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Healthy and Hearty

Veggie soup

Photo by Andrew Meade.

After indulging during the holidays, most people designate January as the month to get back on the healthy wagon—and I’m no exception! I tend to eat pretty healthy most of the time, but I also like to reel things back in at the beginning of the year. It’s a great way to start out clean and refocused.

For a lot of people, healthful foods consist of salads topped with a piece of grilled chicken or fish. But that just doesn’t work for me. I still need to have some yummy, comforting foods. The good news is that there are plenty out there that we can enjoy; it’s just a matter of choosing a lot of vegetables and cooking them the right way. Take this pisto manchego, for example. A Spanish dish similar to ratatouille, it’s very easy to make, as well as hearty and healthy—perfect for the winter months. You can serve it as a side or turn it into a meal by topping it with a poached egg. Trust me, it always hits the spot! Buen Provecho!

Pisto Manchego

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large Roma (plum) tomatoes, cut into ½-inch dice
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and ribbed, cut into ½-inch dice
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and ribbed, cut into ½-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped, for serving

1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cover.

2. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Cool slightly. Sprinkle with the basil and serve warm or room temperature.

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