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What Are Vegetarian Tapas?

By Lee Johnson
Updated May 17, 2024
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Vegetarian tapas are small Spanish dishes that do not include any meat and are therefore suitable for vegetarians. Many tapas dishes are suitable for vegetarians, including patatas bravas, fig and olive tapenade, and olivada. Simpler dishes such as bruschetta are also suitable for vegetarians, and are often served alongside taps dishes. Many vegetarian tapas dishes are also suitable for vegans, as they don’t include any meat by-products such as cheese.

People who do not eat meat and subsist primarily on vegetable and fruit dishes are referred to as vegetarians. This dietary choice is often a decision that has been made regarding the ethical implications of killing and possibly even mistreating animals in order to eat them. Vegetarians believe that killing animals to eat their meat is unnecessary and even cruel. Vegans are more extreme vegetarians, who don’t even eat animal by-products such as eggs, milk or cheese.

Tapas are small dishes popular in Spain that are generally around a quarter of the size of an ordinary meal. Traditionally, a “tapa” is a lid, usually a slice of ham or cheese that is served on top of a glass of drink. In the past, many bars in Spain served tapas for free, but this is becoming less and less common, and patrons now generally have to pay for tapas dishes. Tapas can be eaten as a full meal or as a snack between meals. Common tapas dishes include paella, croquettes and Spanish baked prawns.

Variety is integral to tapas, and many different dishes are available. If tapas are eaten as a starter or as a main course, diners will generally order several dishes and eat a small portion of each one. In Spain, the types of tapas that are on offer are generally related to the specific part of the country; for example, on the coast, seafood tapas is more common. Vegetarian tapas dishes are available throughout the country and at most tapas restaurants outside of Spain.

Some different vegetarian tapas dishes include Spanish green beans and tomatoes, patatas bravas, and spinach with chickpeas. Other common tapas dishes such as Spanish omelet are also suitable for vegetarians. Patatas bravas is a roasted potato dish with a hot tomato sauce poured over the top, and spinach with chickpeas is a salad-style dish popular in Seville. A Spanish omelet can have many different ingredients, but the most common ones are potato, zucchini and green pepper.

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