An Introduction To Vegan Food In Spain

Collaborative post. A key part of going on holiday is enjoying the local cuisine, but this can be challenging when you have a limited diet. If you are a vegan and love food it can make holiday planning a bit harder when you want to ensure to eat good food while you are away. As a vegetarian teenager I remember a family holiday where I pretty much only ate bread and chips. Luckily the world has moved on a lot since then. If you are a vegan and plan on travelling to Spain then this guide will help you work out what to eat and where to go.

A photograph of a Spanish square with palm trees in Barcelona where you can eat food
Useful information before travelling to Spain if you are vegan

Where To Find Vegan Food In Spain

Useful Spanish for Vegans

In many tourist destinations people will speak ok English, but to be confident about what you are eating it helps to know a little Spanish. This will make it easier to read the menu and to ask questions. Also note that in some areas of Spain they may prefer to speak Catalan, Galician or Basque, so check the local language before you travel. 

Useful vocabulary includes:

I am a vegan - Soy vegana (if you are female), Soy vegano (if you are male)
Do you have any vegan food? ¿Tienes alguna comida vegana?
With/ without - con/ sin
I don’t eat any animal products - No como ningún producto animal
Does this dish contain…?  ¿Este plato contiene …?
Meat - carne
Ham - jamón
Tuna - atùn
Fish - pescado
Eggs / egg yolk - huevo/ yema
Dairy -  lácteos
Cheese - queso
Milk - leche (although leche de *insert word* can be a vegan milk eg leche de soja is soya milk
Butter - mantequilla 

I recommend downloading Google translate to your phone with the Spanish, or other relevant dictionaries before you go. This is free and not only will it give you translations you can look up but it can translate spoken word and tell you how to pronounce something. A handy feature is the camera part where you can take a photograph of any written words (like a menu) and it will translate it, this even works on handwritten signs. It’s not perfect, but it’s incredibly helpful.

Vegan Foods In Spain

Unlike many other European countries the Spanish tend to use olive oil in cooking more than butter. So although their diet contains a lot of meat, fish, seafood and cheese it means dishes not containing these are often vegan friendly. The dishes below are normally vegan, but some restaurants will add egg, meat or fish as a topping so it’s worth checking when you order.

  • Paella de verduras (Vegetable Paella)
  • Gazpacho (cold soup made of tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers (and sometimes other vegetables)
  • Patatas bravas (potatoes with spicy tomato sauce)
  • Pan con tomate (bread with tomato spread, olive oil and sometimes other stuff)
  • Espinacas con garbanzos (spinach and chickpea dish)
  • Escalivada (roasted red peppers, aubergines, and onions)
  • Fideuà (noodle dish with vegetables)
  • Ajo blanco (cold soup made of almonds, bread and garlic)
  • Ensalada mixta (mixed green salad)
  • Parillada de verduras (mixed grilled vegetables)
  • Churros (deep fried dough covered in sugar)

Pan con tomate, olives and wine can all be vegan in Spain
Pan con tomate is a simple dish, but surprisingly delicious 

Great Places For Vegans To Eat In Spain

Inevitably the larger the town or city the easier it is to find vegan restaurants and food. You will find lots of choice in the largest cities of Madrid and Barcelona, but it’s also worth looking at villas in Tenerife, Valencia, Seville, Mallorca, Bilbao, San Sebastian, Malaga and other popular tourist destinations. 

If you stay in a self catering villa you will have the flexibility of cooking for yourself and having occasional meals out. Visit markets for a tempting range of fresh fruit and vegetables, head to supermarkets (supermercado) for staples like rice and pasta. Larger supermarkets and those in tourist destinations are most likely to have non-dairy milks and spreads (Alpro and Sojasun for instance). 

Vegan Barcelona 

Barcelona is a very Instagramable city with a great range of vegan food. There is high number of places to eat in the El Raval Area and other notable places to check out include:

  • Väcka, Carrer dels Almogàvers - Specialises in vegan cheeses.
  • Teresa Carles, Carrer de Jovellanos - vegetarian restaurant with lots of vegan options.
  • Flax & Kale, Carrer dels Tallers - flexitarian restaurant with 80% plant based dishes.
  • Veggie Garden - a vegan restaurant with two branches in the city (Carrer dels Ángels and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes). 
  • Rasoterra, Carrer de Palau - completely plant based restaurant.
  • Vegan Cat Bar, Carrer de la Mercé - quirky bar serving vegan food and craft beer.

Also worth noting is Casa Albets in Lladurs (a couple of hours drive inland from Barcelona) which is a vegan restaurant awarded with the Bib Gourmand from Michelin. Open Friday and Saturdays only. Advance booking is essential.

Vegan Madrid

Madrid has a vibrant vegan scene. As well as vegan restaurants you can find vegan tapas bars, street food, and even vegan supermarkets.

  • El Invernadero de Rodrigo de la Calle, Calle de Ponzano - A Michelin starred restaurant with a tasting menu that can be made vegan.
  • Viva Burger, Costanilla de San Andrés - Vegan burgers and wraps.
  • Veggie Room, Calle de San Vicente Ferrer - a vegan supermarket.
  • La Encomienda, Calle de la Encomienda - International inspired vegan dishes
  • Distrito Vegano, Calle del Dr Fourguet - Vegan restaurant in central Madrid.
  • Freedom Cakes Cafe, Calle de Cádiz - serves a range of vegan food, but specialises in cakes and puddings.

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