A recent survey has revealed that the number of vegetarians in Portugal has risen about 400% over the past decade. It also found the frequency of consumption of meat and fish to have reduced. According to the Portuguese Vegetarian Association, this survey clearly shows that plant-based diets are a fast-growing tendency in Portugal and that the vegan lifestyle is increasingly popular amongst the young population.
In large supermarkets all over the country, vegetarian food has become easily available. From a large choice of beans, lentils and nuts, which are already much used in the traditional Portuguese kitchen, you now also will find many soya meat replications, tofu, seitan and other meat replacement products. You also have several specialized stores, like Celeiro, Go Natural and Miosotis, just to name a few.
But as we stated above, you can easily eat vegetarian in any local restaurant in Portugal.
If you don’t eat meat but fish there is no problem, fish is on just about every menu. Portuguese are passionate about fish and you will always find the traditional Bacalhau (cod fish) or fresh grilled or oven baked fish.
You don’t eat meat or fish? Then besides eggs and cheese, which are always available, here are some dishes you need to try out. Traditionally, Portugal is a country where fresh fruit and vegetables are consumed at every meal. Bread and olives are offered as soon as you walk in any Portuguese home and restaurant. Vegetable soup is the main starter at lunch and dinner at every restaurant and Portuguese are very keen on it. Most Portuguese soups are vegetarian, and no cream is added, only olive oil. You should also try “Açorda” and “Migas”, which are found all over Portugal; the base is made with bread mixed with olive oil and different seasoning and then beans and cabbage can be added. Not all are vegetarian but a lot of them are or could be if requested. It’s delicious mixed with salad, and it fills you up pretty good, perfectly nutritious meal. Chickpea “grão” is also used a lot in the traditional Portuguese kitchen and is prepared by mixing chopped onion and fresh parsley, simple yet delicious! Fruit is always available for dessert and some desserts will be vegetarian, but please check with the restaurant.
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