Tuesday 20 December 2022

Some of the Best Vegan Dishes from Around the World: Armenia, Croatia and More!

vegan dishes from around the world

I don't know about you (so plz tell me), but right now my feet are itching like they've never itched before (thanks rona). My second favourite place to visit at the moment (second only to the green grocers) is my kitchen. Anyone who knows me (which, despite my constant oversharing on the web, is very few people) knows that my culinary skills are like my taste in sxual partners - foreign and extremely varied... I didn't learn how to cook until I left England, so I learnt how to cook Italian food in Italy, Thai food in Thailand and, well, you get the picture.. Now I've got my daily word vomit out of the way I'm going to do something unusual - stfu and let the experts take over: I searched for bloggers from all over the world and asked them what the best vegan food is from their country (and/or their adopted country). This is what they came up with:

#1. Vegan Indian Food: Khichudi

vegan indian food

India is varied, so is her food culture. While a lot of us eat non vegetarian food in India, our staple remains rice and we are not shy of experimenting with it. While Biryani takes away a heavy share of limelight, Khichudi is bound to mellow your heart! Just not one of the best Vegan dishes of a Bengali household, Khichudi is the ultimate comfort food packed with a heavy dose of nostalgia. We grew up gorging on Khichudi on the rainy reason when incessant rains will inundate the roads and make it impossible to go to school. We will make paper boats until Maa will call until lunch is ready with Khichudi and Begun Bhaja (aubergine fried in mustard oil). Then comes the balmy winter afternoons and Saraswati Puja. Schools in West Bengal would usually celebrate Saraswati Puja to worship the Hindu goddess of knowledge and wisdom. We (that included our friends of different religion too) would brainstorm for a month with artwork, practice a dance-drama performance and end the day with an elaborate community lunch spread, with Bhoger Khichuri as a mandate.

Khichdi is rice cooked with Moong dal and further spiced with spices like Garam Mashala. Traditionally, Khichudi is topped with Ghee as a flavouring agent but you can easily opt-out and choose to eat it with mustard oil and spicy Achar. The rice and lentil type vary based on which region in India, however, the Bengali version of Khichudi will have aromatic short grain Gobindobhog rice and Moong Daal. Come winter, fresh vegetables from the field will make it to the Handi, or the cooking pot. Cauliflower, carrots, potato, you name it. Khichudi is best eaten with Begun Bhaja (fried aubergine)-, Papar and cabbage, which we call Bandhakopir Torkari. A balanced meal in itself, Khichudi is very easy to cook if you know the rice and pulse portion. For many of us, Khichudi is the best comfort food which reminds us of a home away from home. No wonder why Khichudi made an appearance in the iconic book Rilha by Ibn Battutta back in the twelfth century. [Entry by Madhurima of OrangeWayFarer.com, find her on Instagram too!]

#2. Vegan Greek Food: Gemista

vegan greek food

A staple dish that does not go missing from any Greek menu is gemista. The word gemista means stuffed and so the dish with this name is actually stuffed vegetables, most commonly bell peppers and tomatoes. Other popular vegetables used for gemista are zucchini. A unique version of gemista exists in other cuisines around the world too. In Greece there are two versions, the normal gemista (with minced beef) and the gemista orfana which are actually the vegetarian version (hence easily veganised). Juicy, colorful and bustling with flavor this dish can actually be enjoyed cold too and tends to taste better the next day when all the juices had the chance to properly absorb. The main stuffing is rice which is mixed with a delightful selection of herbs. Once the dish is compiled, a generous layer of olive oil is added and the tray is placed and baked in the oven. Usually potatoes are also added to the dish, larger slices are placed in between the tomatoes and bell peppers. Whoever has already travelled or planning to visit Greece in the future, rest assured that Greek cuisine is rich in vegetable flavors and you can find plenty of variety in all restaurant and taverna menus. [Passion for Hospitality is a luxury travel blog which focuses on culture, hotels, gastronomy and authentic experiences around the world. Find her on Facebook too!]

#3. Vegan Pakistani Food: Dhal

vegan pakistani food
Dal is our favourite dish from Pakistan. This super light and totally vegan lentil soup is offered in almost all restaurants and may also remind you of India. Fun fact: It originates from Punjab, a region that has been split into two halves that now belong to Pakistan and India. Usually dal, or daal or dhal, is cooked by using different kinds of legumes and, of course, a bunch of spices such as cumin as well as coriander and onions. Dal can be eaten solely like a soup, but also served as a side dish. We love eating it in combination with warm paratha bread. Pakistan is actually a great country for vegans. Indeed there are numerous meat dishes served and also anything from the bbq is super popular. However, most of the curries can easily be turned into vegan versions. Also, major chaats, which are street food snacks, are vegan by nature as they combine veggies, a nice lemon sauce and are usually served with paratha bread. Pro vegan tip: Make sure to ask in any restaurant whether the „vegan option“ is cooked with ghee. Most of the restaurants still don’t easily understand that ghee is not vegan, but they’ll definitely find alternatives once you tell them.
[Travellers Archive is a bilingual online travel magazine with a focus on the less travelled corners of the world. Find them on Instagram too!]

#4. Vegan Armenian Food: Lavash

vegan armenian food

Armenia is a vegan's paradise, but almost by accident.  While vegetarians will fare better in Armenia, vegans will be able to manage just fine in the Caucasian country.  One of the reasons that Armenia is such a great place for vegans is that a lot of the country's dishes are vegan without intent.  Do be aware that meat is a large part of the culture in the country and just because many dishes are vegan and vegetarian does not mean that people are intentionally catering to plant-based eaters.  While restaurants are typically not vegan, almost every restaurant has traditional vegan options. One of the most popular items you'll find in Armenia is lavash, a simple and ancient bread made from salt, flour, and water.  This bread is used in many traditional Armenian dishes and it can be dried out or eaten fresh wrapped around the many herbs present in the region.  Another common dish in Armenia is basooc dolma, or a vegan dolma of cabbage leaves wrapped around chickpeas, rice, herbs, and other vegetables.  The regular dolma is not-plant based, but you will see basooc dolma (veggie dolma) almost everywhere. Another popular dish in Armenia are zhingyalov hats, a flatbread stuffed with dozens of green herbs.  This dish originates down in Artsakh and Syunik in the south of Armenia and there are even festivals dedicated to it.  It is a flavorbomb that makes the most of the amazing mountain herbs in Armenia.  In addition to the many dishes available here, one thing that will blow your mind about the food here are the ingredients used in it.  Fruits and vegetables have a natural and wonderful taste that puts other places' ingredients to shame.  You haven't lived until you have eaten an Armenian tomato in-season. There are many options for vegans in Yerevan... you just have to know a little about the dishes before arriving. [Entry by Megan of MeganStarr.com find her on Facebook too!]

#5. Vegan Portuguese Food: Sopa de Legumes, Caldo verde...

vegan Portuguese food

Traditional Portuguese cuisine is, unfortunately, not particularly vegan-friendly, as most main dishes contain either meat or fish. However, the vegan movement has really blossomed in the country in recent years, and Lisbon and Porto have transformed into fabulous foodie destinations for vegans. Smaller cities, such as Faro in the Algarve, also tend to have at least a few vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants. As for accidentally vegan dishes, these are mostly limited to soups. Sopa de legumes, which just means "vegetable soup", is a very common offering and often costs less than two euros. Caldo verde is another very traditional soup, made with potatoes and dark leafy greens. Chunks of chouriço sausage are often added, but only at the end, so you can easily request it without the sausage. In addition to soups, there's one traditional dish that definitely doesn't sound like it would be vegan but often is. It's called "peixinhos da horta", which literally means "little fish from the garden". But the "little fish" are actually green beans, which are battered and fried. As long as the batter doesn't contain eggs, this dish is totally vegan. And if you want to taste the famous Portuguese dishes that are normally made with animal ingredients, many of them are also served in vegan versions these days. For example, Pastelaria Batalha and a few other bakeries in Lisbon offer a vegan pastel de nata, the famous Portuguese egg custard tart. And in Porto, quite a few vegan-friendly eateries now make a vegan francesinha -- the city's iconic sandwich smothered in tomato sauce. [Contributed by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan, where she uncovers vegan treasures in the most unlikely places all over the world. Find her on Instagram too!]

#6. Vegan Sri Lankan Food: Parippu Curry

vegan sri lankan food

Parippu curry or dhal curry is probably one of the favorite dishes in Sri Lanka, served at just about every meal - breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The word ‘Parippu’ means lentils in Sinhalese and Tamil, and it reflects the strong links of Sri Lanka cuisine with that of South Indian cuisine. For the preparation of the Sri Lankan Parippu curry, you need red lentils (masoor dhal), coconut milk, onion, chili, garlic, curry leaves and spices like turmeric, cumin, and fenugreek. Firstly, wash and boil the red lentils with turmeric and curry leaves in water for 15 mins. Then take some oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the mustard, fenugreek, and cumin seeds and fry for 20 seconds. Add the onion and garlic to the mix and fry for 20 seconds. Finally, add the boiled lentils in the mix and add some coconut milk and salt to taste. Cook until the curry begins to boil and finally add a dash of lime juice after removing it from heat. After coming from Sri Lanka, I often make Parippu curry for my family as it’s a fresh take on Indian masoor dhal. Parippu curry is a simple vegan dish that can be easily paired with string hoppers, rice or bread and serve. If you are a vegan, Sri Lanka will not disappoint you in terms of food. If you are interested to try Sri Lankan cuisine, you should also taste Gotu kola sambol - a herby coconut salad paired with rice and spicy dishes. [Going Places With Anwesha is a female travel blog, created to inspire others to explore the world without any hesitation/barriers. Join her on this journey of exploring India and beyond. Find her on Instagram too!]

#7. Vegan Indonesian Food: Gado Gado

vegan indonesian food

Delicious gado gado is a fantastic dish for vegans (as well as everyone else!). Like many Indonesian foods, peanut is at its heart. Fresh veggies including cucumber, spinach, carrot and bean sprouts are laid out on a plate and covered with rich, thick sauce made from blended peanuts and a touch of chili. It’s often topped with tofu or tempeh. If you’re not yet familiar with tempeh, this tasty meat substitute is made from fermented soybeans. When served with a tasty marinade, it’s absolutely delicious. Vegans travelling in Bali will be well-catered for with lots of touristic cafes serving smoothie bowls and avocado toast, and lots of authentic warungs (the name for local Indonesian restaurants) serving gado gado, tempeh and other dishes. [Where Goes Rose? is a solo female travel blog with a focus on adventure, culture and most importantly, trying all the best local foods wherever she goes. To learn more about eating in Bali, check out her guide to the best Balinese foods.]

#8. Vegan Croatian Food: Mangold and Garbanzo Beans

vegan croatian food

Croatia is a very diverse country regarding the food habits and traditions as the seaside has its own rules and spirit comparing to the continent. Seaside regions have the lighter food, some of the most exquisite items come from Mediterranean coast like olives, rucola, eggplant. One common meal in Dalmatia is made of chickpeas and swiss chards (mangold). Though the original recipe is made of chickpeas and swiss chards without water, I prepare it as a stew. In restaurants different versions can be find among which the soup from chickpeas with the mangold or not. Along Spain and Italy chickpeas comes as their own speciality. Who would say that mangold comes from the family of red beet? One traditional Croatian meal specially for the festive days are cabbage rolls. Originally prepared with meat, vegan version comes with soya, buckwheat and rise like we do at my home. Cabbage comes in the sour edition so it’s the winter meal. It’s simple regarding ingredients it take but rather complicated to make. Croatia is not a vegan country in particular but there are many vegan options. You can always find various fruits and vegetables, shops are full with vegan products. It’s quite easy to choose the appropriate food but cheese rules here. [Entry by Gabrijela of UnderFlowerySky.com find her on Instagram too!] 

Whilst you're in Croatia we highly recommend you take a vacation in Bosnia too, we went just this year and it was one of the nicest places we've ever been with great vegan restaurants in capital, Sarajevo, and amazing vegan potatoe pies. 

#9. Vegan Irish Food: Irish Stew (Sans Meat)

vegan irish food

Ireland is definitely not known for its vegan-friendly cuisine, where the staple at most tables is meat and 2 veg, and the traditional Irish breakfast is a literal meat feast. And while there are occasional vegan additions to the plate; such as wheaten and soda breads, it is hard to go wrong with Ireland’s obsession for potato e.g. vegan Colcannon and Boxty. The most famous dish would therefore be Irish stew, a household staple throughout all of Ireland, with variations found from region to region and table to table. In Northern Irish Food, for example, we have Ulster Irish Stew which typically forgoes the traditional carrots. As stew is typically just a mix of potatoes, root veg and meat, brought together by a tasty stock. You can obviously skip on the meat in this instance, and replace it with a meat substitute, or go without. And a popular vegan alternative has to be portobello mushrooms instead of meat then for broth they like to use another Irish staple in stout e.g. Guinness. Unfortunately it is rare to find vegan outside of the vegan specific cafes/restaurants if he bigger cities. Otherwise it quite rare to find vegan options on the traditional Irish pub grub menus where the starters are often a better option with the likes of battered mushrooms and battered onion rings and they like to batter things in Ireland. Vegetable soup is also a common staple in Ireland, where it’s a bit like Scotch broth where it uses local pulses (barley and lentils) along with a veg broth and local greens such as marrowfat peas, leek, and carrots. Some will even add some hearty chunks of potatoes. [Allan is a lifestyle and food blogger travelling between Asia and Europe and living the best of both worlds. Follow them on Instagram!]

#10. Vegan Costa Rican Food: Gallo Pinto

Costa Rica is as close to a home base as we have. It’s where our lodge, Drift Away Eco Lodge, is located and where we spend most of our time when we are not travelling. However, even when we are away from home we still find ourselves making one of our favourite vegan dishes that reminds us of our Pura Vida lifestyle - Gallo Pinto, also known as the Costa Rican rice and beans. It’s easy to make Gallo Pinto. Start by frying up pepper, onion, garlic, and red peppers. Combine the mixture with cooked rice and black beans. After heating up the mixture, top it with salsa Lizano and fresh cilantro and ta-da! You Gallo Pinto is ready! It is a staple of every Costa Rican household and is typically served for breakfast with some eggs and some fried fresh cheese on the side, along with a few tortillas, bread or fried plantains. However, it doesn’t lose any of its charm by losing the egg and veganizing it. We find ourselves cooking it any time of day! If you want to eat Gallo Pinto like a true local, you have to pour some Lizano salsa over your rice and beans and enjoy the meal with a cup of freshly brewed Costa Rican coffee or a cuppa of your favourite tea. [Contributed by sustainable travel bloggers Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel. Follow their adventures around the world on Facebook.]

Wrap Up: Vegan Food From Around the World

So if, like me, you're dying to get out of here, let the one part of you that can go there, go there: your digestive tract. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did, and a big thank you to everyone that contributed! For more worldy vegan travels, please check out my post best and worst countries for travelling vegans (in my opinion), like most bloggers right now, my traffic is tanking, so even if you click on it and don't read it I will love you eternally! And if you would like to contribute to this list, email me - it would be great to add some more countries to this list :) Also, let's not skip the one country that colonised and exploited several of the above ones - a video of me veganising the traditional English breakfast! :)

P.S.: If you're interested in an app designed for vegans & wanna support the vegan movement and us, veganvstravel as well, use this link plz to download Abillionveg. When registering, please use our referral code: TRAVELLINGWEASELS. If you wanna know why we think this is a great app, read here.

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