So, vegan eating has become decidedly easier in Spain as of late. But that’s mostly in the cities of a few hundred thousand people or more. What if you find yourself in a beach pueblo of Asturias, bellied up to the bar with a ham leg hanging on either side of your head? Does one have to get their calories exclusively from beer and a basket of bread? Not to worry my friend, there are options.

Leggilo in Italiano!

Breakfast

 

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For starters, a typical breakfast in Spain is easily vegan. The unofficial breakfast of the country is toast and coffee. Head up to the bar, smile at the server, ask if they have leche de soja (soy milk), if they do, get a cafe con leche de soja, if not, simply order a cafe solo. Then ask for a tostada con tomate and take a seat. In a short while they’ll place a coffee in front of you along with some olive oil, salt, a plate of tomato slices OR a small bowl of pure and a fresh baguette, sliced in half and toasted to perfection. Drizzle some oil on the toast, add the tomatoes, a pinch of salt and enjoy! If you’re not into bread, the produce here is cheap and of high quality, so many days I’ll have breakfast in a fruteria!

Read also: Where to eat vegan in Valencia

Lunch

 

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Depending on where one is, lunch can be harder. If I’m somewhere rural, I usually stop at a supermarket and pick up hummus, veggies, basil (if they have it), a piece of fruit or two, salsa, tortilla chips and a whole grain baguette. I’ll find a park, make a hummus-tomato-basil sandwich and picnic it up. If that’s not an option, in the bar I’ve ordered a sandwich with all of the vegetables and a side of fries. Or the tomato-based soups gazpacho and salmorejo are vegan, present all over the country and good lunch options. Also, the basic house salad would typically be lettuce, tomato and olives, drizzled with oil, salt and vinegar, so I’ve ordered that with some bread and tomato. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day here, so typical bars have heavier fish or meat dishes and finding a hearty vegan lunch in a ‘typical’ Spanish bar or village can be tough.

Dinner and Tapas

 

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Later in the day, for the most Spanish tradition of tapas, or late dinner, there are quite a few options, regardless of region. Patatas bravas, pimientos de padrón, basic patatas, olives or potato chips can all be ordered anywhere. Many places also have a fried eggplant/aubergine tapa and hummus with pita bread is becoming more popular in bars from Coruña to Alicante.

If the Spanish bar has no options, my backup plan is find a kebab shop and get a falafel, no cream sauce. Cheeseless pizza or pasta with marinara from a local Italian place is plan C.

As I said, in the cities there are more and more vegan restaurants and menu options every year. This is more of a guide to get through a day or two in a pueblo or when one is frequently invited to old-school Spanish bars. I’m here to let you know that even in a roadside restaurant in the heart of La Mancha, there’s no need to go hungry, they’ve got vegan food, they just might not know it yet!

–  Mitchellglenn from BurntLentils

 

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Author

Vegan expat from Michigan but currently living in Sevilla. I'm an ESL teacher that spends his free time cooking, writing and seeking out incredible food. Anthony Bourdain super fan.

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