Visitors to Spain often fear it will be impossible to find vegetarian tapas in local restaurants. But while Spaniards do love their meat and fish, vegetarian options in Spain are much more common than you would think. So whether planning a visit to Spain or organizing the menu for a summer tapas party, these vegetarian tapas recipes have you covered (and you won't even miss the barbecue!).
01 of 06
One of my all time favorite vegetarian tapas hails from Seville in Andalusia. Espinacas con garbanzos or spinach and chickpeas is a stew whose origins date back to times of Moorish rule. Fresh spinach is slowly stewed and then mixed with tomato puree, roasted garlic and toasted bread. The entire dish is heavily seasoned with cumin and the chickpeas are almost an adornment. It's absolutely delicious and completely comforting. Although it seems warm for the summer heat, it's actually the... perfect dish for entertaining outdoors.
02 of 06
Salmorejo is a classic cold tomato soup that originates in southern Spain and is popular throughout the country. A summer staple, it's one of the most popular hot weather tapas in Spain along with it's more liquid cousin, gazpacho. Traditional salmorejo is topped with hard boiled egg and diced ham, but there are other version that are topped with tuna, and it's easy enough to order it without ham in just about any restaurant.
Order in Spanish: Una tapa de salmorejo sin jamón por... favor.
For a twist, try a modern salmorejo recipe, like my beet salmorejo topped with goat cheese and apple.
03 of 06
Another summer staple in Spain are the cold marinated salads that you'll often find in the glass display case in Spanish bars and restaurants. These cold tapas are a perfect way to combat the summer heat, and are best with a refreshing glass of wine wine or sherry. There are many marinated salads you will find throughout Spain, including marinated radishes, carrots, potatoes and roasted red peppers. All are delicious, topped with extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar and sea salt.
04 of 06
There's nothing more traditional any time of year than a freshly made tortilla de patatas, the classic Spanish omelet made with eggs, potatoes and onions. Every family has their own recipe, and everyone claims that theirs is the best. The secret to a fantastic Spanish omelet is having the best quality ingredients-- farm fresh eggs, the right potatoes, and extra virgin olive oil. Vegetarians can get creative with add ins-- mushrooms, asparagus, bell peppers etc. At a summer barbecue in Spain... there is always tortilla de patatas on the buffet, usually sliced up and served room temperature.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
A safe bet for vegetarians in Spain is usually mushrooms. Spaniards love mushrooms of all types and they are prominently featured in seasonal cuisine. Whether simply prepared with minced garlic or scrambled in a revuelto (a scrambled egg dish), just make sure to specify that you want them sin jamón (without ham). Mushrooms make the perfect alternative to meat when barbecuing too!
06 of 06
Summertime in Spain means lots of fried foods, especially fish. But vegetarians don't miss out, as there are plenty of fried vegetables on offer too. My favorite are the savory fried eggplant with honey or sugarcane syrup (miel de caña). Both are a delicious mix of sweet and savory that will leave you wanting more.
These vegetarian tapas recipes are only a few of the many vegetarian dishes in Spain. But no matter which you choose to make, don't forget a refreshing drink to wash things down! Whether you opt for a fruity Spanish sangria or a crisp glass of Spanish wine, cheers to a delicious summer!