Popular Dishes For Vegetarians

Looking for Vegetarian Food in Spain? Our guide features 15 popular dishes for vegetarians and brings you the best of Spanish flavors that are a must-try. Enjoy Spanish cuisine the vegetarian way!

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We travel across Spain in our motorhome, Speedy, and update TravelSpain24 with fresh content, practical tips, and personal stories from the road. Our goal is to help you experience Spain beyond the typical tourist trails.

Finding great vegetarian food in Spain might initially seem tough because many Spanish recipes include meat and seafood. But if you look closer, you will find many tasty vegetarian dishes showing Spain’s great food traditions.

One fun thing about eating in Spain is trying tapas. They are small dishes that are great for sharing and tasting different things. There are lots of vegetarian tapas to choose from. You can try patatas bravas, padrón peppers, and mushroom croquettes. There is also a  popular dish called pan con tomate. It’s simply bread with tomato and olive oil but delicious!

Spain also offers many traditional main courses that are vegetarian. One of these dishes is called paella de verduras, and it’s normally made with seafood, but it can be altered to include many different vegetables, such as artichokes, broad beans, peppers, and mushrooms. These veggies make the dish look delicious and bring Spanish flavors into your meal. Exploring vegetarian food in Spain is an enjoyable and tasty adventure.

If you’re curious about where to purchase fresh ingredients for your meals, have a look at the best grocery stores in Spain to do your shopping.

Is Spain vegetarian-friendly?

Recently, Spain has seen a rise in vegetarian and vegan restaurants, making it easier to find satisfying meals without meat. Some exclusive vegetarian restaurants offer a variety of dishes with ingredients such as seitan, quail eggs, bulgur, and yucca, which are all aesthetically pleasing and come with edible garnishes.

Apart from the vegetarian restaurants, many local dishes and tapas are already vegetarian-friendly or can be easily adapted. For instance, berenjenas fritas, and patatas bravas are popular vegetarian tapas options. You can also find delicious croquettes with veggie fillings like wild mushrooms, spinach, or Idiazabal cheese, which is typical in the Basque country and Navarre.

Regarding vegetables, Spain has a wide variety to enjoy, from hearty tomatoes to succulent peppers and aromatic onions. The country is rich in the agricultural resources needed to sustain a vegetarian lifestyle.

I have found that while Spain may not have as many vegetarian options as other countries, vegetarians and vegans can enjoy a diverse range of satisfying meals while being in the country. Be open-minded, and don’t hesitate to ask for vegetarian options or adaptations while dining out.

Popular Vegetarian Food in Spain

There’s a lot of vegetarian food in Spain that people like. These dishes are made without any meat or fish, but they’re still flavorful.

You might be surprised by how many popular Spanish foods suit vegetarians. Some of these are traditional dishes that have existed for a long time. Others are more modern and have been created for people who don’t eat meat or fish. Let’s look at some of these popular vegetarian foods in Spain.

1. Gazpacho

In Spain, a very famous dish is called Gazpacho. This cold, tomato-based soup is a favorite during the hot summer months. Packed with various blended ingredients, including tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, and garlic, it’s refreshing and nutritious. Whether vegetarian or not, Gazpacho can be a delightful and healthy option on a warm day.

2. Tortilla de patatas

Tortilla de Patatas, a Spanish omelet, is one of my favorite meat-free dishes in Spain. Made with eggs, potatoes, and onions, it’s a versatile dish that can be served as tapas, a main course, or a sandwich filling.

3. Espinacas con garbanzos

Spinach and chickpeas (potaje)

Espinacas con Garbanzos (spinach with chickpeas) is a popular vegetarian option in Spain, especially in the southern region of Andalusia. This flavorful stew, made with spinach, chickpeas, garlic, and paprika, is hearty and satisfying.

4. Escalivada

For something lighter, you can opt for Escalivada, a Catalan dish of grilled vegetables like eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions. Drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with garlic, salt, and pepper, Escalivada makes an excellent appetizer, side dish, or topping for a crusty slice of bread.

5. Pisto

Pisto, Spain’s version of ratatouille, is a delicious medley of sautéed vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, and onions. This vegetable stew can be enjoyed independently, with bread, or served over rice for a filling vegetarian meal.

6. Churros

I can’t talk about Spanish food without mentioning Churros, a popular breakfast and snack treat. These deep-fried pastries, often served with velvety hot chocolate for dipping, are a delightful indulgence for vegetarians.

7. Patatas a lo pobre

Patatas a lo Pobre, or “poor man’s potatoes,” is a simple and satisfying dish made with thinly sliced potatoes, green peppers, onions, and garlic, all fried in olive oil. This staple of Spanish cuisine easily fits into the vegetarian diet and pairs well with a light salad or a hearty slice of bread.

8. Samfaina

In Spain, food lovers and vegetarians can enjoy several vegetable-based dishes, such as Samfaina. This Catalan creation, similar to ratatouille, is a stew made from eggplant, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and garlic. Bursting with flavor, Samfaina can be served either as a side dish or as a tapas-style appetizer, making it a perfect choice for sharing with friends.

9. Paella de verduras

While seafood paella may be more widely known in Spain, the vegetarian version, Paella de Verduras, is a delicious alternative. Made with an array of colorful vegetables like artichokes, bell peppers, and tomatoes, this wonderful rice dish can be found in many restaurants throughout the country.

10. Arroz con huevo

Another popular vegetarian option I enjoy eating in Spain is Arroz con Huevo. It’s a simple dish with rice and a fried egg. It can be easily customized with additional toppings like chopped vegetables, cheese, or avocado.

Vegetarian Spanish Tapas

Spain is well known for creating the tradition of tapas centuries ago. They are small dishes that you can share with others. This allows you to try many different foods without getting too full.

The good news is that many tapas are great for vegetarians. These dishes use veggies, beans, and other plant-based ingredients. They’re not only tasty but healthy as well. Next, we will look at some of the different vegetarian tapas you can try in Spain.

11. Patatas bravas

Patatas Bravas is a popular vegetarian tapa dish in Spain. It consists of crispy fried potatoes seasoned with paprika and complemented by a savory tomato sauce. To further enhance its flavors, some restaurants add unique twists. The versatility of this dish allows it to fit seamlessly into different dietary preferences. Patatas Bravas remains a highly recommended choice for vegetarians and vegans in many establishments.

12. Padrón peppers

Another great vegetarian tapa is Padrón Peppers, salty, blistered peppers that are easy to make, and usually disappear in seconds when served. These small peppers are fried until wilted and slightly charred, making them a tasty and savory choice for tapas lovers.

13. Mushroom Croquetas

For those who enjoy mushrooms, I recommend trying Mushroom Croquetas. This vegetarian tapa is made with a delicious bechamel sauce and mushrooms. Then it’s deep-fried to golden perfection. This dish is an excellent option for those seeking a rich and satisfying tapa experience.

14. Pan con tomate

Pan con tomate is a simple yet unexpectedly delicious Spanish vegetarian tapa that consists of bread toast with grated tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, and salt. This classic Spanish breakfast recipe is delicious and functional, as it can be enjoyed on its own or with various toppings like avocado or roasted bell peppers.

15. Berenjenas Fritas

Lastly, Berenjenas Fritas is a must-try vegetarian tapa for eggplant lovers. This dish consists of thinly sliced eggplant, often coated in flour or breadcrumbs and then fried until crispy. Some variations include drizzling the eggplant with a sweet and sticky honey or molasses-based sauce, adding an incredible depth of flavor to this satisfying tapa.

Spain Food Tours Recommendations

Food tours in Spain are a great way to enjoy Spanish food as a vegetarian or vegan. You’ll get to try many tasty dishes and find hidden food gems in these cities.

Vegetarian Food Tours in Barcelona

If you love vegetarian food, try a food tour in Barcelona. There you can taste tapas, soups, and even vegetarian desserts. The Barcelona walking tasting tour is a good one to check out. It will show you some of the city’s best vegetarian tapas places.

1. Barcelona walking tasting tour with Secret Food Tours

2. Food & Wine Tour in Barcelona with a Sommelier | Small-Group

3. Spanish wine & tapas gastro tour in a local neighborhood

4. The 10 Tastings of Barcelona With Locals: Private Food Tour

5. Taste Barcelona Like a Local: Food Tour of Gracia Neighborhood

Vegetarian Food Tours in Madrid

Madrid also has food tours just for vegetarians. You can try many dishes like tofu, seitan, and vegan tapas. Also, don’t miss tasting the Spanish tortilla. You might like the Tapas, Taverns & History Tour Madrid. It lets you enjoy great food while learning about Madrid’s best food spots.

However, if you’re looking for a more hands-on experience with Spanish cuisine, you might consider attending one of the best cooking classes in Madrid. Instead of just tasting, you can learn how to prepare traditional dishes yourself.

1. Tapas, Taverns & History Tour Madrid

2. Madrid Historical Walking Tour with Food Tasting and Dinner

3. The 10 Tastings of Madrid With Locals: Private Food Tour

4. Madrid Historical Walking Tour with Wine and Food Tasting

5. Evening in Madrid: Food on Foot Tapas Adventure with a Local

Vegetarian Food in Spain: FAQs

You might still have a few questions now that we’ve explored a mouth-watering array of vegetarian-friendly Spanish dishes. Great! In the FAQ section below, I’ve addressed some of the most common queries to ensure you’re fully prepared for your culinary journey in Spain. 

🥦 Is vegetarianism popular in Spain?

Absolutely, yes! Over my last five years in Spain, I’ve seen the vegetarian wave dramatically increase. It’s still a country that loves its jamón, but vegetarianism is no longer a foreign concept. More and more people are exploring plant-based diets, and restaurants are catching up too. So, veggies, you’re in good company here!

🌆 Which Spanish city is best for vegetarians?

Barcelona, without a doubt! I have experienced the vegetarian lifestyle there, and I assure you that this city is a paradise for veggie lovers. Many vegetarian and vegan-friendly spots will leave you wondering where to go next. I still recall the taste of a delectable vegan paella I had at a charming place called Veggie Garden in the El Raval district. Trust me, Barcelona is the dream destination for vegetarians and vegans alike!

📚 What is Spanish for vegetarian food?

The phrase you’re looking for is “comida vegetariana”! Here’s a little insider tip. When ordering, don’t forget to say “sin carne y sin pescado” (without meat and fish), just to be extra sure. And for vegans, “vegano” is the term to use. Happy feasting! 

Final Thoughts on Vegetarian Food in Spain

Spanish cuisine offers many dishes that are great for vegetarians. Some recipes can also be easily altered not to contain any meat. One good example is paella, which typically includes seafood. The veggie version of this dish has things like artichokes, broad beans, peppers, and mushrooms instead.

Spain also has food that is traditionally vegan from its origin. Gazpacho is one of these foods. It’s a cold soup made from tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, and other veggies.

In short, there are a lot of great veggie options in Spain. You can try classic dishes or modern ones too. Plus, many restaurants cater to the vegetarian crowd, which makes dining out a lot of fun.

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