Apr 28 2023

Legumes, a Spanish Cuisine Staple and its Recipes

Spain is synonymous with premium pork and seafood, so sometimes the legumes can get overlooked. Let’s take a look at these highly popular plant-based products and their uses in Spanish cuisine

Spain is synonymous with premium pork products and seafood, but that can mean we overlook the plant-based options. This includes legumes, which have been staple foods in Spanish cuisine for centuries! And with their impressive nutritional profile, it’s no surprise why. So let’s take a look at how they show up in dishes, and how we can incorporate them into our vegetarian - and vegan - recipes.

Spain’s Mediterranean climate makes it ideal for growing kidney beans, faba beans, garbanzo beans and lentils - these have been farmed for centuries and many products have their own protected DO regions. However, the preparation of legumes has undergone a modernization in the last century.

During the civil war era in Spain, women began working outside of the home, so there was less time to prepare dried beans, lentils and garbanzo beans. This led to a flourishing market for pre-soaked, pre-cooked legumes, as well as preserved and canned legumes. The popularity of these products remains strong today in Spain. Whether you prepare your legumes from scratch, or get conveniently prepared ingredients, here’s what to make:

Traditional Spanish cuisine dish that is eaten mainly during the Holy Week holidays. Chickpea, cod, spinach and egg soup. Vigil Potaje. Food photography

Potaje de Garbanzos y Espinacas - Spain is among the world’s top five spinach producing nations, so it’s no wonder this superfood pops up in various forms. Here, the traditional garbanzo bean and spinach stew from Andalusia combines the aforementioned with almonds, tomato and garlic.

Fresh lentil soup with potato and carrots

Lentejas Veganas - The traditional lentejas con chorizo gets a vegan shakeup. Lentil stew minus the chorizo but with carrot, onion, bell pepper, tomato and the key flavor - smoked paprika from Pimentón de la Vera DOP- we promise you won’t miss the meat!

Spanish Asturian fabada in a white plate, spoon on wooden table

Fabada Asturiana Vegana - Another example of how much savory flavor you can get from beans, the vegan version of the fabada Asturiana includes faba and kidney beans and garlic, with herbs and spices such as bay leaves, cumin and more of that smoky paprika from La Vera! That said, the meaty version is also legume-packed for a naturally flexitarian option.

With the help of these recipes, maybe it’s time to put some more legumes in your life. A great source of protein and fiber, they also have the ability to really deliver on flavor in Spanish cuisine