I love tapas! And as a vegetarian or vegan, you can enjoy many of these small Spanish dishes. I’m a vegetarian myself and when we’re in Spain I order tapas almost every day. So over the years I’ve gained quite some knowledge about good vegetarian and vegan tapas. On this page I’m sharing the recipes for, what are in my eyes, the best vegan and vegetarian tapas.
Did you know that the word ‘tapa’ is Spanish for ‘lid’ or ‘top’? It’s because you used to get a ‘tapa’ on a small plate to cover up your drink so that flies couldn’t fall in. Nowadays your tapas get served on a regular plate, but it’s a nice story to tell at a tapas party!
Not all the tapas on this page are typical Spanish dishes, but all the recipes are inspired by tapas that I had at restaurants in Spain. I’ve had burrata at quite a few restaurants in Barcelona, even though it’s an Italian cheese. So the recipes on this page are a mix of typical Spanish dishes like Patatas Bravas and recipes from other countries that I had at Spanish tapas restaurants.
If you’re organising a vegetarian or vegan tapas night: this is the page you’ll need!
Pimientes de Padron
Pimientes de Padron, or Padron peppers, are a tasty vegan tapa. Padron is a region in Northwestern Spain and this variety of peppers come from there. This dish is super easy to make as long as you can get your hands on these Padron peppers. I got mine at a wholesale store where restaurants buy their foods. But some big supermarkets might have them too.
All you need to do to make this vegan tapas dish is warm some oil in a wok or frying pan and fry the peppers until they start to color black. This will take around 4 minutes. Sprinkle them with sea salt before serving.
Probably my favorite tapas dish is Patatas Bravas. The funny thing is, that this potato dish with its typical sauce, is prepared in many different ways. Almost every restaurant will serve another version of these potatoes. The main thing that they have in common is the spicy sauce. The Patatas Bravas sauce is a red-orange sauce made from tomatoes.
Some big stores will sell Patatas Bravas sauce, but you can also easily make it yourself. Sauté an onion and some garlic in a saucepan with some olive oil. Add a can of tomato cubes and flavor with paprika, chili and a little bit of sugar. Let it simmer for 15 minutes. Blend with a stick blender to create a smooth sauce.
Parboil some potatoes and cut them in chunks. Fry them in oil for about 8 minutes. Serve them with the spicy tomato sauce. Some restaurants will also add aioli to this dish (please note, that then it’s not vegan anymore).
Pan con Tomate
Pan con Tomate (bread with tomato) is a typical Catalan tapas dish. This grilled bread with tomatoes is great as a starter when you’re going to order mains as well. But it’s also a great addition to a dinner made solely from tapas. To make Pan con Tomate, cut open a ciabatta bread (make sure that the bread is vegan) and brush it with olive oil. But it on a sheet in your oven grill and bake for a few minutes until golden brown. When it’s done, sprinkle with finely cut garlic. Grate the tomatoes over the large holes of a grater. Discard the peels. Add some sea salt to the tomato mixture and top the bread with the tomatoes.
I often order Garlic Mushrooms when I’m ordering tapas, to prevent myself from only eating carbs and adding some vegetables. To prepare this vegan tapa, just clean some mushrooms and finely chop some garlic. Warm them all in olive oil in a frying pan.
The Spanish Manchego cheese is such a tasty but friendly cheese. Everyone loves it. All you need to do to serve this dish at your vegetarian tapas party is buy a good Manchego cheese and cut it in triangles.
As I said, Burrata is an Italian cheese, it’s like mozzarella but creamier. But I saw a burrata dish on many tapas restaurants in Spain. There was one Burrata dish that I really liked in particular, I had it at restaurant Jardinet d’Aribau in Eixample in Barcelona. This recipe is inspired by the one I had there. The most important thing is to have a bood burrata. Serve the burrata on a deep plate with rocket, sun-dried tomatoes, Grana Padano cheese and basil-olive oil.
Grilled Provoleta is also a vegetarian tapas dish that’s made with an Italian cheese. You need Italian Provolone cheese for this dish, that originated in Argentina.
Put some olive oil in an ovenproof dish, put the cheese on top and bake under a broiler until the edges are golden-brown. It’s delicious if you top it with some pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. Serve with bread.
Nachos con Todo
Nachos con Todo literally means ‘nachos with everything’, and although this sometimes means with minced meat, you can also make vegetarian Nachos con Todo. Put some tortilla chips in an oven-proof dish and top with grated cheese. Put the nachos in the oven for 10 minutes.
In the meantime you can cube an avocado, a tomato and a red onion and finely chop some coriander. Top the nachos con todo with all these ingredients when it comes out of the oven.
They taste great with some guacamole and/or sour cream.
A Spanish Tortilla is different than a Mexican tortilla. It’s not the flatbread but a dish made with sliced potatoes and eggs. So it’s more like an omelette with potatoes. You can make it with just eggs and potatoes, but mostly it’s also made with onion. To make it, thinly slice the potatoes and the onion (it’s really easy if you have a mandoline). Fry them in a baking pan until light-brown. Add some whisked eggs. The Spanish Tortilla is done when the eggs are set.
The Spanish Tortilla also tastes great with some truffle.
Croquetas are sometimes made with meat-ragout, but you can also make a vegetarian version with cheese. They’re not super easy to make so if you don’t like spending a lot of time in the kitchen, you can see if you can find a store-bought alternative. If you want to make them yourself, you can find a recipe here.
Tap here for my favorite vegetarian food spots in Barcelona.
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