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Vegan

Jopoke

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances September 2015
Lisbon to Santigo May 2016
Porto coastal route to Santiago Oct 2016
#1
We're about to walk half the Via de La Plata over the next four weeks and we have recently become vegans. Has any other vegan or vegetarian managed and what did you eat. Luckily we've always eaten our favourite peanut and banana sandwiches for dinner so that won't change but I don't fancy living every night on hommous and olives. Any suggestions please?
 

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hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#2
I've been vegetarian all my life, thankfully it's got easier eating out as wider dietary choices have become more the norm. But in Spain they tend to think pork is a vegetable so even the wonderful beanie things they do have layers of pork fat and flesh in them... Scott thought this was wonderful as its just what you need to keep you going in the Camino. Sadly you can't get far on greens, but you will find great salads and bread as a standard on all meals.

The Spainish to great potato dishes, but in many they cook the potato first in chicken stock for added flavour and I guess as vegans you don't eat eggs so the great standby of tortilla or Spanish omelette isn't going to be acceptable. The Vdlp is a great route but towns are smaller and more like farm communities so you may struggle to find vegan options, self cooking may be your safest bet, which is a shame as tasting local food is one of the joys of travel.
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (15 April 2013)
Camino Portuguese (1 May 2014)
Camino Mozárabe from Málaga (8 April 2015)
Camino del Norte & Camino Ingles (April 2016)
#3
I've recently become vegan and am already wondering how I will cope on my next camino.

If there are shops and a microwave or hot plate available you will be able to eat chickpeas, tomatoes with other veg or legumes added in. Spanish salads generally aren't great in my opinion, usually swimming in a pool of water and almost inevitably topped by tinned tuna. Most soups will have some animal product in them. I walked a few days this year with a vegan and he discovered that cous cous can be used by soaking in cold water overnight if there is no facility for heating. This was his staple, with added veg, fruit, nuts and seeds. You will find hummus in larger supermarkets, but not likely in village shops. However you are likely to find plant milk and oats in most stores. You will need to be inventive and plan ahead, and mostly cater for yourselves.

You will find it useful to take a lightweight container that can be used to prepare and eat your food from, possibly a very lightweight cutting board and sharp knife.

Good luck and buen camino - I will be interested to know how you get on.
 
Last edited:

Jopoke

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances September 2015
Lisbon to Santigo May 2016
Porto coastal route to Santiago Oct 2016
#4
I think we will be living on jars of lentils, olives, Padron peppers (hopefully) fruit, nuts and bread. I think this will be the first Camino I come back a stone lighter lol. Going to miss my little pastel Natas, cafe con leche, tortillas and croissants
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Finesterre 2015
VdlP 2017
#5
I did the first half of the VDLP this spring as a vegetarian. I had good luck explaining to the waiter what I could and could not eat, and ordering individual items off the menu. In between finding restaurants, I relied on the supermarcado I carried in my pack! even though how much food I carried was good for lots of laughs, I won't carry so much next time. I was glad to have a few ziplock bags of various sizes and eating utensils--those came in handy for picnics. I was prepared to be flexible, eat simple food, and the same thing repeatedly. Between restaurants and tiendas, the camino provides!
 

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natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
#6
Hi Jopoke,
A recent find for me has been crema de calabaza soup, which often actually doesn't have any cream in it, just lots of pureed veggies. It's nice and savory and you'll be able to find some boxed versions of it in the grocery store you can heat up. My favorite brand is Gallina Blanca, which has all natural ingredients.

Have a wonderful Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#7
I'm not vegan but one of my favourite easy supermercado meals was a sachet or bowl of pre-cooked rice either white or brown, can of corn, a tomato and a capsicum. Diced and mixed together with a little sachet of olive oil and vinegar. The packaged gazpacho is great too. Ingredients list shows no additives and no animal products.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#8
Hi, and hope you will have a great time. I happened across a video blog made by a chap who walked with his wife, who was carrying their six month old baby! They are vegan, and perhaps you could watch a few of their videos. You might even try to contact them. I just checked and see this: BeYourPotential as a sub-title to their daily posting. I have no doubt they would gladly share their experience of their Camino with you, in relation to their vegan needs. All the best, buen camino
 

Jopoke

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances September 2015
Lisbon to Santigo May 2016
Porto coastal route to Santiago Oct 2016
#9
Well 2 weeks in as a vegan with shock they know what a vegatarian is but a vegan is a no no. I am fed up with ensalada, potatas frita or pan so I have succumbed to tortilla. Sorry if the spelling is wrong but I've had a couple of vinos tintos tonight.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#10
Well 2 weeks in as a vegan with shock they know what a vegatarian is but a vegan is a no no. I am fed up with ensalada, potatas frita or pan so I have succumbed to tortilla. Sorry if the spelling is wrong but I've had a couple of vinos tintos tonight.
Sorry, it must be frustrating. Hope you can find alternatives to supplement your diet to compensate.
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (15 April 2013)
Camino Portuguese (1 May 2014)
Camino Mozárabe from Málaga (8 April 2015)
Camino del Norte & Camino Ingles (April 2016)
#11
That's disheartening, but not surprising.
Buen camino to you both
 
#12
Yes, I can imagine that eating vegan is tough in Spain, especially in the small places you pass through on the Camino. Definitely see if you can find something decent in the supermercados.
 

Chaya

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC Ap-May14
Navx-Muxia Mar-Ap17
SJPP-SdC May17
SJPP-Fterre Feb-Mar18
Cahors-Fterre (Sep-Oct18)
#13
Hi @Jopoke
I'm vegetarian and thinking of walking the Via de La Plata and was wondering how your walk went by the time you finished? Did the food choices improve over the last weeks of your walk? I've found it has got easier to find vegetarian food on the Frances over the past few years, and on my Camino this year it was very easy, so much so that I ate mainly vegan.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF December 2017
#14
Maybe it was the time of year we walked (December) but it was very hard to get enough vegetables in our diet. I'm not vegan or even vegetarian, but by the end of the CF I could have killed for a vegetable. We could see vegetables growing, so someone must be eating them, but they certainly weren't serving them to Pilgrims (apart from potatoes). We took to pumpkin soup at every opportunity, and the Galician cabbage soup also served a useful purpose (apart from being tasty). We had to work hard to find and eat enough vegetables.
 

Chaya

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC Ap-May14
Navx-Muxia Mar-Ap17
SJPP-SdC May17
SJPP-Fterre Feb-Mar18
Cahors-Fterre (Sep-Oct18)
#15
Maybe it was the time of year we walked (December) but it was very hard to get enough vegetables in our diet. I'm not vegan or even vegetarian, but by the end of the CF I could have killed for a vegetable. We could see vegetables growing, so someone must be eating them, but they certainly weren't serving them to Pilgrims (apart from potatoes). We took to pumpkin soup at every opportunity, and the Galician cabbage soup also served a useful purpose (apart from being tasty). We had to work hard to find and eat enough vegetables.
Hi @GaryAus , I last walked the Frances this year in February and found it easy, however, I rarely ate the pilgrim's meals. I usually just ordered from the a la carte menu and there was always something that could be changed to add more veggies. I found the pilgrim's meals often were interchangeable between courses( for example having 2 entrees), but not changeable in relation to ingredients.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés from St Jean Pied de Port (2017)
Camino Primitivo (2018)
Camino Portugués (plan 2019)
#16
So far my husband @jungleboy and I have walked the Camino Francés and the Camino Primitivo as vegans and had no problems on either one. As @Chaya said, there are lots of options on the Camino Francés especially. A surprising number of albergues on the route serve only vegetarian/vegan food, and we only came across one albergue that was not able to provide a vegan option for us.

The Camino Primitivo was much less populated so we had to plan ahead a bit more, but that was true for everyone, vegan or not. We did more self-catering on that Camino, but again, so did everyone. On several occasions we cooked and ate dinner together with a bunch of our fellow pilgrims, which was a lot of fun.
I write a vegan travel blog called The Nomadic Vegan, and I've published an article there with my top tips for eating vegan on the Camino. You can find it linked in my signature below.

While I haven't walked VdlP yet, I have traveled around the Extremadura quite a bit, so on my website you'll also find articles about vegan options in Seville, Mérida, Cáceres and other towns in the area. Those articles are a couple of years old, so I recommend using the HappyCow app to see what else has popped up since then.
In the south, don't pass up the chance to have the wonderful cold soups there -- gazpacho and salmorejo. Just ask them not to put ham or egg on top of the soup, as they often do.

Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles (October 2018)
#17
I'm also a vegan and gluten free. For the purposes of the Camino, while not intentional, I'm willing to concede the point... avoid what I can, don't panic if I can't. 2 things to note as I also encountered this to a lesser extent in Italy: they are more humane to their animals especially if they are a 1km place and the quality of their food is superior. I draw on experiences of not getting sick eating in Europe but do get sick eating similarly in the US.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#18
Maybe it was the time of year we walked (December) but it was very hard to get enough vegetables in our diet. I'm not vegan or even vegetarian, but by the end of the CF I could have killed for a vegetable. We could see vegetables growing, so someone must be eating them, but they certainly weren't serving them to Pilgrims (apart from potatoes). We took to pumpkin soup at every opportunity, and the Galician cabbage soup also served a useful purpose (apart from being tasty). We had to work hard to find and eat enough vegetables.
I can never understand why you see huertas bulging with vegetables in the countryside and the vegetable section of town markets a veritable cornucopia, even supermarkets . . . and yet meals in restaurants and hotels run to salads, fries and sculpted potatoes.
I was told by a Spaniard I worked with that it goes back to the poorer old days when you ate vegetables at home but when you went out for a treat it was meat and fish that predominated. Certainly in the Civil War the main ingredient of meals in the Republican enclaves was lentils and chickpeas from Mexico.
It doesn't bother me as I'm an omnivore but five to six weeks of munching on a lettuce leaf would put me off going.
My heart goes out to you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés from St Jean Pied de Port (2017)
Camino Primitivo (2018)
Camino Portugués (plan 2019)
#19
That may very well be true about eating vegetables at home and splurging on meat or fish in restaurants. Nevertheless, the restaurants usually DO have vegetables on hand, if you ask for them. You can order a "parrillada de verduras" (platter of grilled vegetables) in many places. Pisto (similar to ratatouilled) is also fairly common, and there's the crema de verduras soup, which is just a bunch of vegetables blended together and normally doesn't actually contain cream, so it's vegan too.

In the smaller towns along the Camino you'll often find bars serving the Paellador brand paella. There's always a "paella de verduras" option, which is full of vegetables. And, as someone mentioned above, you can ask for two first courses of a menu in lieu of a meaty second course. So, for example, you could get a mixed salad and a crema de verduras.
 

surya8

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues Central, Santarem-Santiago - 2017; Portugues Interior, Sanabres, Fisterra & Muxia - 2018
#20
I've walked 3 Caminos being a vegetarian. I eat all kind of dairy as well so in my last Caminos in Portugal and Spain I relied heavily on local soft cheeses. When eating out I mostly ordered from the menu, vegetable soups, Padron peppers and salata mixta without fish were my favourite. In June I walked from Verin/Laza that are on Camino Sanabres, it's part of Via de la Plata. Now I fly everywhere with a pack of my fav buckwheat, that takes only 15mins to cook and is very versatile, usually I feed fellow pilgrims and they love it. Many albergues have good kitchens, so we cooked every evening, got food from supermarkets and farmers markets. But the best unexpected thing that happened in June was foraging for wild mushrooms! They were so plentiful and so easily available in the forests after all these rains! To our surprise no one else picked them, so we helped ourselves. Mostly fried them with onions, served with boiled potatoes and salad, and offered to pilgrims that were eager to taste.
 

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