So you’ve just arrived in Spain, the most amazing country to have some fun, and you are hungry! You want to feast but you are facing a major problem. 

Every dish, snack and tapa seems to include meat! Where are the veggies? 

Well, in this article, we will make you familiar with the best vegetarian dishes of Spain, and where to get them.

We will also talk about the most incredible street foods that are available with vegetarian options as well. 

So without further ado, let’s get straight into it. 

A Quick Look at the Top 10 Vegetarian Foods in Spain:

  1. Gazpacho

  2. Tortilla Española (Spanish Omelet)

  3. Patatas Bravas

  4. Pisto

  5. Escalivada

  6. Paella de Verduras (Vegetable Paella)

  7. Fabada Asturiana

  8. Migas

  9. Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach with Chickpeas)

  10. Guisantes con Jamón (Peas with Ham) Modified With Veggies

Are There Vegetarians In Spain?

Vegetarian Food In Spain

Yes there are many vegetarians in Spain. And vegetarian dishes are everywhere…you just have to know where to look!

A survey states that around two-thirds of the respondents from Spain buy plant-based meals at least once a week. 

You might be wondering how a country like Spain, which is known for some of the best meat dishes on the planet has a so many options for vegetarians.

Spain is famous for dishes like chorizo, jamón, and many seafood delicacies. 

However, in recent years, many people have adopted the vegetarian lifestyle because of health pursuits, environmental stability, and animal welfare. 

The prevalence of vegetarianism in Spain has evolved. It reflects a growing consciousness towards health, sustainability, and ethical food choices. 

A total of 4% population are vegetarian in Spain and has grown significantly in recent years. This group of people has made the decision to remove meat-based items from their diet. 

As more people embrace plant-based diets for various reasons, the country’s culinary landscape has responded with innovative and diverse vegetarian offerings.

Why People Are Getting Into Vegetarian Foods In Spain?

1. Health Consciousness

Many people turned to vegetarian diets to improve their health. It’s already proven that having a well-balanced vegetarian diet can keep you healthy. You can get all the nutrients that a human body needs, plus reducing the risks of having chronic diseases such as diabetes or obesity. Spaniards are taking note and as a result changing their menus, diets and consumption of meat.

2. Environmental Concerns

The impact of meat production on the environment, including deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and water usage, has awakened people to become vegetarian as well. Vegetarianism is often seen as a more sustainable option, as plant-based diets generally have a lower carbon footprint.

3. Animal Welfare

Journal of Animal Behavior and Biometeorology states that 89.4% of people were turning to vegetarianism for animal welfare back in 2013 in Walsh.
Animals must be treated with care and love and many people chose the path to being a vegetarian for this particular reason. 

In fact, 63% of Spanish meat consumers look for cultivated meat for animal welfare. 

4. Culinary Innovation

Chefs and restaurants in Spain have embraced the challenge of catering to vegetarian diners. 

Spain is known as having the biggest selection of gourmet dinning options on the planet! These resturaunts are evolving with the times and there has been a surge of creative and delicious plant-based dishes. This culinary innovation has played a significant role in promoting vegetarianism in Spain and throughout the country you will find these establishments.

5. Tourism and International Influence

As a popular tourist destination, Spain attracts people from different cultural backgrounds. The influence of international cuisine and the dietary preferences of foreigners have contributed to a more open and accommodating attitude toward vegetarianism.

6. Health and Wellness Trends

Health and wellness trends starting with diet and nutrition are seeing a huge uptick across the globe. As a result more and more people are turning to vegetarian or vegan diets as a way to increase longevity and overall wellbeing.

The trend of having a healthier lifestyle in the fitness industry has increased the popularity of vegetarianism in Spain as well. There is an increase in nutritional coaching, gyms and people specializing in wholistic wellness.

While exploring the vegetarian delights of Spain, it’s fascinating to see the bigger picture that is developing as it relates to overall health and well-being including diet. Discover more about the eating habits in Spain that shape everyday life and culture.

Traditional Spanish Vegetarian Foods: Our Top 10 Picks

Although Spain is famous for its meat dishes, there is significant fresh produce used throughout main dishes.

This variation shows off the country’s culinary heritage with the usage of fresh vegetables, legumes, and grains that grow in Spain. In fact Spain has one of the best climates in Europe for producing significant amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Here are some classic Spanish vegetarian dishes that highlight the traditional flavors and ingredients:

1. Gazpacho

Gazpacho

Gazpacho is the quintessential Spanish culinary delight. And it is so delicious!

It is a refreshing cold soup that is famous during the summer. This soup’s origin is from the Andalusian region. This orange-looking dish is a mix of fresh, ripe vegetables in a tomato base.

It is a blend of tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and bread.

Prepared by blending the ingredients into a smooth consistency, gazpacho’s texture and bold taste will give you a magical experience for your taste buds. It is served chilled during the summer, but you can find it year round.

Apart from its culinary allure, gazpacho also has its cultural significance and is often served during festive gatherings and family meals. 

A symbol of togetherness and family, this cold soup nourishes the body and enlightens the sense of togetherness and appreciation for the bounty of nature that Spain has.

You can find gazpacho in most Spanish restaurants as well as already prepared versions in grocery stores and markets throughout the country.

Curious about how Spanish cuisine compares to Mexican flavors? Find out if tacos are a staple in Spain as we dive into the local gastronomy.

2. Tortilla Española (Spanish Omelet)

Tortilla Española

Tortilla Española is commonly known as the Spanish Omelette. It is an iconic dish that holds a special place in the heart of Spanish cuisine. 

Simple yet incredibly flavorful, this rustic omelet is a beloved culinary masterpiece enjoyed throughout Spain. 

The basic ingredients of Tortilla Española are potatoes, onions, eggs, and olive oil. Sliced potatoes and onions are gently sautéed until tender and golden, then mixed with beaten eggs. 

The mixture is then cooked slowly until the omelet sets into a golden, slightly runny center. It is then flipped to cook the other side. 

It can be served as a main course, tapa, or even in a bocadillo (sandwich). You can eat this warm or even at room temperature. 

There is hardly a market, cafe or food cart that does not serve this traditional Spanish food and you will find it everywhere! It is a quick and easy way to get protein on the go and a delicious taste of Spain.

Read More: Embark on an extraordinary Spanish journey beyond the beaten path! Uncover captivating wonders and unusual destinations with our guide to the most unique places to visit in Spain.

3. Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas is a yummy Spanish dish loved by many. It’s a tasty treat you can find in tapas bars all over Spain. 

We have yet to have Patatas Bravas that we have not loved! And ever cafe and household does them just a little bit different.

So, what is it? Well, it’s crispy fried potatoes, like French fries, but better! 

The special part is the spicy tomato sauce drizzled on top. Sometimes, you may also get a creamy garlic sauce, which makes it even more delicious.

This dish has a bit of a kick, thanks to the flavorful sauces. However, it’s not too spicy for most people. 

The crunchy potatoes, covered in the zesty sauce, create a mouthwatering combination that’ll have you wanting more. Patatas Bravas is perfect to share with your friends while enjoying a fun time at a Spanish restaurant. It is a perfect dish for vegetarians and can be found everywhere you go in Spain.

4. Pisto

Pisto

Pisto is a traditional Spanish dish that’s super tasty and you will fall in love with it. It’s like a cousin of ratatouille but with its unique twist. 

This delicious medley is made with fresh, vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, and onions. These veggies are cooked slowly until they become soft and flavorful, creating a mouthwatering blend of tastes.

Pisto is like a cozy, comforting hug for your taste buds. It’s often served as a side dish or even as a base for other recipes. 

The best part is, you can enjoy it hot or cold, making it perfect for any time of the year. This delightful dish shows off Spanish cooking by using fresh and simple products. 

Read More: When traveling to Spain, pack wisely with these must-haves: comfortable shoes for exploration, sunscreen to enjoy the sunny days, a phrasebook for local interactions, and an open heart to embrace the Spanish charm.

5. Escalivada

Escalivada

Escalivada is a true delight for veggie lovers. It comes from the beautiful region of Catalonia, where the flavors of roasted vegetables shine bright. 

So, what’s in this mouthwatering dish? Well, it’s a mix of colorful vegetables like eggplant, red bell peppers, and onions.

To make Escalivada, the veggies are roasted in the oven until they become tender and smoky. This roasting process gives them a rich, delicious flavor that you’ll love. 

Once they’re done, the skin is peeled off, and the vegetables are cut into strips. Drizzled with olive oil, they become even more irresistible. 

You can have the Escalivada as a side dish, or you can get creative and use it in sandwiches or salads.  It also goes great with a crisp white wine!

6. Paella de Verduras (Vegetable Paella)

Paella de Verduras

Paella de Verduras is a mouthwatering dish that veggie lovers will adore. This colorful creation hails from the sunny region of Valencia and is a mix of fresh vegetables.

Paella is a special rice recipe cooked with a mix of delicious veggies like artichokes, green beans, peas, and tomatoes. The rice soaks up all the flavors, making each bite a burst of yumminess.

Paella de Verduras is not just delicious but also a feast for the eyes with its vibrant colors. It’s a perfect dish for sharing with family and friends during happy gatherings.

7. Fabada Asturiana

Fabada Asturiana

Fabada Asturiana is a delicious Spanish dish from Asturias. It’s a bean stew made with big, creamy white beans called “fabes.” 

While it is often made with meat, more and more it is being served without, and you are likely to find vegetarian versions throughout Spain.

The smell of this dish fills the kitchen as it cooks slowly on the stove. In Asturias, this traditional recipe is enjoyed during festivals. 

With each spoonful of this hearty stew, you can taste the love and tradition of Asturian cooking. It is an easy dish to try yourself as it just takes a handful of fresh ingredients and is hard to get wrong!

So, when you want to try something special in Spain, enjoy the goodness of Fabada Asturiana, and let its flavors take you to the beautiful region of Asturias.

8. Migas

Migas

Migas is a delicious, easy-to-make dish. It’s a traditional food eaten by farmers that is loved by many throughout Spain.

What’s in this simple but delicious dish? It’s made with stale bread crumbs, olive oil, garlic, and vegetables and each version is different depending on the region.

The bread crumbs are cooked in the flavorful olive oil until they become crispy and golden. Then, the garlic and other ingredients are added to make it even more delicious. 

Migas is a dish that’s full of flavor and texture, making every bite a delight. 

In Spain, this dish has a special place in the heart of its culinary heritage. It’s a humble yet satisfying meal that brings people together to enjoy good food and good company. 

9. Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach with Chickpeas)

Espinacas con Garbanzos

Espinacas con Garbanzos, or Spinach with Chickpeas is a wholesome Spanish dish. This tasty recipe combines two favorite ingredients: spinach and chickpeas and is a perfect vegetarian dish.

It’s made with fresh spinach, tender chickpeas, and a tasty tomato and cumin-based sauce. The sauce adds a burst of flavor, making every bite delicious with a lot of texture.

It’s a comforting and filling meal that’s loved by both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. It’s a that brings together the goodness of greens and the heartiness of chickpeas.

In Spain, this dish has a special place in family meals and gatherings. It’s a simple yet satisfying recipe that warms the soul and nourishes the body and is found at every family meal.

So, when you want to try something special in Spain, make sure you try the Espinacas con Garbanzos. 

10. Guisantes con Jamón (Peas with Ham) Modified With Veggies 

Guisantes con Jamón

Guisantes con Jamón has historically been made with meat, but is increasingly being transformed into a vegetarian dish. By replacing the ham with flavorful smoked tofu, the dish becomes suitable for vegetarians.

In this revamped version, the star of the show remains the sweet peas, sautéed to perfection with aromatic onions and garlic. 

The result is a delightful and wholesome meal that maintains the essence of the original dish while catering to vegetarians.

This vegetarian adaptation of Guisantes con Jamón lets everyone taste the flavors and enjoy a heartwarming meal together. 

Whether you choose to include smoked tofu or savor the peas on their own, this dish will surely bring smiles to the faces of all who indulge in its delicious simplicity.

Vegetarian Street Foods 

Spain has a variety of delicious vegetarian street foods that are a treat for your taste buds. 

From crunchy churros sprinkled with sugar to savory empanadas filled with veggies, these street snacks are perfect for exploring the vibrant flavors of Spain.

Satiate your taste buds with a bite of bocadillos, a tasty sandwich loaded with fresh veggies that you can find in every food cart around Spain.

One of our favorite vegetarian snacks are the pimientos de padrón, small green peppers fried and sprinkled with salt. These are inexpensive and delicious!

There are plenty of street food options in Spain that are vegetarian, and almost every street vendor or cafe serves them.

Don’t forget to ask a local about their favorite spots and locations for vegetarian dishes as well. They are the best source of information about the local and hidden gems that serve the best food around town.

Planning to move to Spain for its delicious food and vibrant culture? Make sure to read our guide on the common mistakes when moving to Spain to ensure a smooth transition.

Bottom Line

The world of vegetarian food in Spain is a delightful tapestry of flavors, colors, and culinary heritage. From traditional dishes like Gazpacho and Tortilla Española to regional specialties like Pisto and Paella de Verduras, Spain has an abundance of mouthwatering vegetarian options. 

Whether you’re savoring the hearty warmth of Fabada Asturiana, enjoying the simplicity of Migas, or relishing the vibrant flavors of Guisantes con Jamón (with a vegetarian twist), each dish presents a unique experience to enjoy.

From street foods to fine dining, Spain welcomes vegetarians , offering a delightful journey through its diverse and delectable vegetarian cuisine. You are sure to find plenty of options everywhere you travel from incredible locals who are passionate about their food and heritage and put love in every bite.

Embrace the cultural heritage, the warmth of the people, and the deliciousness that the vast vegetarian dishes bring to your plate. 

Buen Provecho!

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