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Pumpkin Pisto 

(Healthy, One-Pot Meal, Bursting with Flavor)

Written By: Byron | October 18, 2023
A large pan of pumpkin pisto sits beside some brown bread and fresh parsley.

Pumpkin pisto is a delicious and hearty Spanish dish with its roots in Andalusia. Similar to the well-known Spanish dish, “Pisto Manchego,” which is made with tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini, pumpkin pisto incorporates fresh ingredients such as pumpkin to create a unique and comforting meal. 

Pumpkin pisto is a versatile dish that can be served as a side, a topping for toast, or as a main course. It’s a great way to make use of pumpkins, especially if you end up with too many in the fall, and a perfect addition to your easy weeknight menu, or as a rewarding weekend breakfast or lunch. 

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Serving:

Main for 6

Ready in:

~1 hour

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Alone or bread

Some red bell pepper, pumpkin, onion, and spices sit on a counter.

How to Make Pumpkin Pisto 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of diced pumpkin or butternut squash
  • 1 red bell pepper (capsicum), diced
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, sliced fine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Spanish sweet smoked paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or chili flakes) 
  • ½ teaspoon of white pepper
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 4 eggs (for garnish)
  • Fresh parsley (for garnish)

Equipment Needed

Method

Step 1 – Prepare the Pumpkin

Peel the pumpkin, remove the seeds, and cut it into small, bite-sized pieces. 

Step – 2 Sauté the Onion and Garlic 

In a large skillet/pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the finely chopped white onion and sauté until golden (5 minutes). Add the minced garlic and sliced red onion and continue to sauté until they become slightly translucent and fragrant, usually about 3 minutes.

Step 3 – Add Pepper and Pumpkin

Add the diced red bell pepper to the skillet. Sauté for an additional 5 minutes until they start to soften. Then, add the diced pumpkin to the mix and keep cooking for 3 minutes until the pumpkin just starts to soften a little.

Step 4 – Incorporate the Tomatoes

Once the pumpkin has softened, add the diced ripe tomatoes to the skillet. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.

Step 5 – Season and Simmer 

Season the mixture with salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, and sweet paprika. Stir everything together, making sure the spices are evenly distributed. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin becomes tender and ready to eat.

Step 6 – Add Eggs and Serve

Crack the eggs on top of the pisto and cover. Allow to simmer until the egg whites are cooked but the yoke is still creamy (around 3-4 minutes) or they’re cooked to your desired consistency. Serve with a dusting of paprika and some salt (to taste). This works great served with lots of fresh bread to mop up the sauce.

 Watch step-by-step recipe video

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes, delicious main meals, and incredible Spanish dessert options too.

Where Does Pisto Originate? 

Typical pisto is a traditional Spanish dish that originates from the region of Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain. It is a vegetable stew made with ingredients such as tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, zucchini, and sometimes eggplant, all cooked together with olive oil and various seasonings. 

Pisto is similar to the French dish ratatouille and the Italian dish caponata, but it has its own unique flavors and variations depending on the specific region within Spain where it is prepared. Pisto is often served as a side dish, and it can be accompanied by a fried egg on top, known as “pisto con huevos,” making it a popular and delicious Spanish main meal option too.

Check out our authentic Spanish Pisto with Eggs recipe here (Pisto verduras con huevos)

Regional Variations and Culinary Evolution

Pisto is a dish with regional variations throughout Spain. In the Basque Country, for instance, they have “Piperrada,” which includes bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes. The flavors are influenced by the region’s unique culinary traditions.

Cooking Tips and Ingredient Substitutions

Here are a few simple cooking tips to help you achieve the perfect pumpkin pisto for you! We’ve also added a few ingredient substitutions and ideas so you can spice up the recipe to suit different tastes. 

Perfecting the Texture

To achieve the ideal texture, make sure to cut the pumpkin into evenly sized pieces. This ensures that they cook uniformly and become tender without turning mushy. Don’t cook it for too long. Around 30-45 minutes is plenty. Aim for just enough time so that the pumpkin is soft, but not falling apart. 

We add some water to this dish to make it more stew-like, but you can reduce the water amount if you prefer a drier consistency (or omit the water altogether if you prefer). 

Spice it Up

While sweet paprika is traditionally used in pumpkin pisto, you can also use smoked or hot paprika. You can also adjust the spice level to your liking. For this recipe, we add a pinch of cayenne pepper for some heat. Use fresh chili if you want to make it more spicy and try it with smoked paprika for a smoky spiced flavor.

Best Pumpkin to Use

Sweet pumpkins are best. For this recipe, we used a butternut squash/pumpkin as they are plentiful here and delicious. But, there are plenty of other sweet fleshed varieties out there too such as:

  • Fairytale Pumpkins: These pumpkins have a rich, sweet flavor and are excellent for roasting or making soups.
  • Sugar Pie Pumpkins: These small pumpkins are typically used for making pumpkin pies and other desserts. They have a sweet, smooth flesh that’s perfect for baking.
  • Cinderella Pumpkins: These pumpkins have a sweet, slightly nutty flavor and vibrant orange flesh. They are also often used in pies.
  • Long Island Cheese Pumpkins: This heirloom variety is known for its sweet, fine-textured flesh. It’s a favorite for making pumpkin pies.
  • Rouge Vif d’Etampes: This French pumpkin variety is often used in cooking and has a sweet flavor with a slightly dry texture.

The verdict? Use whichever sweet variety is freshest and available near you.

Pieces of pumpkin cook in a pan.

Ingredient Variations

Pumpkin pisto is flexible when it comes to ingredients. You can experiment by adding other vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, or even corn for extra flavor and color. 

There’s a pisto for every season! We suggest using whatever veg is in season at the time you plan to make your pisto. You’ll be surprised how many variations on this classic Spanish recipe you can achieve. 

Vegan Adaptation

This pumpkin pisto recipe is super easy to adapt to become vegan-friendly, simply omit the eggs from the end of the cooking process. 

Protein Boost

Turn this dish into an even heartier meal by adding a vegetable protein source. Consider incorporating cooked chickpeas, white beans (broad beans), or even tofu cubes for a nutritious twist.

Pumpkin Pisto Serving Ideas

You can serve pumpkin pisto in various ways:

  • Tapas: Spoon it onto small slices of toasted bread or add some tiny pisto servings to small serving dishes for a cute tapas-sized serving.
  • Main Course: Serve it as the main dish accompanied by crusty bread, couscous, or rice.
  • Side Dish: Pair it with grilled meats or seafood as a healthy and tasty side.

FAQs

How long does this recipe take to make? 

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Is Pisto just Ratatouille?

Pisto is often compared to the French dish, “Ratatouille,” but it has its own distinct Spanish twist. First, the spices used in Spain include sweet or smoked paprika. Ground cumin is also commonly used in Spanish pisto to give the dish a rich earthy flavor. Fried or stewed eggs are also added to Spanish pisto, and a sprinkling of parsley (one of the most common herbs used in Spanish cooking).

What is the best pumpkin to use for pumpkin pisto? 

Use a sweet variety of pumpkin or squash such as butternut squash or sugar pie pumpkins. Sorry to say, those giant Halloween pumpkins are not suitable for this recipe as they lack the flavor and texture. 

What are some other recipes with pumpkin?

A large pan of pumpkin pisto sits beside some brown bread and fresh parsley.

Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkin Pisto

Pumpkin pisto is not only a flavorful dish but also packed with nutrients. Here are some takeaways on the ingredients found in this pumpkin pisto recipe:

  • Pumpkin: Rich in vitamins A and C, as well as fiber, pumpkin promotes healthy skin and supports digestion.
  • Bell Peppers (Capsicums): Loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, bell peppers boost immunity and contribute to overall health.
  • Tomatoes: A source of vitamins A and C, tomatoes aid in maintaining healthy skin and vision.
  • At 207 calories per serving, this recipe is not only very nutritious but low in saturated fats(12%), high in fiber (26%), and high in vitamin D (51%).

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 6

Amount per serving

 

Calories

207

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 12.3g

16%

Saturated Fat 2.4g

12%

Cholesterol 109mg

36%

Sodium 87mg

4%

Total Carbohydrate 21.8g

8%

Dietary Fiber 7.2g

26%

Total Sugars 9.4g

 

Protein 7.1g

 

Vitamin D 10mcg

51%

Calcium 93mg

7%

Iron 4mg

24%

Potassium 638mg

14%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

A large pan of pumpkin pisto sits beside some brown bread and fresh parsley.

Pumpkin Pisto (A Healthy One-Pot Recipe Bursting with Color and Flavor)

Byron
Pumpkin pisto is a delicious and hearty Spanish dish with its roots in Andalusia. Similar to the well-known Spanish dish, "Pisto Manchego," which is made with tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini, pumpkin pisto incorporates fresh ingredients such as pumpkin to create a unique and comforting meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course dinner, Main Course, main meal, meal
Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain
Servings 6 people, main.
Calories 207 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large 30 cm pan / 12 inch skillet with lid
  • Sharp knife and cutting board

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of diced pumpkin or butternut squash
  • 1 red bell pepper capsicum, diced
  • 1 white onion finely chopped
  • 1 red onion sliced fine
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 ripe tomatoes diced
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Spanish sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or chili flakes
  • ½ teaspoon of white pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 eggs for garnish
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions
 

Step 1 - Prepare the Pumpkin

  • Peel the pumpkin, remove the seeds, and cut it into small, bite-sized pieces.
    4 cups of diced pumpkin or butternut squash

Step - 2 Sauté the Onion and Garlic

  • In a large skillet/pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the finely chopped white onion and sauté until golden (5 minutes). Add the minced garlic and sliced red onion and continue to sauté until they become slightly translucent and fragrant, usually about 3 minutes.
    1 white onion, 1 red onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Step 3 - Add Pepper and Pumpkin

  • Add the diced red bell pepper to the skillet. Sauté for an additional 5 minutes until they start to soften. Then, add the diced pumpkin to the mix and keep cooking for 3 minutes until the pumpkin just starts to soften a little.
    1 red bell pepper

Step 4 - Incorporate the Tomatoes

  • Once the pumpkin has softened, add the diced ripe tomatoes to the skillet. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
    2 ripe tomatoes

Step 5 - Season and Simmer

  • Season the mixture with salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, and sweet paprika. Stir everything together, making sure the spices are evenly distributed. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin becomes tender and ready to eat.
    1 tablespoon of Spanish sweet smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon of white pepper, Salt

Step 6 - Add Eggs and Serve

  • Crack the eggs on top of the pisto and cover. Allow to simmer until the egg whites are cooked but the yoke is still creamy (around 3-4 minutes) or they’re cooked to your desired consistency. Serve with a dusting of paprika and some salt (to taste). This works great served with lots of fresh bread to mop up the sauce.
    4 eggs, Fresh parsley

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 250gCalories: 207kcalCarbohydrates: 21.8gProtein: 7.1gFat: 12.3gSaturated Fat: 2.4gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 87mgPotassium: 638mgFiber: 7.2gSugar: 9.4gCalcium: 93mgIron: 4mg
Keyword 1 hours recipe, one-pot, one-pot recipe, Onion, Pisto, Pumpkin Pisto, red onion, Red pepper, Vegetable stew, vegetables

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