In the last couple of weeks I’ve seen an increase in the number of future pilgrims asking about the availability of vegetarian or vegan dishes along the Camino de Santiago. They worry that it will be hard for them to find suitable food. And it’s understandable.
Obviously, you need adequate nourishment.
And, although it’s true that the Mediterranean diet includes a lot of vegetables and pulses, it is also true that Spain is not the most vegetarian-friendly country. It’s common for an ensalada to have tuna; and a “vegetable sandwich” with either tuna or a slice of ham is a classic (and nobody thinks it’s odd!).
Things are changing and it’s not unusual now to find restaurantes vegetarianos or veganos. But they are not available everywhere. They are more common in the bigger cities. But the Camino goes through a lot of smaller towns and rural areas. So, is it possible to do the Camino as a vegetariano/a* or vegano/a*?
The short answer is: YES! It’s possible.
You have two main choices:
- You can buy food and snacks from the local fruterías and supermercados (see Shopping in the Camino for the pronunciation of these words). Some albergues have kitchens where you can prepare your own meal. You just need to find out if the place where you are staying has such facilities.
- You can also eat out and enjoy the local cuisine, even in the smaller towns. And it’s probably easier than you think.
There are many Spanish dishes that are naturally vegetariano/vegano or can be easily adapted (In this article you can find a long list of Spanish dishes that are suitable for vegans: https://www.thenomadicvegan.com/the-ultimate-vegan-guide-to-spain/). You just need to know a few Spanish words and phrases to make sure you get the right food:
Soy vegetariano / Soy vegetariana or Soy vegano / Soy vegana
I’m a vegetarian or I’m a vegan.
*If you are a male, you will refer to yourself as vegetariano/vegano. If you are a female, you will use vegetariana/vegana instead.
- You can also specify the foods you don’t eat by saying No como… (I don’t eat…) + anything you need to mention, such as carne (meat), pescado (fish), huevos (eggs), lácteos (dairy) or queso (cheese). If you have food allergies, get more info here.
- If you are not sure about the ingredients of any particular dish, you can ask ¿Lleva carne, huevo…? (Does it have… meat, egg…?).
- If a dish is mostly vegan, but it has some egg or cheese, for instance, you can still order it and ask them to serve it sin huevo (without egg) or sin queso (without cheese).
- You could even take advantage of the menú del día. I know I said in this previous post that the second course is normally pescado or carne. No problem! You can explain that you are vegetariano/vegano and ask if you could take dos primeros (two first courses) instead of a primero and a segundo. Most places wouldn’t have a problem with that.
Do you have any experience as a vegetariano/a or vegano/a in the Camino de Santiago? You can share it in the comments!
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