"I guess I'll probably have to order salad". Is that what you say as you enter a restaurant in Spain? In that case, you're probably one of these people called a vegetarian.
The Spanish famously don't understand "vegetarian". See why people say they received Ham in a Vegetarian Dish in Spain.
But you can get vegetarian food in Spain. The dishes below are the most popular truly vegetarian dishes in Spain. Why only nine? I first included croquetas, but then it occured to me that it is actually rare that they don't include flecks of ham. What do you think should replace it? Scroll to the bottom of the page and add your own favorite vegetarian dishes in Spain.
Often described as a 'cold soup', but if that conjures up the imagine of a bowl of chowder that has been left all day, think of it instead as a "liquid salad".
Gazpacho consists of fresh tomatoes, fresh cucumber, fresh peppers, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt with optional onion for kick and bread to act as a thickener and nothing else. Just these ingredients and nothing from a tin, I don't care what American recipe websites tell you.
See a gazpacho recipe
2. Patatas Bravas
Alas, unfortunately sometimes the sauce is replaced for any pink sauce, as many Spaniards can't handle even a touch of heat. If you'd like it spicy, the bar might have a bottle of tabasco gathering dust somewhere.
See a recipe for patatas bravas
3. Tortilla de Patata
Warning On some occasions, this usually vegetarian dish may contain ham. A simple "tortilla de patatas" on the menu won't have ham, but if you're just pointing to a tortilla on the bar top and can't be sure, ask.
See a tortilla recipe
4. Berenjenas con Miel
Berenjenas con miel are slices or pieces of aubergine or eggplant, fried and covered in a dark, slightly bitter honey or molasses.
Especially popular in Malaga.
See a recipe for Berenjenas con miel
Warning Salmorejo is usually garnished with ham and egg. Ask for it "sin jamon" if you are vegetarian or "sin jamon o huevo" if you are vegan.
6. Garbanzos con espinacas
Garbanzos or chickpeas, served with spinach. The proportions can vary widely: sometimes it is a spinach stew dotted with garbanzos, other times it is a plate of garbanzos decorated with spinach. Sometimes it is served as a soup.
7. Pimientos del Padron
"Algunos pican, otros no" (some are spicy, others are not"), invariably used to describe pimientos del padron, is such an iconic phrase that I've even seen it on t-shirts.
Especially popular in Galicia and Galician restaurants throughout Spain, these little green peppers are cooked with olive oil and big chunks of salt.
Read more about Pimientos del Padron
8. Pan con tomate
See how to make pan con tomate