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If you are thinking of relocating to the Costa del Sol and you’re a vegetarian, you may be concerned what options there are for you. Spain is a nation of meat eaters and the vegetarian revolution has been slow to start but it is finally gaining traction.
This is proved by this month’s VegFest, a one day festival in Fuengirola on the 14th of April. There are stands with vegan friendly products, services and of course loads of delicious vegetarian and vegan food. There’s also live music and activities for a party atmosphere.
Another great event for vegetarians is the Feria de Arte Sano in San Pedro which is taking place on the 28th and 29th of July. This is an alternative festival with lots of great activities and almost all the food on offer is vegetarian.
Year round, there are now a growing number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants and there’s a great list of the most highly rated vegetarian restaurants on the Costa del Sol on TripAdvisor.
Also, don’t despair that you won’t be able to enjoy Spanish food, there are lots of great options which don’t contain meat. Here are our top recommendations –
Gazpacho – This classic chilled tomato soup makes a great start to a meal on a hot, sunny day. Don’t be alarmed if it’s served in a glass, almost like a shot – it’s delicious.
Salads – There are lots of lovely fresh salads available in every restaurant. The “tomates aliñados” make the most of the delicious Spanish tomatoes by simply dressing them in olive oil, garlic, oregano and salt. Most restaurants offer tomato and mozzerela salads too which are always yummy. If you don’t eat fish, please bear in mind that an “ensalada mixta” (mixed salads) almost always contains tuna, so tell your waiter to leave it out and perhaps supplement with avocado or cheese.
Vegetable Paella – There are some really good vegetable paellas out there and there are also plenty with fish and seafood if you eat that.
Berenjenas con miel – Thinly sliced aubergine, deep fried and drizzled with dark honey. Sounds strange, but done well, it is delicious.
Patatas bravas – This is just one of many great potato dishes in Spain, but one of our favourites. Cubes of potatoes, deep fried and served covered in a spicy sauce – yummy.
Olives – While not a meal, the olives here are great and normally come free with a drink, so make great nibbles.
Pisto – This rich tomato and vegetable dish is a little bit like ratatouille and is often served with a fried egg on top and makes a delicious and healthy light lunch.
Manchego cheese – While others enjoy ham, a plate of the famous Manchego cheese is the best option and available everywhere!
So as you can see, while being a vegetarian isn’t as widespread here in Spain than in other parts of the world, there are still plenty of options to enjoy. It’s a trend that is growing in popularity, so we expect more vegetarian and vegan restaurants to pop up and restaurants to get more vegetarian friendly. The amazing produce and the ability to grow your own in our fabulous climate is another reason why it’s easy to live healthily and meat free if you wish.
So don’t let being a vegetarian put you off your move to Spain, we love it here and we’re sure you will too. Check out our 5 reasons to live on the Costa del Sol to see why!