I went to Mallorca on holiday a couple years ago, and one thing that I remember absolutely loving was the Spanish food. Everything tasted so fresh and vibrant, and just incredibly flavorful all around. Even though I’ve been to Spain before and had traditional dishes such as paella, I’d never before had tumbet. The first night I ordered it I wasn’t sure what to expect – there wasn’t much of a description other than it consisted of veggies cooked with tomatoes. What came out was incredible – a medley of peppers, aubergine, potatoes, onions and courgettes, cooked to perfection in a rich tomato sauce.
After that first night, we made sure to include it with every meal – we were obsessed! Once home I kept talking about making it, but never got around to it. So here I am, a rainy May night 2 years later with a sudden inspriation to cook tumbet. However, when I looked up the recipe I was quite shocked at how unhealthy it was! The traditional way of cooking tumbet involves deep frying each vegetable individually before layering in a baking dish with tomato sauce and popping in the oven.
Because I still craved a tumbet without all the calories, I decided to lighten it up a bit by simply shallow-frying the veggies in a little light oil spray before assembling it for baking. I thought a bit of the flavor would be lost, but was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. I couldn’t really tell the difference – once it’s all baked together in passata, it really comes together nicely.
The tumbet is such a warming, comforting meal – ideal for rainy, chilly English days. There’s a reason why some variation of this dish is popular in other European countries – in France you can get ratatouille and in mainland Spain, pisto. I served our tumbet with giant couscous, but you could of course serve it with any dish you like. It would also make a great leftover sauce for pasta.
- Giant (Israeli) couscous – allow 40g per person
- 1 medium eggplant, sliced in 1/4 in rounds
- 1 large courgette, sliced in rounds
- 1 red and 1 green bell pepper, sliced in chunks
- 1 red onion, cut in chunks
- 1 large potato
- 700g passata
- Oil spray
- 1/2 tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 220c.
- Parboil the potatoes for around 8 minutes until soft, but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.
- For each veggie, you will cook it it in the same pan, so be sure to add a few coats of oil spray each time you add a new veggie.
- Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat and add several coats of olive oil spray. Add the aubergine and fry for around 6 minutes until cooked, turning halfway through. Remove and set aside.
- Next, add the courgette and cook for around 8 minutes, until cooked and turning once or twice. Remove and set aside.
- Add the onion and cook for around 6-8 minutes until translucent and cooked through, stirring often. Remove and set aside. (remember to keep coating the pan in oil spray)
- Add the peppers and cook for around 10 minutes until cooked, stirring often. Remove and set aside.
- For the potatoes, add the olive oil and lower the heat slightly to low/medium and cook for around 10 minutes, turning over a couple times until slightly crispy on the outside but soft and cooked through on the inside.
- To assemble the tumbet, add around a third of the jar of passata to the bottom of a baking tray and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Layer each veggie in this order: aubergine, courgette, onion, peppers and potatoes. Top the veggies with the rest of the tumbet and sprinkle the remaining salt and garlic powder on top.
- Place uncovered in the oven and cook for around 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to instructions.
- Remove and enjoy!