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Wandering through Iberian lands

Pisto manchego – another simple recipe of Spanish cuisine – check out our #vanlifecooking!

20/09/2020 4:04 PM

Pisto manchego, also known as pisto, is a dish that comes from La Mancha but is served all over Spain. The original pisto manchego consists only of tomatoes and green peppers and comes, like many dishes (for example Italian pizza), from the countryside. It used to be prepared outdoors from ingridients that the „soil” had given, the vegetables most easily available, so today it is also prepared with onions, red peppers, garlic or other vegetables - depending on the region. All ingredients are cut into very small cubes, fried in olive oil and then stewed. In Spain, you can buy ready-made pistos in almost every supermarket.

In Marbella, where we spent practically half a year, it was so hot that it was impossible to cook in the van, so we constantly ate sandwiches - for breakfast, lunch and dinner, washing them down with hectoliters of beer. Now we have decided to take care of our diet again, limit meat (especially cheap, york ham or poor-quality pork) and focus on vegetables, which in the south of Spain are cheap and delicious. This is how #pistomanchego landed on our table yesterday.

Pisto is served either hot or cold, you can eat it alone, with a fried egg, sometimes with meat (pork tenderloin or sausage, sometimes with chicken) or as a tapa, covered with Iberian ham - jamón serrano. We sometimes eat them on bread or with rice, but these two variants are more of our invention than the Spanish tradition.

It is rather a summer dish because it is prepared from seasonal ingredients.

INGREDIENTS for 2 people for 2 days

4- 5 cloves of garlic

2 onions

2 green peppers

2 red peppers

4-5 tomatoes

1 zucchini (can be eggplant)

Salt, freshly ground pepper, and olive oil

The dish is simple, it takes 20 minutes to prepare, but then we have to stew it for a long time so it is ready after about 2.5 hours


First, we need to splash the tomatoes with hot water to peel them, then grate them or blend with a mixer. Dice the onion, pepper and zucchini into very small cubes. Heat up a little olive oil (the kind suitable for frying) in a frying pan or a good pot, add the onion, salt and pepper (we always add balsamic vinegar, but it's not necessary) and fry over medium heat for about 15 minutes. At the end of frying, add the garlic squeezed through the press (it can also be chopped very finely - in the past we did not have a press, which in Spain is not used at all, so it is difficult to access, so we always chopped the garlic with a knife). Add the peppers and fry for another 15 minutes over medium heat. Finally, add the zucchini and tomatoes, cover and stew for about 1.5 hours. Then remove the lid, increase the heat and evaporate the remaining water so that the whole thing is not too "wet". Finally, we can season it if the spices added to frying the onion turn out to be insufficient. Enjoy your meal!

This is how pisto manchego is made, one of the most popular Spanish dishes. All photos come from our field kitchen! All our dishes are made in the van, but now we will spend the winter in one place because the car is temporarily immobilized, so we have created a beautiful veranda where we spend all days. That's what we love about vanlife - we spend 99% of our time outdoors. It seems to me that if I moved to a house or apartment now, I would feel like in a cage 🙂

Of course, it is always best to cook with an assistant, and because we try to follow the zerowaste principle, of course we will plant the the peppers’.