It’s time to talk about food. Mmmm… food.
I have been a vegetarian since I was 13 years old and while the reasons behind it have changed and become more of a lifestyle, which nowadays is growing and trendy, there are still times someone asks me a stupid question (I’m not going into that right now because that is a whole another discussion). Let’s just say everyone’s diet should be just that, their own diet aka personal.
I’d like to go vegan myself, but I love cheese too much. I know it’s selfish! I also love to make authentic Spanish tortilla de patatas (see above, sadly mine don’t look like that) which again would not be possible without eggs. Someone would point a finger to me now saying “you haven’t tried hard enough” and “you can make your own vegan cheese”. No, not interested. And yes I can and I have made it. But in the end, these are my personal life choices and vegan cheese, well… that is not cheese. Like I said, I can make it and eat it while enjoying a vegan month or two, but I don’t care to eat it all the time. Not even the good recipes.
I buy organic eggs and local products as much as I can, they are more sustainable and really also just better. Quality matters they say! I even sometimes eat fish but I want it to be sustainable (MSC marked) but I don’t consume milk or yoghurt. Instead I use wheat, soy, almond or other products.
Anyways back to the point FOOD. How can you find vegetable protein sources in Madrid and how much do they cost? What are the best places to shop special products?
The best stores to find vegetable protein options (in my opinion):
El Corte Inglés
Al Ahorro Supermarket
The problem with some of the vegetable proteins is simply the fact that they don’t have a word for it. I mean it hasn’t been translated and when you ask for it in a regular supermarket, nobody knows what you are asking for. You really need to go to a big or a medium size store for these products – your corner shop sells just the basics.
To help you out, know what you are asking for:
- Quorn – microproteína de hongo (mycroprotein from fungus, made in the UK)
My favourite, you can make sauces, lasagna or whatever.
- Seitan – gluten de trigo (made of wheat gluten)
Fine on occasion, but I really don’t care for the texture because it feels like a stake or maybe I just don’t know how to do it.
- Tempeh – soja fermentado (traditional soy product from Indonesia)
Great for woks and buddha bowls, at least in my opinion.
- Tofu – prepara con semillas de soja (coagulating soy milk)
It has to be marinated before use, but it’s great for woks, soups and such. Originally from China.
- Textured soy – soja texturisada (soy meat, soya chunks)
I usually use this with pasta sauces, quick and easy.
If you know Spanish, you can google the shit out of bunch of web pages like these: http://nutricionvegana.org/alimentos-vegetales-ricos-en-proteinas-por-cada-100-gramos-en-la-dieta-vegana-100-vegetariana/#
What I have found so far is seitan, textured soy and tofu but I have to be honest… I like to eat outside so I haven’t cooked co much even though I like cooking. I have found some vegan and vegetarian restaurants that are growing trend, I can also share the best ones (at some point) here for you to enjoy, if you end up travelling to Madrid.
I also have found places where you measure your ingredients yourself, so there will be no waste or plastic bags. I love it. One of these nature shops is El Granel which is in the Calle Corredera Baja de San Pablo 33.
This street has amazing restaurants and coffee shops as well! It’s worth a visit.
Here are some prices and products, mostly from Carrefour BIO and Mercadona.
Just keep in mind when you ask for a vegetarian toast, it might come with ham. Fish counts sometimes as a vegetable as well. And last but not least – always read the labels in the store before buying!
I found a new store! It’s called Bio C´Bon and it’s even bigger than Carrefour Bio. Not the cheapest, at least the more “special” products but worth a while to visit!
Also Madrid Vegano webpage has a lot of good information, tips, stores, restaurants and events!
I went to one of their fundraising events, met very nice people and had the chance to try out how Spanish people cook vegan food.