish with meat or fish.

It’s a fantastic vegetable dish for those following a Paleo/Whole30/gluten-free or vegetarian diets.

I usually make a large batch of it to serve as a side dish for dinner, with eggs for breakfast, or with some grilled chicken or sausage for lunch as it tastes good cold too. It keeps well in the fridge (4-5 days) and can be frozen.


How To Make A Good Pisto

After talking to the restaurant owner and doing a little bit of research into this dish, I learnt a simple secret to achieving that really rich, deep flavour: no shortcuts!

While it would be easier to simply cook all the vegetables together at once, it makes a big difference if you fry off the eggplant and the zucchini separately (which caramelises them slightly) and pre-cook the onions with peppers and tomatoes before combining everything together.

How to make pisto vegetable stew- steps 1 of 2

Make sure to get the freshest vegetables possible and don’t worry about the amount of olive oil used in the dish.

It might seem like a lot but olive oil is incredibly healthy, especially if you get good quality, cold-pressed olive oil. If you pair this dish with low-carb protein, then you don’t need to worry about the fat.

How to make Spanish pisto vegetable stew- steps 2

Many Spaniards will use freshly chopped tomatoes but I have seen many recipes with tinned chopped tomatoes or tomato passata. Once again, I use the best brand of tinned organic tomatoes as they tend to be sweeter in flavour. 

You will find the full recipe below. This is my take on the dish, so it might not be the same as the original pisto. I’d love to know if you make it, so don’t forget to share with me in the comments or on social media.


More Healthy Vegetable Recipes

Pisto recipe- Spanish vegetable stew with eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and lots of olive oil

Full Recipe 

Find the full list of ingredients, instructions, and a nutritional breakdown below. If you have questions or cook this recipe, please let me know in the comments, and make sure to rate this recipe so it’s easy for others to find.

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Spanish pisto vegetable stew with eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and lots of olive oil

Pisto (Spanish Vegetable Stew)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 8
Course: Side
Cuisine: Spanish
Print Pin Save
4.83 from 17 votes
Calories: 73kcal
Beautifully rich and colourful, pisto is a Spanish vegetable stew with eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and peppers. Learn how to make this recipe at home for a perfect side dish or a main.


  • 1 large eggplant diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt for eggplant
  • olive oil cold-pressed, good quality
  • 1 large onion peeled and diced
  • 1/2 long red chilli diced (or 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes)
  • 1 red bell pepper capsicum, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper capsicum, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped (can be omitted, this is my personal addition)
  • 1.5 cans crushed tomatoes or tomato passata, organic, if possible
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar honey or coconut sugar (optional, omit for Whole30)
  • 2 small to medium zucchini peeled and diced


  • Dice the eggplant into cubes and sprinkle generously with salt. Leave for 15-20 minutes. This removes some of the bitterness from the eggplant and draws out the moisture so that the vegetable doesn't need as much oil to fry in.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil to a large, deep frying pan or a casserole dish and heat over medium heat. Add the onions, chilli and diced peppers. Cook over medium heat for 12-14 minutes until well softened. Then, add the garlic, tomatoes, salt and sugar or honey and cook for 10 minutes covered with a lid, stirring a couple of times. In the meantime, dice the zucchini and set them aside.
  • Rinse the eggplant under water and pat dry slightly with the kitchen towel. In a separate frying pan, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring halfway, until slightly browned off.
  • Remove the eggplant and add a little more olive oil. Add the zucchini and cook for 4-5 minutes as well, stirring a couple of times.
  • Finally, add the pre-fried eggplant and zucchini to the pot with the tomato mixture and stir through. Cook together for 25 minutes over medium-low heat, covered with a lid. Stir a few times.
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes after cooking before serving. You may garnish pisto with fresh parsley, basil or coriander if you wish.


Store leftover pisto in an airtight container for 4-5 days or freeze for up to 2 months. It can be reheated or enjoyed cold the following days.


Calories: 73kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 686mg | Potassium: 455mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 727IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords: Stew, Spanish, Pisto, Eggplant, Vegetables, Paleo, Whole30, Vegan, Vegetarian, Zucchini
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookedandloved or tag #cookedandloved
Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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    1. That’s when I like to make it to! You can definitely do it without the eggplant too and throw in some carrots instead.

    1. Absolutely, less heavy on the eggplant and no olives or capers, but the idea is very similar.

  1. I lived in Spain for 10 months and Pisto was my absolute favorite tapa. There wasn’t a single time I didn’t order this amazing (and healthy!) little dish. This was very good, just like the real stuff. I can’t wait to try it cold with bread tomorrow. We served this like stew for dinner with a toasted baguette and pork sausage links. We reduced the salt by 1/2 tsp. I added the honey when I added the zucchini – I don’t think the instructions ever said when to add the salt and sugar. Thanks for the great recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    So true, the quality is in not cutting corners. I’ve tried to make pisto several times with little success. Eventually found this recipe and it was lovely. My Spanish husband also approved! Thank you

  3. 5 stars
    Holy cow this was phenomenal! If I could rate this a 10 star I would. I did substitute carrots for eggplant. I followed all cooking steps but finished it off in the instapot. The family loved it! I had to use lots of will power just to put it in the fridge.

    1. Thanks, Brent! That’s very kind of you 🙂 Good idea with carrots, too. My partner isn’t a fan of eggplant so sometimes I have to make this dish without. Carrots would add lovely sweetness too.

  4. Hello Irena,

    How many fresh tomatoes will I need if I choose to use them instead of the canned tomatoes? I’d like to try both ways.

    Many thanks for your web site. The paleo programme makes me feel so much lighter and more energetic.


  5. I haven’t been to Spain since the early 2000s and wow does this take me back. Thanks for sharing! It was a perfect week for this, as my CSA included some beautiful eggplant and peppers and onions and squash (subbed yellow squash for the zucchini). Going to serve tonight with a rustic loaf of bread for dipping and some roasted garlic too.

  6. Vegetable stews don’t normally elicit much of a response from my taste buds. But this one is AMAZING. Follow the instructions and caramelise the vegetables. I used a lot of passatta as well.

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe
    I had a crack at it and it resulted in a very tasty feed !
    I will work on this one and get it looking a little closer to yours .

  8. There’s 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt and a teaspoon of sugar in the list of ingredients but they’re not mentioned in the instructions?

  9. 4 stars
    A nice veggie-heavy dinner <3 I scrambled some eggs in there as suggested and they really enhanced the meal & made it more filling too, will probably try adding more than one per portion next time. Oh, I'd just note that the recipe says to fry the zucchini before the eggplant, but it's more convenient to switch that order and use the zucchini frying time to let the salted eggplant sweat.

  10. 5 stars
    Outstanding- inspired by tie me up, tie me down- I like making it 2 days before and letting the flavors blossom

  11. Love this dish: when I’m doing low-carb I pair it with some Quorn vegetarian meatballs …. and when I am not low carb ….. let’s just say some creamy cheesy polenta is a very fine match for it on a winter’s evening!

  12. As a Spaniard, this was so interesting to see! It’s a great take on pisto, using ingredients that may be easier to find in your country, I think you did a great job! I’ve never heard of a spicy pisto but it sounds delicious so I might try it haha. I also never used honey, just normal sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes, but it’s definitely a good idea! In my family we also use pisto for pasta or we make a sauce with it simply by blending and adding to other dishes like meatballs, it’s a good idea if you have children or picky eaters 🙂 thank you for loving our cuisine! Great blog!

    1. Thanks Maria 🙂 Yes, I used honey as many of my readers avoid white or refined sugar so it was kind of like a healthier option 😉 And I love a little spice so I tend to add some to my recipes. I do know the Spaniards don’t use many spicy ingredients.

  13. Bought pisto in a jar on holiday in Andalucia, thinking it was bolognese sauce! I loved it! So imagine how delighted I was to find this recipe for the real thing. I tried it today, now we’re back home. Delicious! A real winner and one I’ll be using for years to come. Thank you so much.

  14. 3 stars
    No chilli in the traditional version. Chilli kills the wonderful subtleties of the vegetables in pisto..
    Modern hybrid aubergine (eggplant ) do not need to be salted to dry them. They can be used as they come.

    1. This is not a traditional recipe but my take on it. It’s a very small amount of chilli for the whole dish, you can barely taste it but it does add a warm depth to it in my opinion.

  15. 5 stars
    This recipe is great. Pretty much followed to a T. I fid need more tomato but that’s probably because I had a ton of eggplant. Made this 2 so this month. It’s so good and healthy. Had it with some bread for the sauce.

  16. just a couple of things: 1) salt on cut (and raw) aubergines is useless like this! The salt is put on the aubergines (but cut into thick slices) and then placed under a weight (a pot or anything similar) because it draws out the water (and makes it lose some of the typical bitter taste of the aubergine) 2) first you put the onion, then the aubergines and peppers and after a while the courgettes… it is absolutely useless to use 3 pans 🙂 it’s just a question of cooking times for the different vegetables, but they must cook together! 3) as a lady said, sugar is used to remove some of the acid flavor from tomato puree, but honey? it doesn’t have the same effect and what’s more, the flavor is totally lost when cooked! For the rest I would say everything is ok! 🙂
    Best regards!

  17. 5 stars
    delicious, make your veg size on the small size & eat as appetizer or as suggested leftovers as a base for sunny side eggs baked in skillet.

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