It can a little bit soul-destroying when you are enjoying your holiday in Spain with a loved one, family or friends and they suggest a meal at the local restaurant, knowing as a vegetarian you will probably find one item on the menu that you can eat every night of your holiday. So how do you ensure you are not chained to cooking the vegetables from the local market in your family villa in Barcelona for the duration of your stay? What on Earth can you eat as a veggie lover in the land of chorizo and jamon? Don’t panic: Here are a few tips to ensure you can eat out with the rest of the family without compromising your ethics.
What can I eat from a traditional Spanish menu?
There is a lot that you can feast on as a veggie traveling in Spain! The Spanish omelette or tortilla de patata is found in pretty much every tapas bar and restaurant in the country. Enjoy a slice with some patatas bravas on the side (cooked potatoes with a spicy sauce) and a few slices of homemade crusty bread.
Some restaurants serve tempura-style vegetables which are lightly fried in batter. Onions, peppers and courgettes often get the calamari-style treatment without the seafood.
Asparagus is also a favourite Spanish dish and can be served “revueltos” with scrambled eggs, or with a poached egg or Parmesan cheese.
Who would have thought Spain’s most famous soup would be vegetarian-friendly? Gazpacho may be cold to the taste but it’s super tasty and packed with antioxidants!
Spinach and Chickpeas
Chickpeas! Whether its hummus or falafel, chickpeas are usually a staple in the vegetarian diet, fortunately the Spanish love them too. The Spanish version of espinacas con garbanzos (spinach and chickpeas) is really tasty and widely available.
Croquetas contain bechamel sauce and a variety of fillings from mushrooms to Roquefort and walnut to spinach and pine nuts which can be found on most tapas menus. Be careful to check the filling though as most come with ham or chicken. If you are unsure, ask or check your translation app or guidebook.
Another wonderful veggie dish is berenjenas fritas (fried eggplant or aubergine). Usually served fried in thin slices with a drizzle of honey over the top it’s truly delicious.
Ratatouille or Pisto
Roasted vegetables in olive oil, with onion, pepper, eggplant and tomato in a chunky and tasty sauce. Very tasty indeed.
Manchego and Walnuts
Manchego is a hard Spanish cheese, served with walnuts, breadsticks and a drizzle of honey. it’s a dish you will want to try again and again.
If you are still struggling then remember the larger cities also have Italian, Indian and Middle Eastern restaurants where an abundance of alternative vegetarian dishes are served. You don’t have to feel that you will be eating in your vacation villa in Barcelona each evening alone. There are plenty of wonderful choices for any vegetarian traveling in Spain, and if all else fails you always have the desserts!