The past month has certainly been a challenge when it comes to maintaining a balanced vegan diet while abroad. Spain, particularly Seville, had to be the most veg-unfriendly place I’ve ever been, but one dish in particular kept me going. Italy wouldn’t have been much easier, but traveling with DIS and having plenty of meals pre-arranged was a huge help. Check out my last post for some of the highlights from my meals in Italy.
When I travel, I sometimes revert to pescatarian for a meal or two. I’m not vegan for animal rights purposes, although I have considered that more after visiting Danish Crown, so I don’t mind eating some seafood by the coast a couple times a year and trying other culturally significant dishes. In Spain, I tried tortilla española, patatas bravas, and some anchovies and in Italy I tried parmigiano reggiano at Hombre Farms and a couple of oysters at a local market. Around the holidays it’s hard to resist my mom’s irresistible baked goods, but I’ve learned to mimic a few with vegan recipes.
Spain (Madrid & Seville)
Things were off to a promising start in Madrid when HappyCow led me to an awesome fast-casual place, La Alegría de la Huerta, with plenty of vegan dishes. You get to pick 2 to 3 dishes and a drink for like 6€, which is way more bang for your buck than just about anything in Copenhagen. But, my first meal in Spain was probably the most vegan place I came across! From then on, I pretty much ate a handful of tapas complemented with apples and peanut butter back at the Airbnb.
Tapas in Spain are as amazing as you may have heard, and two of Seville’s famous tapas are vegan – or can at least be prepared vegan. Espinicas con garbanzos (spinach with chickpeas) is served just about everywhere in Seville and I think I tried it at six different restaurants! Yes, it’s totally affordable to eat out every night in Seville, especially if you just split tapas with friends over a few hours across the city. You really can’t go wrong with spinach and chickpeas stewed together with a blend of spices and day old bread. I can’t wait to make this simple dish when I get home – I already have my eye on this recipe.
Another popular Andalusian tapa is Salmorejo, and its equally as simple and delicious: puréed tomatoes, garlic, and bread with some vinegar, olive oil, and salt. It’s served cold (think a thicker, creamier gazpacho because more bread is used) and usually topped with hard boiled eggs, ham, and/or tuna. Just ask for them to hold the toppings and voila. Some recipes call for a hard-boiled egg to be blended in, so maybe check with the restaurant you’re at to see if their version can be made vegan.
A few of my other favorite dishes in Spain include alcachofas a la plancha (grilled artichokes), churros con chocolate (most churro batter is vegan and just ask if milk is added to the chocolate – Churrería Chocolateria Los Artesanos 1902 in Madrid has a killer vegan dark chocolate), berenjenas fritas (fried eggplant, usually served with some honey) and a big salad my friend Madelaine and I made for a dinner at home.
No trip would be complete without a totally out of place meal… Ethiopian food in Madrid! I’ve been dying to try Ethiopian food for years, so I was thrilled when Madelaine found Hanan. The vegetarian platter was so tastsy and I can’t believe I went that long without injera – the spongy, sourdough flatbread used to scoop up the food.
Eating Out in Copenhagen
Following my trip to Spain, my family came to check out what life in Denmark is like. I’ll detail that experience in a future post, but I really enjoyed having my family meet and spend some time with my host-family!
My family asked me where I’d want to eat out while they were here, and I truly had no suggestions since my wallet only allows for the occasional falafel durum or a late night pack of peanuts from the beautiful Danish 7/11’s. They did some research and we all found stuff to enjoy at the following places. It was such a treat to eat out in Copenhagen without having to worry about the 25% VAT myself – thanks Mom and Dad!
Biomio Organic Bistro (BOB): A 90-100% organic restaurant in meatpacking with vegan options like a vegan snack board, fried rice steak, and, my dinner, kimchi ballotine. My fam and I loved everything we had.
Café Atelier September: Boujee cafe a couple blocks northwest of Nyhavn serving up the type of avocado toast you’d see on Instagram. It’s as good as it looks and the fresh squeezed citrus juice is super refreshing and rejuvenating. Great morning or midday spot, but a bit pricey for what it is. I guess you pay for the stylish atmosphere, plating, and (probably) some impressive latte art.
42Raw: An entirely vegan fast casual place with three locations in the greater CPH area. Burgers, brunch platter, acai bowls, sandwiches, and fries. Loved the truffle burger, but would advise against the tofu. These Danes just don’t know how to season boldly!
Bonus Round – Beers at Mikkeller Bar (Vesterbro): My younger brother (19) especially enjoyed ordering a beer for himself. Mikkeller has some of the best beer in the world and their bars and restaurant collaborations are ubiquitous in Copenhagen. Thankful I only discovered them last month, as beers start at around 55kr ($8.30).