Here is a colorful, healthy, and easy to cook Filipino dish – Pinakbet! It’s Vegan Vegetarian recipe and such a crowd-pleaser wherever I go, and you can make this recipe without meat, seafood and under 20 minutes!
I love pinakbet and I loved it even before I knew what the dish was called. I usually called it Filipino Vegetable Medley! 🙂
Anyways, there are so many variations of this recipe out there, like some people make it without coconut cream, but I believe the coconut cream elevates the recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
What is Pinakbet?
Pinakbet is a colorful Filipino vegetable dish that is packed with nutrients because of all the vegetables in the recipe. What I have seen in travel and food vlogs, Ilocanos love to eat vegetables because they have them in the bounty.
They have vast lands where they plant and harvest their own vegetables, thus the making of the famous Pinakbet recipe. In time, the recipe has evolved as other places in the Philippines also learned to cook it.
Filipinos regularly use Kalabasa or squash, ampalaya or bitter gourd, also known as bitter melon, okra, and eggplants. The usual cooking of Pinakbet for Filipinos is to mix the vegetables with some ground meat or bagoong (fermented shrimp paste or fermented fish).
Who invented Pinakbet?
Pinakbet originated from the Ilocos Region of the Philippines. The word pinakbet is derived from the Ilocano word pinakebbet, which means “shrunk” or “shrivelled”.
Tips & Procedures:
- Cut the vegetables in uniform sizes to ensure even cooking!
- When mixing the vegetables, gently do so because cooked vegetables are softer.
- Always add the hardest vegetable first – in this case, it is the kalabasa (squash). They take longer to soften compared to okra.
- How do we know that our vegetables are cooked just enough? When a vegetable is at its darkest or brightest color, that’s the time we can say it’s cooked just right. For example, the ampalaya when raw is colored green, so when it is cooked just right, it would look super green.
- When cooking the vegetables, pay attention to the texture and softness. Vegetables are delicious to eat when they still have a little crunch and “bite” in them.
- Storage: Can be stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
How to Make Pinakbet:
Here are the ingredients you will need:
- red shallot
- garlic cloves
- kalabasa, also known as squash
- string beans
- ampalaya (bitter melon)
- long eggplant
- coconut cream
- tamari soy sauce (or soy sauce)
Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and add oil. Add onions, garlic, and saute for 1 minute or until translucent:
Add the kalabasa, cover, and cook until for 5 minutes or until kalabasa is tender yet crisp:
Next add the string beans, ampalaya (bitter melon), eggplant:
and cover with the lid for 2 to 3 minutes or until they are semi tender:
Add okra, cover with lid and continue cooking for about 1 minute:
Now, this is my favorite part (because I LOVE coconut cream)! Add coconut cream, tomatoes, soy sauce, salt and allow it to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until okra is cooked. It is important to NOT OVERMIX your vegetables (look up the reason in the Tips & Procedures section 🙂
Season with salt, pepper and eat with rice:
There you have it! A very healthy meal packed with vitamins and minerals, all in one authentic Filipino vegetarian recipe!
I promise you guys, it is best to eat Pinakbet with rice ♥
Frequently Asked Questions:
Soaking it in water for about 30 minutes to 1 hour will decrease the bitterness. You can also try your best to scrape off the white pulp where the seeds are embedded because that also causes the bitterness of ampalaya.
Soaking it in water and take it out when you are ready to mix it in
Absolutely! Keep the vegetables in the refrigerator and make sure to store them in airtight container.
If you like this recipe you will enjoy these as well:
Quick and Easy Vegetarian Pinakbet
- 1 small red shallot chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 200 g kalabasa chopped into medium sized cubes
- 100 g string beans cut about 2 inches long
- 100 g ampalaya bitter melon, deseeded and sliced
- 1 long eggplant cut in to 4 parts
- 4-5 okra sliced in two (or three if it’s long)
- 2 tomatoes quartered (optional)
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon salt
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and add oil.
- Add onions, garlic, and saute for 1 minute or until translucent.
- Add the kalabasa, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the kalabasa is tender yet crisp.
- Next add the string beans, ampalaya (bitter melon), eggplant and cover with the lid for 2 to 3 minutes or until they are semi tender.
- Add okra, then cover with lid and continue cooking for about 1 minute.
- Add coconut cream, tomatoes, soy sauce, salt and allow it to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until okra is cooked.
- Season with salt, pepper and eat with rice.