So you’ve booked your Barcelona trip, and are ready to go shortly. All your bags are packed, and your documents settled, and the hotel room reservation’s stamped in—however, you feel a nagging concern in the back of your mind. About.com resident Spain travel expert Damian Corrigan sums that up with these words:
“I guess I’ll probably have to order salad.” Is that what you say as you enter a restaurant in Spain? In that case, you’re probably one of these people called a vegetarian.
However, why would that kind of possible situation bug you in the first place? As conventional knowledge and pop culture might put it, the term “vegetarian” and Spain doesn’t exactly go well together—or do they? While most people may say otherwise, veggie lovers can still rest easy on their Spanish tour without worrying about what they’d eat; especially with local restaurants like Ziryab serving vegetarian tapas in Barcelona.
Here are some of the well-known vegan tapas meals you could deliciously nibble on without feeling guilty or detached.
Patatas Bravas – A popular Barcelona tapas made of fried or baked potatoes covered in a sauce made of hot pimentón, saffron, sherry vinegar, tomatoes, garlic, and sugar, Patatas Bravas (literally meaning “fierce potatoes”) originated in Madrid back in 1933, and has stayed strong since. Writing for SeriousEats.com, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt remarks that Patatas Bravas means the same to Spanish tapas bars as chicken wings do to American sports bars.
It’s pretty well-known not just in Barcelona or Madrid, but all around Spain for good reason—Patatas Bravas’ simple cooking method allows for limitless experimentation, allowing for different versions at almost every city. It’s also traditionally considered a “social dish,” best eaten with friends and family at local bars.
Pan con Tomate – Often eaten at breakfast, the Catalan classic Pan con Tomate (bread with tomato) is considered one of the simplest, well-loved, and widely eaten tapas in Spain. It’s essentially toasted bread garnished with fresh garlic and tasty, ripe tomato, sprinkled with a helping of olive oil and salt. It is said that Pan con Tomate is best enjoyed during summertime, using the ripest tomatoes and young, sweet-smelling garlic.
Pimientos de Padrón – Primarily grown in the Galician town of Padrón, this small green pepper might not seem much, but certainly packs a punch in the yumminess department. Pimientos de Padrón peppers are cooked over a fire with a bit of oil, sprinkled with salt, and then typically served with cheese. Writing for SeriousEats.com, Joshua Bousel described Pimientos de Padrón’s taste as fruity, fresh, and salty, and remarked that it can go with almost any meal available.
(Source: Vegetarian Dishes in Spain, About.com)