The best known Istrian spoon meal "maneštra" is deeply rooted in the region’s culinary traditions. A deceivingly plain and simple dish, maneštra is indeed a creative and healthful food. Only now when vegetables are recognized for their high nutritional value is maneštra getting the credit it deserves - and the simple dish has found its place on the menus of many restaurants.
The basis of Istrian maneštra is boiled potatoes and beans to which seasonal vegetables are added that give it a distinct name: maneštra od bobići (young corn), maneštra od jačmika (barley), maneštra od slanca (chickpea), maneštra od koromača (fennel), etcetera.
When pickled cabbage (sauerkraut) or sour turnip is added, it becomes a typical winter dish called "jota".
A unique characteristic of Istrian maneštras is "pešt" (pesto). Pešt is made by mashing together chopped bacon, garlic and parsley to form a paste. It is added to the soup at the very beginning so the bacon is well cooked.
Istrian maneštra was also precisely defined by the type of dry meat (pork exclusively) that was added. The most common and appreciated addition was the prosciutto bone.