Best traditional dishes from 23 countries in Europe that happen to be vegetarian

Experiencing local cuisine is a fundamental part of any journey as a traveller. Sampling traditional foods link us to the local culture and traditions of the country we are visiting. Yet if you are vegetarian, immersing yourself in national food culture can sometimes prove to be challenging. To help you out, I listed the best local, traditional dishes from Europe that happen to be vegetarian.

Every European country has its own national cuisine, and an inseparable part of travelling is trying local dishes. At least for me, it is an integral part of the travelling experience. And if you think that being vegetarian can make it difficult you will be surprised, because there are many traditional dishes from Europe that happen to be vegetarian.

In most European touristic cities, you will find vegan or vegetarian restaurants or dedicated vegetarian menus. Yet, immersing yourself in local cuisine while staying true to your ethical beliefs and lifestyle can be challenging.

Historically, many European traditional dishes often have roots in poverty and often meat was eaten on special occasions due to political, economic or religious circumstances. So when it comes to local cuisine, you can find unique dishes, representing local culture and entirely vegetarian and often vegan.

So here I have for you a list of best (in my humble opinion) traditional dishes from Europe that happen to be vegetarian – ready for your upcoming Europen voyage of discovery.

Albania’s traditional vegetarian dishes

Albania’s cuisine is rooted in the ancient Ottoman Empire with strong Mediterranean flavours. Albania isn’t most known for its food. Yet the food there is delicious boasting fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses, olive oil, olives and all kinds of fresh local produce. Albania’s traditional dishes that are also vegetarian include:

  • Fergese – A vegetarian dish made with tomatoes, onions, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, and yoghurt. This dish is more often served as a side dish but can be easily eaten as a deep or a meal on its own. The vegetables are all stewed together and then combined with a feta-yoghurt that adds a creaminess to the dish. It is one of Albania’s national dishes.
  • Qifqi (vegetable risotto balls) – Those rice balls similar to Italian Arancini are one of the few truly Vegetarian (at its root) dishes you will find in the Balkan States. Those risotto balls are flavoured with herbs, especially mint which gives them its distinct flavour.
  • Speca me gjize – One of the most colourful and tasty foods of Albania. Yellow, orange, green or red peppers are stuffed with rice, cottage cheese, and spices before being baked into the oven.
  • Burek or Börek – A family of baked filled pastries made of a thin flaky dough such as phyllo or yufka, typically filled with meat but also stuffed with any number of filling including with vegetarian stuffing like spinach and ricotta for example. It is found in the cuisines of various Balkan countries, and many of those countries claim it as its national dish. The recipe for burek was developed in Serbia in the 15th century. The recipe originates from Turkey. Since then, burek spread from the Southern Serbia, Kosovo and North Macedonia to the rest of former Yugoslavia with various types of this pie found in all Balkan countries
Burek or Börek - Traditional Balkan stuffed phyllo pastry
Burek or Börek – Traditional Balkan stuffed phyllo pastry

Armenia’s traditional vegetarian dishes

Although Caucasian cuisine is associated with high-calorie meat dishes, in Armenia, you will find influences from the Mediterranean and the Middle East cuisine. As a result, finding a delicious vegetarian dishes will be surprisingly easy. Armenian cuisine features locally grown fresh ingredients that bring out a distinguished and unforgettable taste. Armenia is one of the easiest places to find traditional dishes from Europe that happen to be vegetarian.

  • Pasus Tolma (Stuffed cabbage leaves) – Traditional fasting Armenian dish with stuffing made of seven different grains – chickpea, bean, lentil, cracked wheat, pea, rice and maize. It is a vegan and very delicious meal that is very popular during the festive season.
  • Ailazan –  A vegetable stew made from potatoes, aubergines, bell pepper, green beans, and tomatoes. Vegetables are laid in layers in a pot and stewed for an hour. It can be served as an independent dish, as well as a side dish. It Is an ancient dish dating back to the 19th century. Definitely worth a try when visiting Armenia.
  • Ghapama – This Moorish dish from Armenia had to make this list as this is so the cherished by Armenians that it has its very own song. Ghapama is a butternut pumpkin, scooped out and stuffed with cooked rice, dried fruit, raisins, chopped nuts, cinnamon, sugar or honey, and then baked until tender. Easily the most popular vegetarian dish in the country served often at weddings and New Year.
  • Itch or Eech (Armenian Bulgur Salad) –  Is a salad similar to the Lebanese tabbouleh. A refreshing and delicious grain salad made by sautéeing garlic, onions, green pepper, and tomatoes. Ingredients are then mixed with cooked bulgur and drizzled with lemon juice and topped with green onion and fresh parsley.
Armenian Bulgur Salad
Armenian Bulgur Salad

Austria’s traditional vegetarian dishes

Austrian cuisine can be very meat-heavy and is most famous for its meat schnitzels and sausages. Austrian cuisine food culture is intertwined with that of Germany, Hungary, and other nearby countries and a distinct difference in some of the most typical dishes can be found based on region. Majority of vegetarian Austrian dishes will be dumplings, noodles or so Knödels.

  • Knödel (Austrian dumpling) – Is a tennis ball-sized dumpling filled with all sorts of stuffing both sweet and savoury. It will be easy to find a vegetarian variation of that dish with most popular non-meat stuffings being savoury spinach or sweet apricot. Spinatknödel (Spinach dumpling) for instance is a dumpling from Tyrol. It is usually stuffed with leftover stale bread, which is combined with a combination of spinach, eggs, butter, garlic or onions, and cheese, preferably parmesan. Dumplings are traditionally drizzled with melted butter and sprinkled with grated cheese.
  • Käsespätzle (Cheese noodles) – This is the Austrian version of macaroni & cheese and is by far the best thing to eat in Austria. Spatzle is a soft egg noodle, and this dish comes mixed with a generous amount of melted cheese, usually Emmenthal or Gruyere, and is then topped with crispy onions and chives.
Käsespätzle (Cheese noodles)
Käsespätzle (Cheese noodles)

Bulgaria’s traditional vegetarian dishes

In Bulgaria restaurants serving traditional food are called “mehana”. The word has a Persian origin, and it translates as “house of wine”. Although traditional Bulgarian dishes are meat-heavy like in many Balkan countries, you can find a few vegetarian options.

  • Sirene (Bulgarian white cheese) – Not a dish on its own yet you cannot talk about Bulgarian food without mentioning Sirene. It is a  local Feta style brined cheese and Bulgarians put it on nearly everything.
  • Sirene po Shopsky – Is a Sirene cheese baked in a clay pot with tomatoes and eggs. It looks similar to Shakshuka yet the star of the dish is definitely Sirene. It is a simple dish yet amazingly delicious.
  • Tarator – This is a traditional Bulgarian soup served cold and popular during hot summer months. Tarator is made of yoghurt, cucumbers, garlic, sometimes walnuts, dill, oil (often sunflower) and water and it can be served with ice.
  • Shopska Salad – This salad is a fresh combination of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and topped with, you guessed it – Sirene cheese. It is Bulgaria’s internationally-renowned salad and true classic.
Shopska Salad
Shopska Salad

Croatia’s traditional vegetarian dishes

Croatian regions are very diverse and its traditional food varies a lot from one region to another. Possibly many dishes found in one Croatian region aren’t even known in another region. Here are some of the Croatian traditional dishes that happened to be vegetarian.

  • Zapečeni strukli – Vegetarian dish mainly served in households across Hrvatsko Zagorje and Zagreb regions in the north of Croatia. It is a dough made with flour, oil, lukewarm water, and salt, baked with the filling consisting of fresh cow’s cheese, eggs, butter, salt, and a bit of sugar.
  • Krpice sa zeljem (Cabbage with pasta) –  Traditional speciality of home cooking in Croatia, this dish is traditionally prepared in the country’s northern parts. It is made by combining cabbage, onions, and seasonings with traditional Croatian type of pasta known as krpice or flekice.
  • Blitva na lešo – Is a traditional dish from the Dalmatian region of Croatia. It consists of blanched swiss chard combined with boiled potato cubes, salt, olive oil, and sometimes garlic – very simple and tasty dish.
  • Fuži – In Istria region of Croatia, the most famous traditional dish is homemade pasta called Fuži. This pasta is often mixed with a variety of sauces as well as meat but very often is also served with white truffles that are a particular delicacy of the region. It is a real jewel of the area.

Traditional vegetarian dishes from Cyprus

Cultural and social life is Cyprus circles around food and is deeply rooted in having a great time at the dinner table. Cyprus cuisine was influenced by Greeks but also by Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians, and you will find a combination of dishes derived from all those cultures, including some of the traditional vegetarian plates. Most popular traditional vegetarian dishes from Cyprus include:

  • Halloumi – Famous Cypriot Halloumi is almost always served in traditional taverns as an appetizer. It is also served, mostly grilled, as a snack along with nuts, dried apricots, and olive bread dipped in virgin olive oil during wine degustation.
  • Briam – Is a dish Similar to French Ratatouille yet with the addition of potatoes. This dish originated in Grecce but is very popular in Cyprus. Sliced vegetables like potatoes, zucchini, red onions, and tomatoes are roasted in the clay pot, flavoured with oregano, parsley, and fresh garlic and drizzled with a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil. Simple and delicious.
  • Cypriot meze – Meze type of dish is typical to the Mediterranean region and is very similar in concept to Spanish tapas. This type of dining experience consists of 30 small plates of dips, vegetables as well as meat and fish dishes. I really like this way of dinning. You can have small samples of many different dishes, but it also has this Mediterranian relaxed feel. Amongst vegetarian meze plates, you can find Eggplant salad, Grilled mushrooms, roasted red peppers, Grilled halloumi, Falafel, Pickled cauliflower, salads and more. All this accompanied by delicious dips like Hummus, Taramosalata or Tzatziki. True Cypriot feast!
  • Kolokouthkia me ta afka (Zucchini with eggs) – This simple dish of fried zucchinis mixed with eggs can be surprisingly delicious. Ingredients are fried in pure olive oil, simply seasoned, and the result is surprisingly delicious. This recipe was made by Cypriot housewives when they had time to cook – one of those moments when low expectations are met with great happiness.

Traditional vegetarian dishes from Czechia

Pork, beef and duck make up most of the country’s traditional cuisine, it is, however, totally possible to enjoy traditional Czech cuisine on a vegetarian diet. There is few tasty meatless traditional dishes and those include:

  • Kulajda – A popular soup starter in Czech cuisine. It’s a creamy soup prepared with mushrooms, potatoes, and poached eggs and garnished with dill.
  • Kuba (Barley with mushrooms) – This dish used to be a common, cheap meal among the poor but it was also popular dish consumed during Christmas. Today it is a popular dish served in many restaurants, and consists of cooked barley served with wild mushrooms and various herbs and spices.
  • Smažený sýr or smazak – It is literally fried cheese dish very a popular pub food amongst Czechs. This decadent treat can be found even in the most prestigious Czech restaurants. A thick slice of Edam or Hermelín cheese is coated in flour, egg and bread crumbs and deep-fried until golden. Most of the time, it is served with fried tartar sauce potatoes and a salad but can also be served as a burger between two slices of a bun.

Finland’s traditional food that happened to be vegetarian

Finns are loyal to their culinary roots representing seasonal ingredients, fresh, and simple but tasty dishes. Most Finnish dishes are simply seasoned with salt and pepper, and hardly any other seasoning is added. Finns are all about enjoying the true taste of the dishes, using pure ingredients from nature, and in a true north European manner – less is usually more. Here are the best Finnish traditional dishes that are also vegetarian.

  • Rosolli (Finnish beetroot salad) – A colourful and tasty salad that is especially popular during the festive season. The Rosoli salad is made of cooked and diced root vegetables which are chopped or boiled. All ingredients are mixed together and normally include boiled potatoes, carrots, boiled or pickled beets, chopped onions, chopped apples and pickled cucumbers cut into small pieces. Sometimes the hard-boiled egg is added as well. Salad is served with tangy cream sauce.
  • KARJALANPIIRAKKA (Karelian pies) – Originally from the Karelia these pastries are said to fit in your hand and melt in your mouth. It is a rye crust pastry filled with thick rice porridge and often eaten topped with munavoi – a made hard-boiled eggs and butter spread.
KARJALANPIIRAKKA (Karelian pies)
KARJALANPIIRAKKA (Karelian pies)

Traditional vegetarian dishes from France

French cuisine is very diverse and full of deliciousness therefore there is plenty of very tasty traditional French dishes that happen to be also vegetarian. Here are a few examples:

  • Quiche – Although the classic quiche Lorraine which contains ham don’t despair – there are also other varieties of quiches containing ingredients like leeks, mushrooms, courgettes, tomatoes, spinach and goat’s cheese.
  • Soupe à l’oignon (Onion soup) – Oh dear! One of the best dishes created – ever! A classic onion soup is made with caramelized onions, fresh thyme sprigs, crusty baguette slices topped with two types of melted cheese. Do check before ordering if the beef stock was used for the recipe. Unfortunately sometimes is.
  • Ratatouille – A vegan French classic. It consists of tender aromatic vegetables like zucchini, eggplant and peppers, seasoned with herbs and baked with olive oil. Topped with a poached egg is even better! Like many traditional vegetarian plates, it started as a poor man’s dish, but since ratatouille has found its way into everyone’s dinner tables as well as French restaurants of all calibre.
Dishes from Europe that happen to be vegetarian. Ratatouille - A vegan French classic.
Ratatouille – A vegan French classic.

Germany’s traditional vegetarian dishes

You would wonder if there is such a thing as a traditional German dish that is in fact, vegetarian. I wondered as well. It was challenging, I admit. But I managed to find a few tasty traditional German dishes that happen to be vegetarian.

  • Spargel (white asparagus) – Did you know that after sauerkraut, asparagus is Germany’s most famous vegetable? Every year during spring Germans go mad for asparagus. The most popular ways to eat white asparagus in Germany is as a soup or simply served with potatoes and Hollandaise sauce.
  • Semmelknödel mit Pilzen (Dumplings with creamy mushroom sauce) – As in Austria, the majority of vegetarian dishes in Germany will be various dumplings with the creamy mushroom sauce being the best.
  • Frankfurter Grüne Sauce – This is a cold creamy and refreshingly green sauce made with seven fresh herbs and served with hard-boiled eggs and potatoes.

Traditional vegetarian dishes from Greece

Oh, this one is so easy! Interestingly, Greeks refrained from eating meat (almost all except certain seafood) for most days a year. Orthodox Greeks would fast 180-200 days a year. And because of that, Greeks enjoy hundreds of vegetarian and vegan recipes. In ancient Greece, meat was generally associated with festivity, luxury and sacrifice, and therefore, it was not the primary food source. Greeks are some of the healthiest nations in the world with the biggest intake of vegetables per person. Greece is probably the best place to find traditional dishes from Europe that happen to be vegetarian. For me, this country is food heaven 🙂

  • Greek Salad or horiatiki – A Greek classic and most famous and dish you will find on every menu. The basic salad includes tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, onions, feta, and olives. This salad is generously dressed with olive oil and sometimes garnished with capers. The festivity of freshness!
  • Lathera (Vegetable stew) – Lathera actually is a whole category of Greek recipes in which different types of vegetable stews where vegetables are cooked in olive oil and tomato along with herbs. This stew is mostly eaten as a main course accompanied by bread and feta cheese. Latheras are typically made with seasonal vegetables like cauliflower in the winter or green beans in the summer. Other vegetables used can include okra, zucchini, eggplant and legumes.
  • Gigantes Plaki – Another healthy and satisfying dish. Gigantes are basically broad butter beans baked in the oven in a thick tomato sauce. Sometimes they have crumbled feta cheese on top like many Greek stew dishes. One of my favourites!
  • Lahanosalata – A classic winter salad made of shredded cabbage, fennel and carrots, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. It’s a Greek take on a coleslaw salad just better 🙂
Dishes from Europe that happen to be vegetarian. Classic Greek Salad
Classic Greek Salad

Traditional vegetarian dishes from Hungary

I have quite a few Hungarian friends, and none of them is vegetarian. Just saying 🙂 Hungarians are proud of their national dishes, and traditional Hungarian foods are packed full of flavour, spice and fresh seasonal ingredients. Still, although Hungarians are far from avid vegetarians, you can find some delicious and flavoursome traditional Hungarian dishes that are vegetarian and will completely blow your mind. 

  • Lecso – Lecso is a paprika vegetable stew and one of the most well-known traditional Hungarian recipes. First tons of onions are fried in oil, then the classic Hungarian pointy yellow peppers are added together with an equally large amount of tomatoes. Ingredients are stewed together and seasoned with paprika, salt, and sometimes garlic. Lecsó can be easily eaten on its own. I was lucky to try this dish homemade, and it was divine!
  • Gombapaprikas – This is a Hungarian stew made of mushrooms that are stewed with onions, tomatoes, garlic, flour, and sour cream. The dish is seasoned with paprika powder and usually garnished with parsley.
  • Főzelék – A thick vegetable stew which can be prepared with most vegetables but usually made with onions, peas, spinach, lentils, potatoes, or cabbage as the main ingredient. It is usually thickened with flour or sour cream.
Hungarian Gombapaprikas
Hungarian Gombapaprikas

Italy’s traditional dishes that are vegetarian

It is very easy to eat vegetarian in Italy. Italy’s staple, traditional foods like pasta and pizza have copious amount of vegetarian options. Apart from this the below traditional Italian dishes are also vegetarian:

  • Ribollita is a famous Tuscan bread and vegetable soup. The main ingredients include leftover bread, cannellini beans, cabbage, and a mix of simple vegetables like as carrot, potatoes, beans, chard, celery and onion.
  • Pasta e fagioli –  This is a traditional Italian soup-like dish made of beans and pasta. And although at first, it doesn’t sound overly exciting, all the ingredients are slowly stewed until all the flavours are brought to life resulting in a delicious, hearty bowl of goodness.
  • Caponata this Sicilian dish is one of my favourite Italian traditional dishes. It is made of sautéed eggplants mixed with tomato sauce, celery, onions, olives and capers, in a sour-sweet tomato sauce. I do believe that is it the combination of sweet and sour ingredients stewed for a long time that gives this dish its irresistible taste.
  • Arancini alla Norma – I love eggplants and arancini. Those divine rice balls filled with fried eggplant and melty cheese is just one of many available variations of arancini. Amongst vegetarian fillings, you will find pistachio, pesto or mushrooms just to mention few.
traditional dishes from Europe that happen to be vegetarian

Traditional vegetarian dishes from Lithuania

As with many other Eastern European countries, in Lithuania, you will find many meat dishes on local restaurants’ menu. Lithuanian cuisine is known for its use of natural and locally sourced ingredients and dishes deriving from ancient cooking traditions. Most vegetarian dishes would be those eaten during Lent. But also, similarly to its neighbours, Lithuania has few delicious vegetarian, or even vegan national dishes that will surprise your palate.

  • Saltibarsciai (Chilled Borscht) –  Cooked and shredded beets, fresh cucumbers, dill, and green onions make this vividly pink popular summer soup. All the ingredients are chopped and cooked together in a pot, and then soured milk or kefir is added, creating its incredible colour. This soup is served cold and is accompanied by hardboiled eggs and boiled potatoes.
  • Bulviniai blyna (potato pancakes) – Potatoes form an integral part of Lithuanian cuisine. It doesn’t come as a surprise that potato pancakes are one of the country’s favourite dishes. They are also very popular in Poland but given those are given so much love in Lithuania, I will sacrifice and give the credit away 🙂 Those little fried potato cakes are made from grated potatoes, onions, eggs and flour. They are crunchy and mouthwatering, and in Lithuania are often accompanied by a dollop of sour cream (In Poland we like ours with creamy mushroom sauce – yum!)
Potato pancakes - popular vegetarian traditional dish in many Eastern European countries including Lithuania and Poland
Potato pancakes – popular vegetarian traditional dish in many Eastern European countries including Lithuania and Poland

Malta’s national dishes that happen to be vegetarian

Malta, although a Mediterranean country, enjoys pretty heavy national cuisine consisting of many meat dishes. Yet, not only there is a growing vegan and vegetarian scene on the island, but you can also find some traditional Maltese dishes that are vegetarian friendly.

  • Soppa tal-Armla (Widow’s Soup) – This is a hearty, tasty vegetarian soup made with potatoes, carrots, garlic, peas and cauliflower, yet recipes vary slightly from one household to another. It often comes with egg and ġbejniet (traditional Maltese cheese).
  • Maltese platter – I really recommend ordering a Maltese platter when in Malta. Although you will find a small piece of sausage or ham on it, this can be taken away, and the remaining ingredients are delicious. Traditional Maltese bean spread (Bigilla) and olive dips, Gbejniet cheese, local olives and sundried tomatoes and often more – a great way to sample local delicatessens.
  • Qassatat tal Pizelli – A traditional Maltese shortcrust pastry that comes with various fillings Including the mushy peas – my favourite! They are a decent size and filling pies, excellent and very popular street food in Malta. However, the most popular pastry in Malta is Pastizzi, and this phyllo style pastry can be also filled with peas and also ricotta cheese.
Maltese Pastizzi
Maltese Pastizzi

North Macedonia and its traditional dishes that also are vegetarian

Macedonian cuisine is rich in vibrant traditional recipes, some dating back centuries, and there are quite a few vegan and vegetarian options for local delicatesies.

  • Ajvar – A delicious spread made by slowly (over quite a few hours) roasting red peppers, eggplant and garlic in olive oil. The spread is seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika and the result is a food, that is truly legendary in Macedonia and above.
  • Tavche Grache – Healthy and wholesome bean stew of intensely rich and smoky flavour coming from the way it’s cooked and a paprika seasoning. Probably the most one of the most traditional dishes in Macedonia. Meat is sometimes added on top, so do ask if that’s the case before ordering.
  • Mekici is a famous Macedonian breakfast served with cheese, sour cream or jam. Those fried pancakes are made of eggs, flour and yoghurt have a taste similar to doughnuts and are absolutely delicious.

Traditional Polish food that is also vegetarian

Traditional Polish cuisine is often quite friendly to vegetarian demands. Although meat plays an essential role in many Polish dishes, it is totally possible to find very tasty and diverse vegetarian dishes. As throughout Polish history, meat wasn’t always easily accessible, Polish housewives had to create a filling and nutritious meals while meat sources were spars. Many of them became national dishes since. Here are some of the Polish traditional meals that happen to be vegetarian:

  • Pierogi – Probably the most famous Polish dish, pierogi are boiled dumpling filled with various fillings including cabbage, mushrooms and of course, cheese and potato (pierogi ruskie). They are often then pan-fried and topped with crispy onions before serving. Mouth-watering!
Polish pierogi
Polish pierogi
  • Polish soups – It is impossible to mention just one given soups are an essential part of Polish national cuisine, and those are often vegan or vegetarian. The most popular are Pickled cucumber soup, Mushroom soup, Barszcz (clear beetroot soup usually served with small dumplings – uszka) and various vegetable soups. First thing I eat, whenever I return home, is a hot cup of tomato or mushroom soup.
  • Leniwe pierogi (lazy dumplings) – Favourite amongst children, but trust me, not only! Farmer’s cheese is incorporated in the dough for lazy dumplings, and they are not being filled, just boiled in hot water and served with melted butter and sugar. Ultimate comfort food!
  • Krokiety – Take a savoury crepe, fill with the delicious sweet or savoury filling, roll into the pocket, batter in breadcrumbs and fry in butter until wonderfully crisp. I guarantee you haven’t tried anything like this anywhere else. Those are often sold with meat filling but my favourite one is filled with soured cabbage and mushroom filling. Home sweet home!
Polish Barszcz (clear beetroot soup usually served with small dumplings - uszka)
Polish Barszcz (clear beetroot soup usually served with small dumplings – uszka)

Portugal and its traditional vegetarian dishes

In the past, Portugal was ruled by the severe fascist regime, which impoverished the country, and people couldn’t afford cooking much meat dishes. Meat would be eaten on special occasions or Sunday; therefore, some of the traditional Portuguese dishes are vegetarian at its root. Here are few examples of vegetarian Portuguese dishes:

  • Caldo Verde – This “green broth” soup is a very simple soup with very few ingredients; Portuguese cabbage (from which the soup takes its name), potatoes, onion and olive oil. Some chefs add a couple of chorizo slices towards the end, so make sure to ask if this can be skipped.
  • Migas –  Literally meaning ‘breadcrumbs’, Migas is a dish made of leftover country bread. The bread is cut into small pieces, mixed with olive, white bean, cabbage, finely chopped and seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic. This popular breakfast dish is also often topped with poached or fried eggs.
  • Acorda – This time bread is used to create a creamy stew with a risotto-like consistency. The bread is boiled with ingredients like garlic, coriander, olive oil, white wine, and salt to create a bread porridge and then often topped with vegetables or egg.

Romania’s traditional vegetarian dishes

Thanks to the Eastern Orthodox fasting tradition, travelling vegan or vegetarian is actually quite easy in Romania. During Lent and some other times of the year, many people in Romania observe a type of fast where animal products would not be consumed. Hence it is quite easy to find traditional Romanian dishes that are also vegetarian.

  • Ciorba de legume (vegetable soup) –  Popular traditional vegetarian (or vegan if served without soured cream on top) dish in Romania. This soup is light and healthy and almost always served with lemon.
  • Mâncare de mazăre (Romanian pea stew) – The stew’s star are obviously peas stewed with other vegetables like onions, carrots, and bell peppers parsnip with the addition of tomato sauce, vegetable stock, and seasonings. Traditionally this stew can be prepared only with vegetables, but these days it is also topped with meat.
  • Ghiveci is another famous Romanian vegetable stew which is prepared differently according to the season. In the winter it is usually made of vegetables such as carrots, celery, cauliflower or cabbage. The summer version often incorporates seasonal vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, or peppers. The vegetables are then stewed in tomatoes garlic, and onions. Legend has it that once you had a Ghiveci in Romania, its a dish you will never forget.
Mâncare de mazăre (Romanian pea stew)
Mâncare de mazăre (Romanian pea stew)

Slovenia’s traditional vegetarian dishes

Slovenia has a delicious variety of traditional vegetarian food thanks to its emphasis on the use of fresh and local ingredients. Since Slovenian food was traditionally meant for heavy fieldwork and cold winters, even the vegetarian dishes are filling and nutritious. 

  • Štruklji (rolled dumplings) -It is one of Slovenia’s most loved dishes, and this boiled rolled pastry (resembling slightly Austrian strudel) can be filled with either sweet or savoury filling. Most popular fillings for this dumpling are tarragon, cottage cheese, apples, walnuts and dried pears.
  • Ajdova kaša z jurčki (Buckwheat groats with mushrooms) – Buckwheat is one of the most used grains in Slovenia. Mushrooms most commonly used for this porridge-like buckwheat dish are porcini, but other mushrooms can also be used. Nevertheless, this is a real winter warmer. 
  • Ričet could be called a Slovenian Minestrone. Usually, this dish is cooked with barley, beans, potatoes, carrots, parsley, celery, leeks, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. It can also be cooked with the addition of smoked pork therefore you will have to advance if the soup is vegetarian.
Štruklji (rolled dumplings) - One of Slovenia's most loved dishes
Štruklji (rolled dumplings) – One of Slovenia’s most loved dishes

Spain’s traditional dishes that happen to be vegetarian

Although Spanish folks do enjoy their pork and beef, there is a plethora of delicious vegetarian dishes in traditional Spanish cuisine. After living in Spain for a few years, I can say that I probably tried them all so here are my favourite:

  • Pimientos de padron – My absolute favourite.  This simple peppers dish is a heaven on earth and doesn’t matter how much I try do make it at home – it never tastes the same. Those are small, bittersweet peppers that are deep-fried in olive oil and served hot and whole with big flakes of rock salt. It maybe doesn’t sound exciting, but they are definitely exciting in taste!
  • Croquetas (Croquettes) – Small balls made of mashed potato mixed with various ingredients, breaded and then deep-fried to perfection. Most popular vegetarian versions are mixed with spinach, mushrooms or just various cheeses.
  • Gazpacho (Cold Tomato Soup) – Gazpacho is not just a cold tomato soup. It is sunny Andalusia in a bowl. And the best hangover cure ever – confirmed. It is made of raw blended tomatoes, onions, peppers and cucumber. It all then blended with salt, pepper, garlic and lemon juice. Drizzled with olive oil and topped with croutons. Breadcrumbs are sometimes added to the mix, yet I like it more without.
  • Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Potato Omelette) – This Spanish omelette is one of the most popular dishes in Spain. It is a perfect tapas served by the slice but can easily be a dish of its own served with salad. It is made with olive oil, eggs, potatoes, and sometimes onions. Simple, authentic and very tasty dish.
Pimientos de Padron - traditional dishes from Europe that happen to be vegetarian
Pimientos de padron

Travelling is not complete without tasting all those delicious regional meals, and I hope this guide to traditional dishes from Europe that happen to be vegetarian was helpful to you. Please let me know in the comments if there is any dish I have missed, but in your opinion should make the cut.

And most importantly – Enjoy!

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Pati's Journey Within

Hi, I’m Pati. A traveller, photographer (aspiring), dreamer and hopeless believer in magic. I have caught the travel bug in my forties – and not planning to look back any time soon. I travel solo and on a budget and try to spend as much time and effort to truly immerse myself in the country I am visiting.

Whether you are like me and decided to change your life around a new dream or just wandering (because not all who wander are lost) – I am here to tell you that everything is possible. 

 

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