The Ultimate Vegan Guide to Spain

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Ultimate Vegan Spain Guide

I bet you've heard it all before.

"YOU want to go to SPAIN?! Don't even think about it! The Spaniards think tuna is a vegetable!"

All too often, vegetarians and vegans are made to think that they will be scorned as complete outcasts the minute they step foot in the country.

Well, don't believe a word of it! Spain is a lot more vegan-friendly than you've been led to believe. The truth is, most places are.

The key word here is friendly.

For the most part, its inhabitants will go out of their way to meet your needs and make you feel at home, even if they don't quite understand why you wouldn't want pig flesh tossed in your salad, floating on top of your soup, or wrapped around your asparagus.

"Spain is more vegan-friendly than you've been led to believe. The truth is, most places are." 

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The availability of specialty vegan products and restaurants catering specifically to vegans will of course depend on where exactly in Spain you are.

The two largest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, are a paradise for vegan travellers. You will find scores of vegan and vegetarian restaurants there, and even mainstream establishments are starting to cater for vegans.

In smaller towns, it's a different story. It's certainly true that traditional Spanish cuisine focuses heavily on meat, particularly ham.

That said, there are a number of Spanish dishes that are as traditional as chorizo and yet are completely and naturally vegan, and even more that can be easily adapted and made vegan.

Fresc Co, Gino's and Pans and Company are all restaurant chains with branches throughout the country that offer vegan options.

And let's not forget the local markets. They offer fruits and vegetables galore, and a fascinating cultural experience to boot.

But don't worry, I'm not saying you need to cook all your own meals in Spain. So you can stop wondering how you're going to fit that propane burner in your suitcase. Even in small towns and villages, local restaurants will usually have a few items on the menu that happen to be vegan.

Produce market in Tarragona, Spain

Produce markets in Spain are great for exploring

The following is a list of just some of the naturally vegan or easily veganized dishes Spanish cuisine has to offer.

While I've attempted to break them down into different categories, these are flexible. Is a parrillada de verduras a starter or a main dish? Are churros a breakfast item or a dessert? You get to decide!

As a vegan in Spain, your lunch may be made up of a combination of soups, salads and side dishes that come together to create a delicious meal.

Don't worry, this isn't weird, and in fact you'll find locals doing the same thing. This is the beauty of tapas culture.

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Vegan Breakfast Dishes

Spanish name


pan con tomate (a.k.a tostada con tomate)

Bread rubbed with puréed ripe tomato, olive oil, and salt or garlic

coca de vidre con tomate

similar to pan con tomate, but served on a thinner flatbread

tostada con mermelada


toasted baguette spread with jam

long sticks of fried dough sprinkled with sugar

Vegan Breakfast in Spain

Vegan Breakfast in Spain

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Vegan Soups and Stews

Spanish name



a cold, raw soup made of blended tomatoes and other vegetables

gazpacho de espárragos

a variation of gazpacho made with asparagus instead of tomato


a cold soup similar to gazpacho, but creamier as it's made with stale bread and olive oil

crema de verduras

a thick and hearty soup made from a variety of vegetables blended together

ajo blanco (a.k.a gazpacho blanco)

a cold soup made with garlic, stale bread and almonds

sopa de tomate

this one is a hot (cooked) tomato soup

[Note that, while these soups themselves are usually vegan, they are often topped with ham or egg, or both, so be sure to order them "sin jamón y sin huevo". In some places (especially in Extremadura), ajo blanco is made with egg yolks.]

Vegan Soups in Spain

Vegan Soups in Spain

Vegan Salads

Spanish name


ensalada mixta

mixed green salad, often served on a large platter in the centre of the table

ensalada de pimientos

roasted peppers, onion, tomato and olive oil

ensalada de zorongollos

An Extremaduran version of ensalada de pimientos made with a special type of pepper, and sometimes with potatoes

ensalada de pepino

tomato, cucumber and onion salad

ensalada verde


tomate aliñado

lettuce, tomato and onion salad

tomato slices with salt, garlic and olive oil

[Note: The first two salads listed above often contain eggs, ham or tuna, so order them with "solo verduras, sin jamón, huevos o atún" (only vegetables, no ham, eggs or tuna). On the bright side, creamy salad dressings are rare, and salads are usually dressed simply with olive oil and vinegar.]

Vegan Salads in Spain

Vegan Salads in Spain

Vegan Tapas

Spanish name




berenjenas fritas

fried eggplant, served with either honey (miel), molasses (miel de caña), or salmorejo (see soups above)

pimientos asados

roasted bell peppers

champiñones salteados

sautéed mushrooms

alcachofas salteadas

sautéed artichoke hearts

patatas bravas

chunky fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce

espárragos salteados

sautéed asparagus (ask for no mayo [sin mayonesa])

espinacas con garbanzos


roasted red pepper, eggplant and onion

espinacas con pasas

spinach with raisins, often also served with pine nuts (piñones)

patatas a la campesina

potatoes in a tomato sauce with onions and bell peppers

pimientos de Padrón

little green peppers from Galicia (some are hot and some are not!)

salsa de berenjena


a cold dip made from puréed eggplant

sauce made with tomatoes, garlic and nuts


fried vegetables, stacked and topped with tomato sauce - a Mallorcan specialty

There is an almost endless variety of tapas in Spain, and the above is really just a sampling of what you might find. As recipes vary, always check to make sure that what you order is vegan.

Vegan Tapas in Spain

Vegan Tapas in Spain

Vegan Main Dishes

Spanish name


parrillada de verduras


similar to ratatouille, with tomatoes, onion, bell peppers and eggplant or zucchini (ask for no egg on top)

champiñones al ajillo

sautéed mushrooms with garlic and olive oil

paella de verduras

rice and vegetable dish seasoned with saffron

Vegan Main Dishes in Spain

Vegan Main Dishes in Spain

Vegan Desserts

Spanish name


nuestro músico

assortment of nuts and raisins - a Catalan specialty


long sticks of fried dough sprinkled with sugar

fruta fresca

macedonia de frutas


fresh fruit (a common option in set lunch menus)

a fruit salad tossed with sugar, liqueur or fruit juice

sorbet (similar to ice cream, but made with only sugar, ice and fruit, without any dairy products)

Vegan Desserts in Spain

Vegan Desserts in Spain

Useful Words and Phrases

Non-Vegan Foods to Avoid in Spain

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caldo de carne or pescado

meat or fish broth





polvo de leche

powdered milk























productos lácteos











dairy products


egg yolk

Words to watch for: Of those listed above, the animal products that are most common in Spanish cuisine (and tend to sneak their way even into otherwise vegan dishes) are jamon, atún and huevos. Especially jamón. Curiously, dishes that are listed as vegetariano will often contain atún. Because we all know tuna is a vegetable :-/

Vegan Foods and Ingredients







setas, hongos, champiñones


soja, soya




leche de soja/soya

soy milk














lima beans



nueces, frutos secos


caldo vegetal


aceite vegetal




zumo, jugo*





vegetable broth


vegetable oil





*Some packaged juices in Spain have milk added to them. This should be clear from the packaging (there's usually an image of a splash of white liquid on the box), but look for leche in the ingredients list to be sure.

Phrases for Vegan Travel



Soy vegano/a*

I am vegan.



No como ningún producto de origen animal.

I don't eat any animal products.

¿Este plato lleva carne/pescado/huevos/lácteos?

¿Puedo pedir esto sin ... ?

Does this dish contain meat/fish/eggs/dairy?

¿Can I order this without ... ?



thank you

por favor


la cuenta

the bill

¡buen provecho!

bon appetit!

*If you are male, say "soy vegano". If you are female, say "soy vegana".

Brands that Make Vegan Products in Spain

A number of vegan products are available in regular supermarkets, such as Mercadona and Consum Cooperativa. Aldi is recommended by locals as a particularly vegan-friendly supermarket chain. In addition to those chains' store brands, the following brands also make vegan products:

Brand name

Products they make


Soy milk


Various types of plant-based milk, soy cream for cooking, margarine


Soy milk, yogurt, pudding-type desserts, soy-based meat products


Soy milk, cookies, crackers, etc.


Vegan cheese

Divina Teresa

Vegan meats and cheeses


Vegan ice cream (also makes dairy ice cream)

Gut Bio

Organic brand sold at Aldi, make plant-based milk and meat products

Many thanks to my fellow vegan bloggers, Kim from Brownble and Iosune from Simple Vegan Blog for their helpful local insights. You ladies rock!

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The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Spain

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About Wendy Werneth

Intrepid traveler, vegan foodie and animal lover. I uncover vegan treasures all around the world, so you can be vegan anywhere and spread compassion everywhere.


  1. It’s amazing!!! Great job 🙂

  2. one thing- they usually use caldo de pollo (chicken stock)for the soups like crema de verdura!
    the tapas around spain vary a lot- in andalucia you can try garbanzos con espinacas (chickpeas with spinach and lots of garlic and oil)
    in some restaurants that serve bocadillos (baguette sandwiches) like 100 montaitos you can ask for bocadillo de pimiento con tomate

  3. Great job, Wendy – you’re right, there are loads of possibilities, including menestra de verduras, quite common on a menú del día. As you’ve noted, you’d have to specify that you’d like it “sin jamón” 🙂

  4. Good job!
    Just one comment. In Sapin, Alpro brand is commercialized by Central Lechera Asturiana, a dairy company. Not sure why is that. But buying vegan Alpro milk in Spain we are supporting dairy industry.

    • Thanks Valle! It’s not always possible to completely avoid giving money to the animal agriculture industry, but of course it’s good to do so whenever we can. What other brands would you recommend instead?

  5. Wendy! I finally had a good chunk of time to read this AMAZING post! I’m sharing it right now on Brownble’s twitter and facebook. I thought it was comprehensive, so clear, delicious, and that guide to words you can learn … wow!! It’s so exciting to have someone like you writing a blog like this. I need a guide like this for when I visit Paris again and Rome! I can’t thank you enough for the mention.. you’re always too kind to me! I’ll be sharing to help spread the word. I laughed so hard about the vegan tuna I almost spit out the smoothie I was drinking! Here in Madrid when you order a “sandwich vegetal” it is basically a tuna, mayonnaise and lettuce sandwich. If you had to make it vegan it would be a lettuce sandwich! Crazy! And I remember once ordering a gazpacho and have shredded pig served on top of it. Oh boy! Fortunately vegan food is growing, especially with all the wonderful veg restaurants popping up all over. And there are a ton of traditional tapas. It isn’t Greece but we’re moving in the right direction… slowly 🙂

    • Hi Kim! Yay, I’m so glad you like it! And yeah, the tuna thing really makes me scratch my head. I’ve seen it a lot in France too, unfortunately. But you’re right about the veg restaurants popping up, especially in Madrid and Barcelona, and I’ve even seen a couple in small towns too. If you’re ever in Cáceres, be sure to eat at Brotes Verdes!
      Funny you should mention Paris, because I’m actually writing a post right now about vegan food in the airport there. I have lots of info to share about Rome too. Are you planning a trip there anytime soon? If so, let me know and I’ll be sure to get it out in time for you to use it.
      I’ve been thinking about you, with the launch of Brownble coming up. I hope it’s epic! You’re doing a great job, and I hope lots of people get to see it.

  6. That’s great!!! and thanks for your kind words Wendy! Not yet, but I think Rome might be my next one. I’ll let you know and will be glued to your blog to see if anything comes up. Yum!

  7. Awesome, Rome is my favourite place in the world, so be sure to hit me up for tips when you go. Did I ever tell you I used to be a tour guide there?

  8. Las patatas bravas usually comes with mayonaise and tomatosaus. Ask them with the sauce aside! It is saver!

    • Hi Elena, thanks for pointing that out. Yes, sometimes it does come with mayonnaise, so you could ask for it “sin mayonesa” to be safe. The spicy tomato sauce should be vegan.

  9. Fantastic article! I will be walking a portion of the Camino this spring and am so grateful to have come across this very helpful and useful information! Now to brush up on my Spanish pronunciation…

    • Thanks so much, Alison! That’s quite a coincidence actually, because I’ll be walking the Camino this spring too! I’ll be starting from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port around the 24th of May. If you think there’s a chance we might run into each other, do let me know. Have a great trip!

  10. Thanks for a great guide, we are printing it off and taking it to Gran Canaria with us next week 🙂

    • I’m so glad you find the guide helpful, Katie. I can think of a few vegan specialties in the cuisine of the Canary Islands that you might want to seek out in addition to the ones in this guide.

      Firstly, there’s the mojo sauce, which is actually a whole range of different sauces made with peppers, chilies, tomatoes, and various herbs and spices. Papas arrugadas (“wrinkly potatoes”) are a dish of salted and boiled new potatoes, which are served with a red mojo sauce.

      Then there’s gofio, a mixture of roasted grains from a variety of cereals and legumes. This is used to make various dishes, such as pellas de gofio – dumplings made with gofio, water, salt and oil. There’s also a dish called puchero canario, which is boiled vegetables covered with gofio dough.

      Have a wonderful trip to Gran Canaria!

  11. Please get rid of the share buttons down the left-hand side – they pl/hide text that we want to read.

    • Oh really?? Thanks for letting me know, Alan! What kind of device are you reading on? Someone complained of this awhile back when reading on an iPad, and I thought I had fixed it then.

  12. Hi I’m in Granada atm and I’d love to try churros but I’m not sure how to tell if heard suitable for vegans, how would I know? Thanks,


    • Hi Gigi!
      The best way is just to ask. In Spanish, you could say something like, “Los churros llevan huevos o leche? (Do the churros contain eggs or milk?)” In my experience, churros in Spain are usually vegan, as they’re made from a batter of flour, water and salt that’s deep fried and sprinkled with sugar. The hot chocolate that they’re often served with usually isn’t vegan, but you could dip them in coffee instead, or just eat them on their own. Have a great time in Granada!

  13. Hii, I soon have to travel with school to Bilbao (near Barcelona) and I am not able to choose to what restaurant we are going on any night and I do not think they will be happy if I ask them to alter my meal (we are in a group of over 100 people, most think im annoying them by being “picky”) 🙁 Are there some save dishes they can make almost everywhere? (Like plain pasta or potato wedges?)

    • Hi Sindy,
      Yes, absolutely! Here are some very common dishes that any Spanish restaurant should be able to make. You are almost guaranteed to find at least some of these already on the menu, but if not then don’t be shy about asking for them: gazpacho (cold tomato soup), patatas bravas (diced potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce; some places also add mayo, so ask for no mayo), crema de verduras (blended vegetable soup), parrillada de verduras (grilled mixed vegetables), and ensalada mixta (mixed salad, which will usually have ham, tuna and/or eggs, but just ask to leave these off). I promise you won’t go hungry. These are all simple but tasty dishes and are an integral part of traditional Spanish cuisine. Have a wonderful trip!

  14. Thanks for this. I just spent 6 weeks in northern spain walking the camino de santiago. I found it quite difficult being vegan and my advice would be to ask specifically what is in everything. As others have said- soups are often made with meat stock, the lentil soup has ham in it. Nearly everything labelled vegetarian will come with ham or tuna or egg so you must specifically ask every time for it to be without these. You can often get vegetable paella, and spaghetti with plain tomato sauce (though quite basic). Tapas is good in some places but varies. In cities I was surprised to find some vegetarian or even occasional vegan restaurants. And some supermarkets in cities would sell tofu, soy milk, hummus. I ate chips a lot, and the mixed salad. And where possible I cooked for myself- this was often the best option. And the point about the patatas bravas is correct- they usually cover it with lots of mayonnaise and ketchup so ask for it on the side or without. But it can be done! Thanks for writing about these options, your site is very useful.

  15. So happy to find your blog. I have recently become vegan and feeling so much better for it. I’m spend a lot of time in Spain so your info will be very helpful for me.
    I have tried numerous times to sign up for your free guide to being a vegan in Spain but I think there is a problem as I haven’t gotten anything back.
    Thank you for offering this info.

    • Hi Julie,
      I’m so glad my blog posts are helpful for you! I’m sorry you’ve had trouble accessing the vegan guide to Spain; I’m not sure what the problem is. I tested it with my own email address and it worked, so then I entered your email address that you entered when writing this message, and that seemed to work too. Did you receive it? Let me know if not!

  16. Hi Wendy, I stumbled upon your website whilst searching for info about walking the Camino de Santiago as a vegan. I downloaded your ‘vegan Spanish cheat sheet’ and needless to say I will be bookmarking this site for future reference. Many thanks, this is all really helpful! Happy trails 🙂

  17. This is fabulous! I am walking the Camino de Santiago in October. Do you have all of this in a printable document / pdf format? I would really love to print this and take it with me. Also you SHOULD write the book. Thank you.

    • That’s awesome, and thanks for the kind words! Yes, there is a PDF version of the guide that you can download. You should see a box at the bottom of the post where you can enter your email address to download it. If you’re having trouble with it, let me know. I guess you’ve probably seen my post on the Camino already, but if not be sure to check it out here:
      I would love to write a book about the Camino one day. I’m currently working on a different book about vegan food in Italy, but I think the Camino will be my next big book project. Which route are you taking, and where are you starting from? The Camino Francés is actually quite vegan-friendly these days, especially the latter stages from León onwards.

      • Great! thank you for the response! I signed up for the pdf. I’m walking the Ingles route in October, starting at Ferrol. I’ve heard this route is difficult for vegans. But I’m going to try my best! There are supermarkets in some of the villages where I plan to get fresh fruit and veggies. Your guide will help! I don’t speak Spanish, but I can point to the words.

  18. Mar Murube Muñoz

    Fantastic job Wendy! One more thing, some supermarkets (like Lidl and Aldi) are more vegan friendly than others. In my last trip (Jan 18) I even found a whole vegan Tortilla de Patatas in Lidl for less than 2 euros.

  19. Rajat Setia India

    Thanks for a big info on veg food in spain. Good advise & translations also Spanish words super work you have done. we are from India,for us it is very useful for veg food.

  20. Gill Plumridge

    Hi – really helpful thank you – I am off to Albacete next week to volunteer at a dog rescue – the people who run it say this is a very meaty, non – vegan part of Spain – I’m just wondering if you know a brand of margarine that is available in supermarkets – probably quite small ones?

    • Hi Gill,
      There is a vegetarian store right in the center of Albacete, called Naturalba. You can find plant-based margarine there along with lots of other more specialized products. There are even a couple of vegetarian restaurants in town – Embrujo de Granada and Sesamum. And when I was in Spain last month I was pleasantly surprised at how vegan products have become more widely available in mainstream grocery stores. Have a great trip!

  21. Madrid is a paradise for vegans? Oh boy
    I’m sitting here in Thailand with my Spanish partner and we’re chuckling over your article.

    Obviously she has lived in Madrid all her life and 50% of her friends are vegan and most of the rest are vegetarian and they all have a hard time eating out.
    Most prepare there own food at home as it is easier.

    You say your a vegetarian in any mainstream restaurant and they look at you like your any alien ? they 90%of the time give you a jamón tapas when you mention again you don’t eat meat they bring you tuna or something else that is non vegan.

    As for a majority of vegan options it’s a nightmare, most restaurants will serve you a piece of lettuce with tomato as this is the typical salad if you order any side dish salmorajo, habas, setas then your in for a surprise, all come with jamón.

    We frequently visit new vegan places with our Spanish vegan friends but in summary they still prefer to eat at home as the quality can be weird sometimes. 11 years in Spain and there’s nothing spectacular or trending like there is in Germany or the UK.

    Spain is a meat dominant country and our friends and family still today laugh at us for not eating meat and the joke continues on how we can live on a piece of lettuce.

    Granada is the only town we have visited where you can eat a good range of vegan vegetarian foods at mainstream places as they don’t put jamón in everything like in Madrid.

    Btw we shared the link with our friends and they are chuckling over the Madrid is a vegan paradise part.
    India is a vegan paradise, London is a vegan paradise, Madrid you cannot compare.

    • Hi Gary,
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m glad that you and your friends were entertained by my article! What can I say, other than that we each have our own unique experiences based on our unique attitudes, expectations and perceptions. Madrid is one of my favorite vegan foodie travel destinations. I visit the city regularly, and each time I am amazed by how many new vegan options have popped up since my last visit. For me, it is not far behind London and far surpasses India. While India is certainly a vegetarian paradise, avoiding dairy products there can be tricky. The number of fully vegan restaurants in Spain is much larger than in India, even though India’s population is about 30 times larger than Spain’s.

      Anyway, happy travels, and I hope you are having good luck finding vegan food in Thailand!

  22. Hello, Is there any information that you can provide on vegan wine in Spain?


  23. Hi Wendy!!! You could add the VHappy guide to find all of those fantastic Vegan or Veggie friendly places in Spain. It’s really practical and complete?

  24. Hi Wendy, great blog. I think that you could generate more revenue with better targeting your ad sense ads. It’s fairly straightforward and there are a ton of tutorials on YouTube and forums that will walk you through the process. I’m sure people would be happy to help support your high quality content with clicks and purchases from your ad sense partners if the were more targeted. For example now I am seeing an add for urinary incontenance which is relevant to me but maybe a good b12 supplement would be or a popular hotel or restaurant chain in Spain would be. It pay to target your ads.

    • Hi Jessie,
      Thanks for the kind words and for the advice 🙂 Actually, I don’t use Google Ad Sense. I’m part of a different ad network called Mediavine that manages the ads on my site. If you are seeing ads that are relevant to you, then that means the system is working as it should. The ads are personalized for each site visitor. I hope that clears things up!

  25. Beware of pork lard in pastries and sweets, as even croissants are often non-vegetarian in Spain.

    • Thanks for the heads up, Aung! Although in most cases pastries and sweets would also include eggs and/or dairy products anyway, so even without the lard they wouldn’t be cruelty-free.

  26. Thank you !!!! Thank you!!!

    • My pleasure, Joe! I’m glad you find it helpful. And I’m happy to report that Spain has become more vegan-friendly in the few years since I wrote this. In addition to restaurant options, the supermarkets also stock lots of vegan products these days.

  27. Olivia ODonoghue

    Andalucia has a great range of aliñadas tapas from potatoes to carrots, to beetroot and pimientos. Simple veg based dishes simply with oil and vinegar.
    I am just back from Galicia where turkey came in a salad sandwich. On that note, if you would like salad in a sandwich, it is referred to as “vegetales”, as opposed to “ensalada”

    • Hi Olivia,

      Yes, the “vegetal” sandwiches are something to watch out for all over Spain, not just in Galicia. Basically, any sandwich that comes with lettuce and tomato will be called a “vegetal”, even though it may very well also come with eggs, cheese, tuna or even ham. This causes lots of confusion for visitors to Spain!

  28. I was born in Southern Spain and have studied the traditional cuisine of my region, which, believe it or not, was largely vegan for most of the population until well into the 20th century. Now we have discarded all those dishes, or meat-ified them. At best, we reduced them to starters… for a meat or fish-based meal. Even ‘gazpacho’ was not the cold drink you find under that name today, but a (vegan) main dish that, along with (often vegan) garbanzos, rounded up the peasant’s diet. But then turning it into a drink (in the 50s and 60s) allows you to eat more meat.

    Unfortunately, nobody seems to be aware of this, and if you go to a veg*n restaurant in Spain you’ll find tofu, seitan, tempeh, pizza or burgers, rather than our traditional vegan cuisine.

    • Thank you for sharing your insights, Ebu! It’s a real shame that the traditional plant-based cuisine of Southern Spain has not been maintained. And I agree that it would be great if vegan restaurants would serve more local, traditional dishes. Those are the dishes I always try to seek out when researching the cuisine of places I visit.

  29. Thanks for the awesome article.
    I got a question, i couldn’t figure out,
    Does the vegeterian Burger King whooper is made on same plat as the meat ones? Peta said no, but when i asked(with my sad sad spanish And google translator) a worker on burger king, he said its different plat…
    Im not sure now… i know thr mayo is non vegan so i asked without mayo, the burger was AMAZZZZINGGGG,
    But if it is made on the same plate, i wont eat it again….

    Any idea, anyone?

    • To be honest, I don’t know and really don’t care what surface it’s cooked on, since that has no bearing on whether animals were harmed in the making of my meal. And for me veganism is not about personal purity, it’s about avoiding causing harm. If vegans make unrealistic demands about ensuring their food never touches anything that might be contaminated with animal products, I believe this will only discourage companies from offering vegan options, which will ultimately result in more animals being harmed.

  30. Visiting Spain soon, Thank you for sharing !

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