I feel like sometimes I complain too much about Spain’s food because of its inflexibility on the vegetarian scene. It’s not really fair for me to judge, I’ve come to live here out of my own free will, and it’s up to me to adapt my lifestyle while living here, not the other way around. That’s why I’ve decided to introduce a new series to the blog – THE VEGAN TAPA SERIES!
Turns out they do exist – although they can be hard to track down, especially in the Cadiz region where Serrano ham is basically considered a vegetable among most locals. For the next few weeks, you can expect to be introduced to several typical Spanish tapas – some naturally vegan, others adapted by yours truly for all to enjoy.
Starting off this week we have a timeless tapa that you can find in most bars all around Spain: la Ensaladilla Rusa. Yes, I know, its name translates to “Russian Salad”, but Spaniards have adopted it into their national cuisine. La Ensaladilla Rusa was actually invented by a Belgian chef working in Moscow, and the original recipe included many ingredients unsavoury to the vegetarian palate such as veal tongue and crayfish tails. The Spanish version is at best vegetarian since it includes mayonnaise smothered potatoes, carrots, roasted pepper and capers. Many bars will also throw in some tuna or langoustines for good measure.
First off, here is the vegan mayonnaise you NEED in your kitchen. Guys, I’m not kidding, it’s life changing. It’s not only incredibly cheap and simple to make, but it lasts a month in the fridge and tastes better than any name brand mayo out there. You can let your imagination go wild with it – this mayo is delicious not only as a sandwich spread but also as a base for ranch dressing, alioli or other creamy dips.
To make a traditional Ensaladilla, I’ve used all of the classic ingredients. However, The best part about this recipe is that it’s super adaptable! Try adding corn, pickles, beets, onion or any of your other favourite veg! For a sweet surprise, add some apple! Yum!
What are some other Spanish tapas you’d like featured or veganized as part of the series?