How to survive - and thrive - as a vegetarian in Spain's markets, tapas bars, restaurants, and while traveling.
Let this be an opportunity to participate in the grand tradition of the Spanish tapas crawl.Vegetarianism can be an admittedly difficult feat in ham-loving Spain. The country has had an undeniably long, proud love affair with meat for as long as anyone can document or remember. (Just look in on any Museo del Jamón location for proof.) But take heart. Spain today is an undoubtedly hip Western nation and good vegetarian fare is now a question of where you go and who you ask. Surviving, or dare we say it, even thriving, as a vegetarian in Spain can be easy enough once you know what to look for. Here’s your vegetarian and vegan guide on navigating your way through Spain’s four main food environments: NaturaSì in Madrid, a number of vegetarian restaurants have health food stores on the premises or next door. Here’s a list of vegetarian restaurants and health food stores throughout Spain. Herbolarios Though the selection can be extremely limited, most herbolarios have a dietética section where they sell vegetarian products such as almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, tofu, and a veggie burger or two alongside low sugar, wholewheat, and diet foods.
Traveling as a vegetarian might well be considered a test of your resolve and resourcefulness.Spanish gastronomy is high and dining is one of Spain’s many pleasures. Regular restaurants To get the most out of your restaurant experience, it pays to strategize. Strategy #1: Tame the menu del día The menu del día’s second plate options are notoriously meat only. To compensate, order two vegetarian-friendly firsts. Or ask if you could substitute the meaty second with a tortilla or other item they’re bound to have in their repertoire. Strategy #2: Knowledge is power “What’s in that anyway?” you may ask. Be sure to find out! Common vegetarian pitfalls include soup broth made from meat stock (even in vegetable soups) or salads and plates of vegetables that arrive with bits of ham in it. Ask if they can skip the ham. If you’re concerned about vegetarian or vegan wines, keep a list on you of permitted brands. Strategy #3: Go Italian A vegetarian favorite and fall-back rolled into one, pasta is everywhere and often makes for a good vegetarian meal. Think spaghetti, gnocchi, and fettuccini with cream- and tomato-based sauces. Just be sure to confirm that it really doesn’t come with meat. Vegetarian restaurants In Spain, vegetarian restaurants generally offer three varieties of cuisine (and décor) for varying vegetarian and vegan tastes: haute-gourmet, hippie, and classic. Let’s examine three illustrative case studies: Haute-gourmet: With an exotic decor, say elegant South Seas shipwreck meets Greenpeace, Madrid’s vegetarian restaurant Isla del Tesoro offers up a creative, internationally-inspired menu with names like Volcán castizo, El buen rollito, or Cesta del pecado. Ingredients may include seitan, quail eggs, bulgur, algae, and yucca. (But not all at once.) Food is artistically presented with edible garnish. Hippie: With a brightly-colored, psychedelic décor and a juice bar at the front, Barcelona’s vegan restaurant Juicy Jones serves up a variety of wholesome food, including hearty soups, salads, and Indian-inspired dishes. Classic: With a fairly typical Spanish décor of dark wood, painted tile, and brick, Madrid’s El Estragón serves up substantial, down-home Spanish food that just happens to be vegetarian. Think no-frills Spanish comfort food. As you would expect, there’s a greater chance of finding good vegetarian options in Spain’s bigger cities, but more and more vegetarian restaurants are popping up in smaller towns these days. Some vegetarian restaurants offer one or two menu items for your meat-eating dining companions, but most don’t.
When Do You Get Time Off In Spain? A Great Guide to Spain's National and Regional Holidays - information about both regional and national holidays throughout the country, focused on how Spain celebrates and explaining the significance of some of Spain's prominent holidays.
Spanish recipes, information about Spanish cuisine, and reasons why you should cook Spanish food at home. The anatomy of a Spanish lunch and recipes for Spanish classics tortilla de patata and sangría.
An introduction to Spanish art and culture – past and present – including architecture, dance, fashion, film, literature, music, painting, and sculpture.
An overview of the weather in Spain, including information on Spanish weather by season, region, and major city. Also learn about the author's favorite times and places to be in Spain.
Spain Expat's list of English speaking churches in Spain