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6 Tapas Vegetarian Style

Spain is known for its tapas – many of which involve some kind of meat, jamón ibérico, to name a popular one. In Spain there is the Museo del Jamón, yes a museum just for ham, and an even a ham festival. With this knowledge I encountered a problem: I don’t eat red meat or pork. How could I survive in a country that centered around jamón?

Luckily, after my first few days in Seville, I realized that I could be completely happy and satisfied. I have tried some pretty awesome food in the city and now have a list of traditional (vegetarian) go-to tapas.

Tortilla Española – Known as a Spanish omelet, this flavorful, hearty dish is traditionally made up of eggs and potatoes, though I have also had some creative ones with onions, vegetables or a variety of herbs. The frittata-like dish is great as a tapa or a light meal.

 Manchego Cheese

Manchego Cheese – Yes, you can order a plate of manchego cheese at almost any restaurants and it is now my favorite type of cheese. The best places will serve the cheese slightly warm, with a thin layer of olive oil drizzled across the top. There are so many variations of this sharp, nutty and creamy cheese. Most cafés and bars will just have “queso” on the menu – but it almost always means manchego.
 Marcona almonds and mixed olives

Olives and Marcona Almonds – While not necessarily considered a tapa, almost every restaurant has a large clay basin filled with olives sitting on the bar. I love ordering a bowl of mixed olives, usually kalamata and green, to go along with my tapas. Marcona almonds, native to Spain, are roasted in olive oil and sprinkled with salt. While not every restaurant has them, they are by far my favorite snack.

Tomates Aliñados – This simple and refreshing dish is made up of sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, red wine vinegar and herbs. Fresh tomatoes with the sharp and flavorful dressing are a perfect and light dish.

 Pisto con Huevo

Pisto – Basically ratatouille made up of tomatoes, eggplant, onions, green or red peppers, zucchini and olive oil. My favorite is pisto con huevo, served in a circular clay dish with an egg baked right on top.

Espinacas con garbanzo – A traditional tapa of sautéed spinach with garbanzo beans and a spices, mainly cumin. It is a mild and warm dish and a perfect way to get in those greens.

While these are my favorite dishes, there are still many more vegetarian options on every menu.

Kaleigh Shufeldt is the Fall 2014 CEA Mojo in Seville, Spain. She is currently a senior at the University of Arizona.

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