It’s no surprise why Spain is one of Britain’s favourite European getaways. Sunshine, culture to colourful and exciting foods, a holiday here is one worth remembering. Like many countries across Europe, it can often be difficult finding veggie alternatives.
Spain for the most part is a country that loves meat. However, this shouldn’t deter you from missing out on this fantastic sunny getaway. It’s not the easiest country in the world to be vegetarian unless of course you know where to look and what to do.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
There’s a well-known saying that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Jokes about veggies and vegans are old by this point and there’s no harm in requesting something more suitable. Stating your dietary requirements isn’t at all pretentious contrary to what the memes might suggest.
In the perfect world every restaurant will have a broad selection of meat-free dishes. The positive side to this is that it presents the perfect opportunity to test out some of your Spanish. The following phrases might come in handy in such a situation:
Soy vegetariano/vegetariana = I’m vegetarian.
Tienes platos sin carne y pescado? = Do you have dishes without meat or fish?
2. Research Restaurants Before You Go
With most restaurants these days, you know what to expect beforehand and the same can be said about where we choose to dine on holiday. Thanks to TripAdvisor and social media, it’s easy to find reviews and menus at the touch of a button.
Planning ahead of meal times will allow you to avoid disappointment. If you’re the only vegetarian in the party, often it can feel like your dietary requirements are forgotten about. You might not always have the luxury of having plenty to choose from on the menu like your meat-eating friends, but it’s worth checking if there’s at least one dish you can eat.
If you’ve lost track of time relaxing by the pool and forgot to plan dinner, there’s no need to panic. In most Spanish restaurants, you’ll find there are plenty of vegetarian friendly starters, but the same can’t always be said for main courses.
If you find yourself in a situation where you didn’t get to look beforehand, you can always have two starters and a dessert. Understandably you won’t want to do this for your entire holiday, but it’s at least a plan B for the worst-case scenario.
3. Try Vegetarian Tapas Dishes
If you want a fully authentic Spanish experience, look no further than a tapas restaurant. Fortunately, not all tapas dishes are meat based and they will leave you wanting more. Patatas bravas, Spanish tortilla and smoky paprika peppers are just a few of the options you can indulge in. Having plenty of choice often feels like a rare occurrence as a vegetarian (and even less so as a vegan) but this is guaranteed to be a positive dining experience if you know what your options are.
Bearing in this in mind, if you are a strict vegetarian, finding a restaurant exclusively for your dietary requirements might be your best option. It’s likely that vegetarian dishes will be cooked alongside the meat dishes meaning they might be cooked in the same oil.
4. If Possible, Cook for Yourself
Providing you have the facilities, there’s no better opportunity to brush up on your cooking skills than on a villa holiday in Spain. It’s a country renowned for its year-round fresh produce and it would be foolish not to take advantage. Whether you attempt to make Spanish dishes for yourself or if you’d rather have some home comforts, the boundaries are endless with this luxury.
5. Find a Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurant
There’s no denying it. Plant based diets are healthier and slowly but surely the world is starting to realise this. Similarly, to the UK, it’s easier to find places exclusively serving vegetarian food in the cities. In Madrid alone, there are numerous restaurants serving food free from meat and animal products.
B13 is one of the most highly rated fast-food restaurants for veggies and vegans alike. For something quick in between sight-seeing, it offers a variety of tasty food. The meat-free chorizo is a must have along with a refreshing glass of a soy milk summer berry smoothie.
Apps such as HappyCow will also come in useful to help you find veggie-friendly restaurants. It’ll locate somewhere suitable for you to eat anywhere in the world and is something you’ll use time and time again. Whether you want a light bite or a three-course meal, the results won’t leave you feeling disappointed.