Now traditional Spanish cuisine isn’t particularly known for being vegan friendly. When I think of Spanish food, what comes to mind are chorizo sausages, seafood paella and roast piglets. Whilst options are definitely improving in some Spanish cities like Barcelona, things haven’t changed much in Lanzarote.
Thinking about it, I’m not that surprised. Being a fairly small island, with a limited area of suitable arable land probably means that there’s a need to import fresh food like fruits and vegetables. As beans and other legumes don’t really make up a large part of traditional Spanish cuisine, these vegan staples hardly ever make an appearance on menus, whether as part of another dish or standalone.
Speaking to my surfing instructor who coincidentally also happened to be vegan, she confirmed that good quality fresh vegetables were pretty hard to come by on the island. Nuts aren’t particularly affordable either, so really, your best bet is to just remove the animal products from vegetarian options in restaurants. Pizza for instance, is widely available throughout the island, and is simple enough to be customised to your needs.
Other options include vegetarian paella (check that they don’t use butter), veggie pasta without the cheese and, well, salads! One of the local specialities are Canarian wrinkly potatoes, which are small new potatoes boiled in salt water, before being baked in an oven until wrinkly (leaving a salt crust on the potato skin). The potatoes are served with “mojo”, a sauce made with olive oil, peppers, garlic and other spices.
The best restaurant I visited with decent vegetarian and vegan-specific options was Puerta Verde, a restaurant in the Haria region. Wanting to get a bit of protein in, I went with the tofu “bolognaise” pasta which was an absolute dream (who knew that one could start getting cravings for tofu!).
Another vegetarian and vegan restaurant I visited was the Blooming Cactus in Puerto del Carmen. I ordered some of the falafels there to start, and the soya mince for my main, and whilst they were fairly good, I found them a little too salty for my liking. Still, it was nice to have so many options to choose from. 🙂
As I visited in summer, fruit was fairly abundant and well-priced (when compared with London!). I made this my staple, gorging on as much of the sweet peaches, nectarines, oranges and plums I could get my hands on. I wasn’t brave enough to try the local cactus fruit, but let me know if you have!
One of the “accidentally vegan” foods I enjoyed snacking on were the Chips Ahoy XL cookies. Ah man, I haven’t had Chips Ahoy in YEARS (they’re not readily available in the UK) and the normal ones are not vegan, so this was a truly special find. 🙂
Finally, I’m going to end this post with the other Spanish product I was massively in love with – Choco Flakes cereal! I forgot to take a picture of my box before scoffing the lot, so here’s a stock picture as you guys are going to want to look for these in the grocery store. 😉
Are you on a plant-based diet or vegan? Let me know what you though about this post. Suggestions, thoughts and criticisms are all welcome!