HomeSpanish Salads and Vegetarian DishesOlla Gitana

Olla Gitana

Origin: Murcia and Valencia

Olla gitana

Olla gitana -Gypsy pot- is a dish whose origin is from Murcia and south of Alicante, that's the only thing that's certain, becauseit is uncertain whether its name comes from being created truly by gypsies who would put together everything left over in their storerooms or if it got the name from it's chaotic appearance. You can learn these and many other words and food names if you study Spanish in Spain.

Olla gitana is prepared in different ways with different ingredients, most of the Spanish traditional cuisine are popular dishes that evolved through time, prepared by families with what was available at the time or what their economy permitted. The main thing to remember about making olla gitana is the fact that it should be full of different vegetables. The Spanish land is perfectly designed to grow all manner of vegetables, especially because the terrain varies so much from place to place. The dish was originally developed in Murcia which is a southern Spanish region which is famous for its rich, fertile land which produce, above all, some of the best beans in the country.

So it's not surprising that there isn't an exact recipe or that you'll find many different formulas, as they vary according to region and what ingredients are in ample supply in that region, the ingredients to be found in the pantry, and cook. Of course every one will tell you theirs is the true olla gitana recipe.

Olla gitana is prepared with several different types of legumes, normally with chickpeas and white beans. Some people add potatoes, carrots, meat, cod and an assortment of spices, however the most traditional way to prepare this dish is to keep it vegetarian and not add any other meats. That said, a pig bone can be thrown in the stew so to give it flavor and to substance.

Olla Gitana | Gypsy Stew

Olla gitana

Ingredients (four portions):

  • 140 grams of white beans (or another bean type)
  • 150 grams of chickpeas
  • 120 grams of fresh green beans
  • 100 grams of pumpkin
  • 1 large pear
  • 1 small slice of bread
  • a handful of toasted almonds
  • 1/2 spring onion/scallion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • chicken or vegetarian broth
  • salt
  • saffron strands


  • Soak the legumes in water for 12 hours. For the chickpeas use warm water and coarse salt
  • Once the legumes are hydrated, put the white beans in clean cold water and put on the fire at low heat. As soon as it reaches boiling point pour enough cold water until the beans are covered by two fingers, repeat this process again
  • When they reach boiling point for the first time add the chickpeas and let it cook for two hours at low heat and covered with the lid
  • The legumes must always be covered by two fingers of water, if the water gets consumed while it cooks, add broth
  • While the legumes are in the fire, clean the green beans and dice.
  • Cut the pear and pumpkin in small cubes
  • When the legumes are cooked add the pumpkin, green beans and pear. Add salt to taste and let it simmer for 30 more minutes
  • In a frying pan with a little olive oil, brown the bread, garlic and almonds at very low heat. When they're done remove from oil
  • Dice the spring onion/scallion and brown in the same oil as the garlic
  • Peel and cut the tomatoes in chunks
  • In a mortar place the bread, garlic and almonds as well as a few saffron strands. To emulsify add a little vinegar and broth. Grind the ingredients until they are well blended
  • Poach the onion. When this is done stir-fry the paprika in the spring onion stir-fry. After a couple of minutes add the tomato and heat for 10 minutes
  • When the tomato is done add it to the stew pot, add the ingredients crushed in the mortar as well and let it simmer for 10 more minutes so the flavors and well blended and serve