A Vegan and Vegetarian Foodies Guide To Spain
Spanish food is best known for its cured meats, rich cheeses and fresh seafood so you would be forgiven for thinking that eating out in Spain as a vegan or vegetarian is impossible. Most Spaniards do not understand vegetarianism and veganism, and will often assume that only red meat is avoided, therefore including fish, poultry and ham in dishes which sound vegetarian.
Despite these challenges, it is possible to eat a meat and animal produce free diet while holidaying in Spain. Certain traditional dishes are already vegetarian and vegan friendly, and plenty of restaurants have cropped up which cater exclusively for vegetarians and vegans.
To save you time and stress spent researching suitable options while you’re on your holiday, we’ve created this handy downloadable resource which you can take on your travels for a fuss free foodie holiday.
What to order
When ordering food at a restaurant, make sure you ask for specific ingredients as dishes which look vegetarian may have unexpected meat in. For example, salads are often garnished with tuna or diced ham as a standard. Paella and risottos are also often cooked in meat or fish stocks, despite being a vegetarian dish. Ask for your dish to be served…
“Sin jamon” – without ham
“Sin atun” – without tuna
“Caldo vegetal” – in vegetarian stock
– Falafel: most fast food and sandwich shops will offer vegan friendly falafel. Made with chickpeas, it is usually served with salad, pita bread or chips and a garlic sauce. Vegans will need to omit the sauce as it contains dairy products.
– Zanahorias alinadas: this cold tapas dish consists of parboiled carrots marinated in oil, vinegar and spices. It is a light and refreshing side served in many restaurants.
– Tortilla de patata: the Spanish potato omelette is a traditional Spanish dish made from eggs, olive oil, potatoes and onions. It is a simple but hearty meal which makes a great safe choice for lunch. Ask for added mushrooms, vegetables, peppers or cheese for variety.
– Calamares del campo: despite the calamari sounding name, this dish actually consists of onions and peppers cut into rings and deep fried making it completely animal-product free.
– Espinacas con garbanzos: this Spanish stew is made with spinach, chickpeas and a garlicky tomato sauce. It is extremely filling, flavoursome and healthy, as well as being both vegetarian and vegan friendly.
– Champinones: a simple dish of mushrooms fried in garlic and olive oil, this dish is perfect for vegans and vegetarians as tapas or a side.
– Benejenas fritas: served either on top of soup or as tapas, benejas fritas is simply sliced aubergine fried until crisp. It can sometimes be drizzled with honey so vegans are recommended to double check before ordering.
– Croquetas de patata: at its most basic, croquetas de patata are a simple breaded and deep fried cylindrical potato. There are several vegetarian and vegan friendly varieties, including mushroom, vegetable and cheese.
– Tomato alinado: a starter or tapas dish, this refreshing recipe is simply sliced tomato marinated in garlic, olive oil and herbs.
– Patatas bravas: a typical Spanish dish of fried potatoes served in a spicy tomato sauce. It is often accompanied with a garlic mayonnaise which you will need to ask for it without if you’re vegan.
– Revoltillo de esparragos: although not a vegan friendly meal, this dish of asparagus and egg makes a simple healthy side or small main for vegetarians.
Vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants in Madrid
– Rayen Vegano: this café serves up organic vegetarian and vegan dishes in a menu which changes daily. The ingredients are all fresh and each dish is made to order rather than being pre-prepared.
– Yerbabuena: Yerbabuena serves up gourmet vegetarian and vegan dishes in huge portions; one main and a couple of sides are more than enough between two people.
– Cocina Vegetariana International: the Cocina Vegetariana menu changes daily to reflect the fresh ingredients available locally. All dishes are either vegetarian or vegan friendly, and come in a wide range of cuisines to suit all taste palettes.
Vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants in Majorca
– Bon Lloc Restaurant: Bon Lloc was the first vegetarian restaurant to open in Majorca, and has been producing fresh local food since 1978. The menu changes daily to reflect the produce available and each dish is made to order.
– Restaurante Ballaverde: offering vegetarian and vegan fine dining, Ballaverde has an excellent selection of dishes and an ambience which will ensure glowing reviews all around. The vegan chocolate desserts are just as nice as the real thing, making it a perfect choice even for those who eat meat and dairy.
– La Golondrina: despite being extremely small, La Golondrina offers a decent sized menu of vegan and vegetarian dishes, including burgers and a creamy vegan sauce. The food is freshly made in open view and, unlike a lot of Spanish restaurants; La Golondrina is open outside of usual lunch and dinner hours.
Vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants in Barcelona
– Teresa Carles: with a cosy atmosphere and a host of creative vegetarian and vegan recipes, Teresa Carles is a perfect stop for vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters alike. They also offer several gluten free dishes.
– Organic: Organic offers fresh, 100% organic dishes with a huge range of vegetarian, vegan and meat options. As well as being freshly prepared, all dishes are healthy and make a refreshing change from some of the oil heavy dishes found in Spain.
Vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants in Tenerife
– Carlos: Carlos serves a wide range of vegetarian and vegan friendly dishes, as well as seafood and meat making it an all-round pleaser. The food and service are both at an exceptionally high standard, giving a high class ambience for your dining experience.
– Bombay Delight: serving Indian, Middle Eastern and Eastern European food, Bombay Delight is an excellent choice of venue for those who have had endless Spanish and Mediterranean meals during their holiday. The range of vegetarian and vegan dishes is extensive, and there is a beautiful sea view to enjoy during your meal.
– El Limon: serving freshly prepared juices and sandwiches, burgers, salads and soups, El Limon makes a perfect lunch or light dinner for vegetarians, vegans or those simply wanting something healthy and refreshing. They also do a good range of desserts, either for after a meal or as a standalone with a coffee.