Spanish Samfaina (Catalonian version of Ratatouille)

Plant-based has always been a thing... We say it so often that we decided to build this entire website around it! It happens quite a bit that we find plant-based recipes from different cultures that are very much alike. Sometimes by influence, sometimes because the combination just makes sense. The vegetables of this Catalan dish are found in French ratatouille as well. The Catalonians call it Samfaina, which translates into ‘symphony’.

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Sometimes called Spanish Ratatouille: Samfaina.

About this Samfaina recipe

In Catalonia, this Samfaina recipe is eaten as a sauce or a condiment. In Valencia they use it as a filling for cocas, a specific type of bread that can be both sweet and savory, a bit like pizza or a bit like pastry. We suggest eating Samfaina as a nice side-dish, since this vegetable symphony goes very well with bread or rice.

Samfaina consists of a so-called sofrito with eggplant, zucchini and peppers. So what exactly is a sofrito? I’m glad you ask. A sofrito, in Mediterranean and Latin cuisine, is used as a base for a sauce. Normally it’s onion sauteed in olive oil with garlic and/ or spices. In Samfaina the sofrito consists of onion, garlic and tomatoes. Basically it is a sauce-like substance made by chopping up ingredients into very small pieces. 

Kitchen utensils

  • Saucepan

Ingredients

Serves 2-3 as a side dish. Eat with rice or bread for a light main meal

Vegetables and few mediterrean herbs is all it takes for a good Samfaina.
  • 1 eggplant, cut in chunks
  • 1 zucchini, cut in chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in chunks
  • 1 green sweet pepper, cut in chunks
  • 1 onion, chopped up
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped up
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped up
  • 2 teaspoons of thyme
  • A few branches of parsley

How to make Samfaina

Wait time: 60 min. | Prep time: 5 min. | Cook time: 20 min.

  1. First chop the eggplant into chunks. Sweat the eggplant. Do so by sprinkling them with ample salt on either a kitchen towel or in a colander (with something underneath as moist will come out of the eggplant). Let stand for about 60 minutes.

  2. Chop up the onion and garlic.

  3. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan or wok.

  4. When the olive oil is hot, add the onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until the onion becomes translucent.
  1. Meanwhile rinse the eggplant and let it leak out. Add to the pan and fry for a few minutes.

  2. In the meantime, chop up the zucchini and add to the pan. Keep on stirring.

  3. While the eggplant and zucchini soften, seed and chop the peppers in big chunks.

  4. If both the eggplant and the zucchini have become soft, add the peppers. Keep on stirring.

  5. Seed the tomatoes and chop up into very small dice.

  6. Add the tomatoes and the thyme.

  7. Chop up the parsley and keep a few branches for garnishing.

  8. When the tomato has become a sofrito with the onion and garlic — that is when most of the liquid has vaporized — add the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Serve this Samfaina recipe with rice or bread for a complete meal.

Samfaina is the Catalan vegetable dish.

Summary

Recipe: Samfaina
Country:
Spain
Wait:
60 min.
Prep: 5 min.
Cook:
20 min.
Total:
25 min.
Ingredients:
onion, eggplant, red bell pepper, green sweet pepper, zucchini, olive oil, tomato, parsley, garlic, thyme
Type of meal: side dish

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