When you think of Spanish cooking, the first thing that comes to mind most likely isn’t vegetarian cuisine. Instead, you might imagine the grilled, smoked and spiced meats and seafood that are easy to find on the menu at restaurants from Spain. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find many dishes that are not only plant-based, but fresh and ideal for summer. Let’s take a look!
Cold soups - We all know by now that the most satisfying way to cool down in summer is with a cold serving of gazpacho - made with Spain’s salad vegetables of tomato, bell pepper and garlic, seasoned with a dash of Extra Virgin olive oil and DOP Vinagre de Jerez - sherry vinegar. Equally moreish soupy counterparts include the thicker salmorejo, or ajoblanco - plus almonds for texture.
Spanish sauces - Pep your plant-based BBQ party with some tasty sauces from Spain. Bravas sauce, of patatas bravas fame, is a slightly spicy tomato-based sauce with DOP Pimentón de la Vera - using both smoked and spicy paprikas. Romesco sauce is blended with pre-roasted ingredients - namely tomato, bell pepper, garlic, hazelnuts, almonds - and pairs perfectly with grilled vegetables. Aioli is Spain’s iconic garlic mayo, and mojo sauces from the Canary Islands feature herbs and spices - great for dipping just about anything, not just chips!
Spain’s veggie dishes - Lentils don’t just go with chorizo you know! Spain’s legume salads are an excellent option for the summer months. Or try the escalivada - a Catalonian dish of roasted vegetables (aubergine, bell pepper, onion) served cold in strips, with a drizzle of EVOO. Southern Andalusians offer a sweet and savory tapa of berenjena con miel - slices of seasonal aubergine that are crunchy deep-fried and topped with honey.
This BBQ/picnic season, put some pizazz into your plant-based by making Spanish dips and dishes your veggie options.