Beautifully rich and colourful pisto is a Spanish vegetable stew with eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and peppers.
1 large eggplant, diced
Good quality olive oil (cold-pressed)
1 large brown onion, peeled and diced
1/2 long red chilli, diced (or 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes)
1 small to medium bell red pepper/capsicum, diced
1 green bell pepper/capsicum, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 + 1/2 cans crushed tomatoes or tomato passata (organic, if possible)
1 + 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon 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 and tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes covered with a lid, stirring a couple of times. In the meantime, dice the zucchini and set 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.