Even after a lifetime of being in and out of Spain to visit my family, I used to have a deep set belief that Spain was not a good place to be Vegetarian. When I did become vegetarian in 2004, I realized how wrong I was! Here are my favorites to look out on the menu.
This post came to my mind when I read that today is World Tapas Day (June 16th 2016). This immediately made me think of all the gorgeous food Spain has to offer – and how each region has it’s own version or dish to try!
The best part is that we can get to try a few of these tapas in one meal. And they are very easy to make at home. The key thing is to have good quality ingredients and Spain certainly has very fresh (and strong tasting) vegetables and olive oil. So the next time you’re in a Spanish restaurant, keep your eyes open for these.
Vegetarian Tapas To Try!
Habas a la Catalana
As my blog celebrates Barcelona, I thought I would begin with some Catalan tapas. Habas are a traditional type of spanish bean. It is used in this delicious Catalan dish.
Tip: This can be made with or without meat. I find that many dishes in traditional restaurants do add some meat for flavor, especially to bean dishes, so it’s worth asking if this is part of the dish.
Pa Amb Oli & Pa Amb Tomàquet
Pa amb oli is a typical tapas in the Balearic Islands – To translate, this means “bread with olive oil” . And Pa Amb Tomàquet means “bread with tomato” which is a Catalan favorite. There is also a traditional way to prepare Pa Amb Tomàquet, which is part of Catalan identity. Majorcans usually add the tomato to their bread and then the olive oil, most Catalans do the reverse. Both are very delicious and easy to make!
Stuffed Tomatoes is another simple and easy dish to find when you are out or to prepare at home. Essentially, the tomato is used as a shell for a filling. Many places will fill it with seafood (such as tuna), so be sure to ask what it’s filling is.
If you ask anyone what the 3 most known Spanish dishes are, this is probably one of them! A classic across Spain and very refreshing. This is my “go to” soup when I just feel like something light, great for the hotter seasons too. I also love this as an alternative to making smoothies and juices. This cold soup is made of raw fresh tomatoes, peppers and other raw vegetables. Bread is also blended in.
Espinacas con Garbanzos
This means “spinach with chickpeas“. This is another bean based dish, which is very delicious. This is another easy to find and make dish that is very filling.
Fried eggplant, made by cutting thin slices of eggplant and fried until it is crispy. This is served in many ways, from drizzled honey to being a topping of a soup.
Years ago, I would say that this popular spanish dish is rarely vegetarian – as sea food and meat is often a natural part of this rice based recipe. Each region will have their unique speciality. But over the last 10 years, I have noticed that a vegetarian option is more readily available in most restaurants.
Many restaurants offer a vegetarian croquette option. The most common one I seem to find is the potato croquette. But you might find other combinations, such as croquetas de setas (wild mushroom croquettes), croquetas de cabrales (made with a strong blue cheese), croquetas de Roquefort y nuez (Roquefort cheese and walnut) and croquetas de espicacas y piñones (spinach and pine nuts).
Tortilla De Patatas
The Spanish omellete is almost guaranteed to be on every menu you will come across when you sit down to eat in any Spanish restaurant. It is made with a combination of potatoes and eggs.
Marinated Black Olives
You can’t go to Spain and not try the olives! These olives are marinated in garlic and other strong delicious ingredients to create a very simple dish and bring out the best flavor of Spanish olives.
Champinones Al Ajillo
Ajillo mushrooms is a another simple dish – a delicious combination of olive oil, garlic and dry Spanish Sherry. This tapas goes so well as a complement to many other tapas.
This dish is spicy and satisfies my craving for comfort food. Fried potatoes served with a Brava sauce. Again, another classic easy to dish to find on any Spanish menu.