Stop! There’s no need to fill your suitcase with packets of namkeen if you’re traveling to Europe. We know what you’re thinking – ‘but I’m vegetarian and finding food is difficult’. There’s good news for your kind and plenty on the platter to choose from. It’s time to be an adventurist foodie and sample the local vegetarian fare. Here are some countries in Europe where vegetarians won’t go hungry!
France doesn’t exactly have the reputation of being vegetarian-friendly but you’ll be in for a surprise. Go beyond the bistros and choose to dine at ethnic restaurants that include Middle Eastern, Asian and Indian food, all of which offer wide vegetarian options. For more of a French flavor, order a salade de crudités or literally ‘vegetable salad’ also makes for a wholesome meal especially if paired with an open vegetarian sandwich served on a baguette. For something sweet, head to a crêperie and indulge in sweet delights that include crêpes filled with fresh fruit or Nutella spread.
When in the land of butter and cheese, vegetarians have little to worry about! Enjoy a traditional Swiss fondue where you can soak vegetables and bread in to liquid cheese. Another classic vegetarian option is the röschti, which essentially is a grated potato pancake topped with sautéed onions and tomatoes. It’s fried and its potatoes so there nothing is really not to like about it! If all else fails, theen you always have delicious Swiss chocolates that you can make a meal out of.
A great destination for vegetarians, Greece presents itself with plenty of hearty and healthy options for non-meat eaters. Classic vegetarian dishes include briam, which are baked vegetables like zucchini and potatoes seasoned with tomato sauce, dolmades, which are grape leaves stuffed with rice and lemon zest (the Greek version of spring rolls!) and imam baildi, which is baked eggplant stuffed with onions, tomatoes and seasoned with spices. The options are endless so vegetarians will be in for a real treat.
Tapas, anyone? As a vegetarian in Spain, you’ll have plenty to feast on. Dishes like tortilla de patata or a Spanish potato omelette and espinicas con garbanzos or a stew made of spinach and chickpeas are vegetarian staples that feature on most traditional restaurant menus. Other easily available eats include berejenas a la miel (friend eggplant with honey), paella de verdure (rice and vegetables) and gazpacho (cold vegetable soup). Spanish food comprises many vegetables used in Indian cooking but the preparations are deliciously unique.
Beyond pizzas and pastas, Italy has many vegetarian culinary delights to impress you with. Pomodori col riso, a rice dish cooked with roasted tomatoes and caponata, a sweet and sour style stew are classic Italian options that can be found at almost every eatery. Of course, indulging in Italian desserts like gelato, tiramisu and panna cotta are what vegetarian sweet dreams are made of so indulge!
While finding vegetarian food in Germany is a challenge, it’s not one that’s impossible. Known to favor meat and potatoes, the German diet has little room for vegetarian food. However, there are some options like käsespätzle, a German version of macaroni and cheese, tarte flambée, which is a pizza with a crème fraiche base and topped with select vegetables and of course, plenty of bakery items like pretzels and brötchen or mini bread rolls. Restaurants in Germany are always willing to make modifications to dishes wherever possible so if you’d like something without meat or eggs, just ask.
Surviving as a vegetarian in the Netherlands is fairly easy with meatless options readily available. The Dutch love their cheese and you’re likely to find it in almost everything. Enjoy a boterham met oude kaas, which is essentially a cheese sandwich and erwtensoep, a thick pea soup that is a meal in itself. Wentelteefje, which is similar to French toast and the Dutch style pancake called pannekoek are great breakfast and all-day snack options. Stroopwafels (caramel cookies) and appeltaart (apple pie) are perfect sweet nothings!
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Author: Devika Khosla
With the inability to sit still, she’s always going ‘somewhere’. Foodie, spa junkie, animal lover and traveler. That’s Devika’s story.