Vegetarian Tapas to Enjoy on a Trip to Madrid

Vegetarian Tapas to Enjoy on a Trip to Madrid

At first glance, vegetarians traveling in Madrid may be concerned about what appears to be a very meat-centric cuisine. Pork, chicken and wild fowl, lamb, beef and other meats do feature predominately in many traditional Madrid dishes. Yet there are plenty of opportunities for vegetarians and health conscious travelers to enjoy delicious and flavorful plant-based foods, too.

One of the best strategies for enjoying vegetarian cuisine in Madrid is to take advantage of vegetarian tapas. The majority of tapas in Madrid do feature meat, but there are plenty of delicious vegetarian tapas to choose from, as well.

Vegetarian tapas often feature eggs and cheese as well as vegetables, so if you are following a vegan diet or you are lactose intolerant, you will need to take extra care when ordering. There are also many tapas that feature neither cheese or eggs, and you can sample a wide variety of flavorful, fresh tapas that are free of animal products and dairy during your visit.

Patatas Bravas (Photo by yosoynuts) Two types of vegetarian tapas you will encounter are corquetas de patata and patatas bravas. Corquetas de pratata are breaded, deep-fried potato croquettes, and patatas bravas are fried potatoes. Patatas bravas are often served with a delicious tomato sauce and garlic mayonnaise on the side. If you don’t normally indulge in fried foods, consider that these are relatively small, “tapas” portions of food. Plus, you can work off the extra fat walking around Madrid.

Other vegetarian tapas you will want to taste feature whatever grilled vegetables are fresh and in season. Pisto manchego is an outstanding stew made of zucchini, bell peppers, onions and tomatos. Escalivada is a grilled eggplant tapas featuring onions and bell peppers. Champinones al ajillo and alcachofas al ajillo are two other vegetarian tapas to try: these are garlic-sauteed mushrooms and artichokes, respectively.

You may be surprised to find one of your favorite tapas is quite simply aceitunas – olives. A truly tasty dish of olives is a surprisingly satisfying “tapas,” and you will probably find yourself looking forward to trying different bars’ olives at least once a day.

Bar Magister - Madrid, Spain (Photo by Ruth L) If you find yourself at a bar with a very limited selection of vegetarian tapas, you can always make a special request. Many tapas bars and restaurants will prepare special tapas for you – especially if you frequent the establishment more than once and stay a while.