When it comes to Spain, travelers everywhere fall in love with the scenery, culture, and of course, the food! Tapas are a quintessential part of Spanish food culture and are served with alcoholic drinks like wine or beer. Although a country not known for vegetarian or vegan cuisine, we’ve come up with a list of tasty Spanish vegan tapas recipes that are easy to make at home.
Just because you don’t eat meat doesn’t mean you have to miss out on this delicious Spanish tradition! Vegan Spanish tapas dishes are on the rise, as more and more travelers choose to abstain from animal products. These meat-free options are just as delicious and are the perfect way to spend an afternoon appreciating Spanish cuisine. Many of these recipes I learned while living in Spain too!
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What Are Vegan Tapas
Tapas is the Spanish verb ‘to cover’, and originally started as a small slice of bread, meat, or cheese to cover the opening of a wine or pint glass in bars to keep insects out of the drink. Over time, these ‘covers’ have evolved into fully-fledged bar snacks that are ordered alongside a drink to keep rumbling stomachs at bay. Tapas originated in Andalusia in the cities of Granada and Cordoba.
Vegan tapas are becoming more popular, and there are entire restaurants dedicated to these delicious Spanish snacks free of animal products. If you’re visiting Spain, the main cities will have plenty of options for anyone looking to enjoy vegan tapas dishes without breaking their diet.
While Spanish tapas are usually quite meat and dairy-heavy (think chorizo, Jamon (ham), and rich Manchego cheese), it is entirely possible to find vegan tapas dishes in restaurants and bars! Traditional vegan tapas ideas include stuffed olives, fresh bread, or the incredibly popular patatas bravas. If you’re not sure whether something is vegan – just ask!
As with everything good in life, the best vegan tapas ideas are the simplest. Sauteed garlic mushrooms, tangy marinated carrots, and fried Padron peppers are amongst some of the most popular choices for vegan Spanish tapas, and can quickly and easily be made at home.
Learn more about Spanish food here:
How To Make Vegan Tapas At Home
Vegan tapas are incredibly easy to make at home and are a great way to elevate afternoon drinks with friends or family. Most ingredients for Spanish vegan tapas can be found in grocery stores or on Amazon, although you may need to visit a specialty bulk-food retailer for certain spices.
If you want something with a meaty, smoky flavor, an easy vegan tapas idea is vegan chorizo! Made from wheat gluten and soy mince, this vegan chorizo substitute is made similarly to seitan and has the same chewy texture as real meat.
Most Spanish vegan tapas don’t work with meat substitutes, and keep vegetables as the main feature of the dish. Skip the potato chips, and add filling tapas ideas like Canarian wrinkled potatoes to your next social gathering.
The best part of Spanish vegan tapas is how easily they can be tailored to your tastes. If you want something with a bit of kick, Spanish-style spiced almonds are a perfect picking food that is perfect accompanying a beer or glass of wine. Not a fan of almonds? Peanuts or macadamias make a great substitute and can be found at any grocery store.
Still, needing some inspiration? We’ve rounded up the best vegan tapas recipes for you to enjoy – all that’s needed is the wine!
The Best Vegan Tapas Recipes
Spanish Style Marinated Olives
Marinated olives are a great party nibble. They are best when made ahead, which makes life a little easier when you are hosting the gathering. This is probably the most classic and easy-to-find vegan tapa in Spain. Although there are very few places today in Spain where the tapa is free with a drink, don’t be surprised when a bartender offers you a bit of chips, nuts, or a small bowl of olives. Often they are actually free! But, you can also make Spanish marinated olives at home.
Rosemary Roasted Almonds
These Rosemary Roasted Almonds are vegan and perfect to serve at a Spanish tapas party! They’re toasted with smoked paprika and lemon zest.
This recipe reminds me of the almonds we ate straight from a market vendor in Malaga. They were toasted and coasted in herbs. I can also get these from the gourmet food stall at my local supermarket in Ireland. But, they are also easy to make at home and a perfect vegan addition to a tapas night at home.
Spanish Spiced Almonds
A small bowl of these salty, smoky Spanish Spiced Almonds tapas, known as Almendras Fritas in Spain, makes a great shared starter or a happy hour keto snack. Serve these spiced nuts at a tapas party! Delightfully addictive! They are a slightly different version of the rosemary almonds above.
Berenjenas Con Miel
This berenjenas con miel recipe is a homemade version of classic Spanish tapa from the Andalusia region. Spanish fried eggplant with honey is a perfect starter, tapa, or even snack with the perfect blend of savory and sweet. This vegetarian tapas recipe can also be easily made vegan as well. In fact, miel technically is more of a sugary molasses than honey and is what is often used for this tapas recipe. It’s another one that reminds me of our visit to the food markets in Malaga.
Pimientos De Padron
This Padron peppers vegan tapa recipe is an easy-to-make classic Spanish tapas recipe with only 3 ingredients. We share two different Padron pepper recipes including a stovetop version and an Air Fryer version. We make these all the time at home because they are one of the tapas I miss the most from when we lived in Spain!
Spanish Garlic Mushrooms
This recipe for champinones al ajillo is a traditional Spanish mushroom tapas recipe that I learned when living in Spain. With only a handful of ingredients, it’s an easy-to-make vegan tapa that is a perfect snack or addition to a night of Spanish tapas. This also has to be one of the most popular tapas recipes on our site! You can even make them ahead of time and just reheat before serving, either on the stove top or by warming them in the oven.
Garlic Mushrooms And Asparagus
This is a slightly different various of the Spanish garlic mushrooms recipe above. This simple combination of mushrooms and asparagus was inspired by the popular Spanish tapas dish, champiñones al ajillo. The original recipe uses only mushrooms, embellished with lots of garlic and parsley. Adding asparagus makes it not only more substantial but gives it color and heft as well.
Vegetarian Spanish White Beans Stew
This is one of our favorite, easy-to-make Spanish recipes at home. This Andalusian stew can be prepared as a tapas size or a main course for two people. Made with garlic olive oil and white beans, it’s super easy and perfect for a mid-week meal.
Papas Arrugadas – Canary Island Potatoes
Papas arrugadas, or Canarian wrinkly potatoes, are a staple of the diet across the Canary Islands in Spain. This Canarian potatoes recipe is easy to make at home with only 3 ingredients. If you are looking for a vegetarian tapas recipe, you’ll love this one
Recipe Here – Potatoes
Recipe Here – Mojo Picon
Tangy Marinated Spanish Carrots
The first time we had this Spanish carrots recipe was at a tapas bar in Seville on quite a hot day. They were entirely refreshing. Zanahorías aliñadas is a marinated carrots recipe and a good way to use up a bag of carrots that have been sitting in the fridge. They also make a good side dish for any roasted meat or fish, or an easy-to-make-ahead addition to a tapas night.
Vegan Chorizo Recipe
With the rich flavor of smoked paprika and garlic, this Vegan Chorizo is so delicious and authentic tasting. Perfect to slice and enjoy with other vegan tapas.
FAQs – Spanish Vegan Tapas
Believe it or not, there are several types of tapas. The 3 most recognizable are cocas de picar, pinchos (pintxos), cazuelas. Cocas de picar are things like olives, potato chips, or nuts. Things you would share with others. Pinchos or pintxos in the Basque Country, are things like chorizo, meatballs, or Jamon. Lastly, cazuelas are small dishes of food. An example being migas.
There are hundreds of different types of tapas. And across Spain, you are going to find regional variations as well as those more popular than others. In no particular order, three of the most popular tapas in Spain are Tortilla Española (Spanish Omelette), Patatas Bravas and Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach with Chickpeas).