Traditional Pisto Manchego (Spanish Vegetable Stew) is a stewed summer squash recipe, including fresh produce, simmered to perfection. This easy recipe features garden vegetables cooked in olive oil, creating a rich, flavorful, very versatile dish, layered with flavor. It’s naturally low-carb, with a delicious low-FODMAP variation!
Pisto Manchego is a humble, peasant dish that is often referred to as Spanish ratatouille, or simply 'pisto'. It includes fresh produce such as tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, onion and garlic and sometimes eggplant, depending on the region.
This recipe began as a traditional pisto recipe, with some modifications to create a phenomenal low-FODMAP vegetable stew. I’ve added a few spices that make this vegetarian recipe a savory, slightly sweet delight that will warm your heart. And make you lick the bowl.
Pisto is so versatile, you can eat it with just about anything. Often, you’ll find pisto manchego with eggs (pisto con huevo) as a very popular Spanish meal, but it can be served with meat, fish or poultry, as well. It's perfect paired with Cheddar Almond Flour Drop Biscuits and grated Manchego cheese.
What is pisto manchego?
Love at first bite. Pisto is referred to as Spanish ratatouille, because it features fresh Mediterranean vegetables and is similar to French ratatouille. It’s a savory summer vegetable stew that is also quite similar to Israeli shakshuka, Italian caponata and Turkish imam bayildi.
‘Pisto’ essentially means ‘crushing or extracting the juice from something’. Manchego means ‘from La Mancha’, referring to the region where it originated. In Spain, each region has its own version. For example, the Andalusian variation is typically made with eggplant.
Zucchini, bell peppers, onion (or leek for low-FODMAP) and garlic (omit for low-FODMAP) are simmered in a tomato olive oil sauce (I use FODMAP-friendly garlic infused olive oil), creating a rich, savory, belly warming traditional harvest recipe.
Some folks confuse this dish with Gazpacho Manchego, which is also a traditional Spanish dish. Gazpacho Manchego is chicken and rabbit stew with a rich tomato broth (and one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, to be honest). This shouldn’t be confused with ‘gazpacho’, which is an Andalusian cold summer soup.
What is ratatouille?
Ratatouille is very similar to Spanish pisto. It originates from the Provence region of France and is also a vegetarian stew made with sliced eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil and herbs. Pisto is a veggie stew, quite like ratatouille without eggplant (in some regions). It calls for a bit more tomato and the vegetables are chopped, rather than sliced, like in traditional French ratatouille.
Why you'll love this recipe
There are so many reasons why this luscious pisto just might become your favorite new recipe:
- This is a vegetarian dish that is sure to make your list of meatless Monday recipes
- It's made with whole-food ingredients and Whole30 vegetables
- Is paleo-friendly, low-carb keto and contains low-FODMAP ingredients
- If you're looking for a great way to eat your veggies, keep this recipe close at hand! It's a vegetable stew you'll want to eat on repeat.
- Create a magical meal for leftovers - add some of that Thanksgiving turkey or your favorite protein to make a quick and easy weeknight meal or weekday lunch.
- Looking for summer squash recipes? This is a great way to consume those zucchini.
Is pisto a low-FODMAP recipe?
Yes! I’ve created a FODMAP-friendly no onion, no garlic recipe, seasoned with low-FODMAP spices. The onion has been replaced with leek (green part only) and the garlic is replaced with garlic-infused olive oil.
I enjoy this as a low-FODMAP breakfast with a fried egg or as a low-FODMAP dinner recipe, served with grilled fish, chicken or shrimp, on top of creamy Skordalia, made with garlic infused olive oil.
Is pisto a keto stew?
Yes! This is an easy keto meal, with simple keto-friendly fruit and vegetables. One serving is only 6g net carbs.
This easy vegetable stew is made with simple ingredients:
- Tomatoes – fresh tomatoes add such a bright flavor.
- Bell peppers – traditionally, pisto is made with green and red bell pepper, but my sweetie isn’t a fan of green bell peppers, so I used two red peppers instead
- Zucchini – these absorb flavors very well and add a nice, soft, almost creamy texture when cooked down
- Onion or leek – if you follow a low-FODMAP diet, use the green part of 1-2 leeks, depending on the size. Otherwise, use one medium yellow onion.
- Garlic – omit for low-FODMAP and use garlic infused olive oil instead of olive oil
- Olive oil or garlic infused olive oil – adds a wonderful flavor and good source of omega-3 fatty acids
- Sherry vinegar – if you don’t have sherry vinegar, use champagne vinegar or apple cider vinegar. The extra acidity balances the sweetness of the other ingredients.
- Sea salt – really enhances the flavors. I also love to use kala namak black salt.
- Optional garnish: I love to top this stew with a garnish of fresh parsley. Parsley is nutrient dense and adds a touch of class to any dish.
What are the best tomatoes for pisto?
Fresh blanched tomatoes are best and yield the best flavor. I like to use tomatoes on the vine or roma, but any fresh tomatoes will work well. If you’re in a pinch, you can use canned tomatoes, but the flavor may not be as robust.
This is a very simple, one-pot recipe that can be made in a few easy steps:
Blanch and peel the tomatoes (this is SO easy!). Blanching tomatoes allows the skins to soften and crack, making them easy to peel.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the tomatoes
- Boil for 2-3 minutes, until the skins begin to crack
Let cool enough to handle.
Remove the skins and chop the tomatoes into half-inch pieces.
Chop the leek or onion, if using.
Chop the zucchini and peppers, and finely chop the garlic, if using.
Sauté the onion (or leek) and garlic (if using) in olive oil or garlic infused olive oil for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until soft
- Serve and savor
How to store
I think the flavors of this dish tend to grow as it sits and makes amazing leftovers. I often keep this in the fridge for easy breakfast meal prep.
Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
It can also be frozen in a tightly sealed container for up to 6 months.
This is such a versatile recipe and it is highly customizable. Other vegetables can easily be added:
- Any kind of summer squash can be used – yellow, patty pan, crookneck, etc. If you're looking for zucchini recipes or any summer squash recipes, you can use them all here.
- Add chard or other leafy greens – kale or collards are great additions
- Root vegetables or baby corn – are great low-carb keto vegetables to add
- Mushrooms – FODMAP-friendly oyster mushrooms are a great addition. They should be finely chopped and add a nice umami flavor.
- Add some low-FODMAP beans – such as canned adzuki, mung, garbanzo or lentils. Black soy beans are a tasty keto-friendly bean, but are not FODMAP-friendly.
- Include diced winter squash – like pumpkin and butternut
- Other optional seasonings – these are not traditional pisto ingredients, but make for a divine, rich savory stew. I love to add: bay leaf, smoked paprika (pimenton), black pepper, saffron and a little sweetener (I like to use stevia). See the recipe card notes for measurements. Asafoetida is also a great low-FODMAP seasoning to add, as it imparts a garlic and onion flavor to the dish. Simmer just a couple pinches in the olive oil before adding the vegetables and simmer until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Read more about this spice in my Asafoetida Ingredient Spotlight.
Serve this as a main dish, as a side with grilled meats and a Cheddar Almond Flour Biscuit or as the best, easy tapas (traditionally, small Spanish savory dishes). It can be served hot or cold.
- Make traditional Spanish pisto manchego with eggs – either fry or poach an egg and serve on top of your pisto. Or, create a Spanish-inspired shakshuka and place the pisto in an oven-safe pan, make small wells in the stew and crack an egg into each well. Bake until set.
- Add sausage – such as chorizo or add jamon, Spanish dry-cured ham.
- Add a protein – and serve with seafood, meat or poultry of choice, Spanish sardines, shrimp, grilled chicken or fish. This is delicious served with leftover Thanksgiving turkey.
- Balsamic vinegar – add a drizzle on top
- Serve as a topping – on keto-friendly Cauliflower Rice or creamy, delicious Skordalia
- Add cheese – grated manchego cheese is amazing!
Yes - manchego is an aged hard cheese that this naturally low in lactose, making it a FODMAP-friendly cheese.
Typically, pisto is made with slightly chunky ingredients, but the food processor can be used instead of using a knife to chop. The texture of the stew will just be a bit finer.
Yes! Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook 3 hours on high. The stew will most likely be quite watery and should be cooked another hour uncovered on high to let the broth evaporate.
Yes – you can make an Instant Pot ratatouille – Spanish style! Using the sauté setting, cook the onion (or leek) and garlic for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on high for 4 minutes. Use the Quick Release method to release the pressure. Set it back to sauté and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Tomatoes are a fruit that are often considered a vegetable, like zucchini and bell peppers. They form a flower and contain seeds, making them a fruit.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it by giving a star rating and leaving a comment!
Pisto Manchego (Spanish Vegetable Stew)
- 6 tomatoes (medium size)
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 zucchini
- 1 onion (yellow, or use leek for low-FODMAP, green part only)
- 3 cloves garlic (omit for low-FODMAP)
- ¼ cup olive oil (or garlic-infused olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (or apple cider vinegar or champagne vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (and more to taste. Consider trying kala namak black salt. See Notes.)
- 1 handful parsley (fresh - optional garnish)
Blanch, peel and chop the tomatoes
To make the pisto
- Chop the zucchini, peppers and onion or leek into half-inch pieces and finely chop the garlic (if using)
- Add the olive oil or garlic infused olive oil to a large Dutch oven and heat over medium heat
- Add the chopped onion or leek and garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1-2 minutes
- Add the remaining chopped vegetables, salt and other seasonings (if using) and mix well
- Cook uncovered until vegetables are soft and the mixture is reduced, but not dry, about 30 minutes
- Add salt to taste
- Serve with optional garnish of fresh parsley
Other optional spicesThese are not traditional pisto spices, but make for a divine, rich savory stew. I love to add: 2 bay leaves(remove after cooking), ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika (pimenton), ¼ teaspoon black pepper, a few threads of saffron and 1 tablespoon sweetener (I like to use stevia). Asafoetida is also a great low-FODMAP seasoning to add, as it imparts a garlic flavor to the dish. Simmer just a couple pinches in the olive oil before adding the vegetables and simmer until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Read more about this spice in my Asafoetida Ingredient Spotlight.
VariationsThis is such a versatile recipe and is highly customizable. Other vegetables can easily be added:
- Any kind of summer squash can be used – yellow, patty pan, crookneck, etc.
- Add chard or other leafy greens
- Root vegetables or baby corn are great keto vegetables to add
- Mushrooms – these should be finely chopped and add a nice umami flavor. Use oyster mushrooms for low-FODMAP
- Add some low-FODMAP beans such as canned adzuki, mung, garbanzo or lentils. Black soy beans are a tasty keto-friendly bean, but are not FODMAP-friendly.
- Diced winter squash like pumpkin and butternut
*Net carbs = carbohydrates - fiber
Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools and does not include optional ingredients unless otherwise indicated.