Like most people in the world I’ve been in lockdown and one of my quarantine projects was to get my 2016 Camino del Norte/Primitivo notes into some kind of readable format. You can find the full pdf version of ‘There You Go’ on Scribd here. Find the chapter about things to take with you here.
Here’s the chapter about vegan food. What can you eat in the north of Spain if you prefer to eat plants? Lots. Buen provecho means bon appétit – or happy eating!
If I ate out I usually had salad and chips but normally I prepared food for myself. I carried two plastic containers (which fit inside each other for travel). The larger proved useful as bowl with the lid as chopping board. The smaller kept teabags or oil/vinegar sachets. One little fold-up knife and one of those plastic splade/spork things. I did not carry coffee. Better to buy it at morning tea/lunch time to meet some other pilgrims and to use the facilities! Always good to have an excuse to use the bathroom.
IMPORTANT NOTE: ALWAYS carry tissues. Many public toilets don’t have toilet paper. Or the toilet paper is outside the stalls. Gather BEFORE going inside!
Most albergues do have some kind of stocked kitchen; fry pan, pot, plates, cups and cutlery together with some kind of microwave or even an oven. Check the kitchen first before you go shopping!
Commonly available from Supermarket/Herboristeria (or farmacias)
STUFF TO CARRY
(if you have room in your small, light pack)
Dried cup-o-soup (miso/veg) or low salt veg stock cubes
Crisp breads / corn/rice cakes / tostadas – CRISPY BREAD SNACKS are everywhere and super excellent – watch out – some flavours are really salty
Smallest possible museli
Wholemeal pasta (can cook in half a soup cube and chuck a chopped fresh tomato/can of peas thru it)
Single-serve integral rice/quinoa/chia – there’s a pre-cooked version made by Brilliante (most albergues have a microwave at least – if not, you’re having salad!)
Small almendra (almond) /arroz (rice) /averna (oat) milk
Dried fruit and nuts – can often buy loose from large health food shops or fruiteria
Individual oil/vinegar/salt packs
Mini patés – there’s a smashed black olive one I loved and the mushroom one is good
Mini nut butters – watch out for the really sweet almond one! Surprise!
BROCCOLI or kale chips!! Other chips will do too – there’s some nifty chili corn chips that are vegan!
Multi-vitamins for those weak days
Your fav tea bag – mine was a relaxing/chamomile type thing
Fresca (fresh) from Fruiteria or market stalls
You can buy separate single things from ‘mom & pop’ type stores and have a funny friendly conversation! (eg can often buy just a few strawberries) And for peas or beans I normally mime a handful (un mano, por favor? Es possible?)
NO TOCAR – Don’t touch! The mom/pop will pick up and bag your items for you. You must speak! All the fruit and veg!
(I was surprised when I first saw a fellow pilgrim eat a whole punnet of blueberries at a sitting and then I thought, why not? All the fruit!)
Things to cook into the pasta/rice
a carrot (also handy to eat raw as snack as are red peppers – big in Vit C)
little green pimientos
Handful of leaves
Peas or beans
Keep your eyes peeled for things on the counter near the knife – and watch previous shoppers; sometimes you can get a rodaja (tronza) de calabaza (slice of pumpkin)
a slice of col (cabbage)
I normally say ‘una pequena, solo para yo!’ and we all laugh and smile …
AND watch out for an already cooked batata (sweet potato) from surprising bakers
For the salad: leaves, of course
Other common things from the fruiteria/market
Handful of walnuts – many rice/pasta dishes are improved with the addition of walnuts!
Cocktail mix of fruit and nuts – salty with big chunks of corn
SMALL – not to carry – eat that night
Tin of peas
Can/jar roasted peppers
Jar of asparagus
Jar of cooked beans
If sharing then Mercadona do a nice guacamole and there’s a choice of hummus – but perhaps you can manage a whole container on your own with some delicious bread?
Things to order in cafes
Breakfast/morning tea – tostada integral con tomate y aciete (normally in deal with zumo de naranja y café) – tomato on toast with olive oil and garlic or a variation thereof.
say: Soy vegetariano/a – vegano/vegana (I am veg – a is for girls)
say: SOLO VERDURAS (only vegetables)
say: SIN PRODUCTOS DE ANIMALES (without animal products)
say: SIN (without) jamon (ham pronounced hamon) atun (tuna) queso (cheese) huevos (eggs) miel (honey) mayo (unless it’s vegan!) leche/lactosa (cow’s milk) nata/crema (cream)
say: Por favor (please!) Muchas gracias (thank you!)
Churros! But make sure the choc is made with water.
Parrillada or Escalivada de verduras (roasted vegetables DELICIOUS! – hold the mayo)
Zanahorias aliñadas (marinaded carrots)
Esparagus con aciete
Gazpacho (or Salmorejo but hold the eggs and ham)
Pimentos al padron (those little green peppers roasted SO YUM with nice bread and oil)
Espinachas con garbanzos (spinach and chickpeas)
Setas or Championes al Aljillo (mushrooms, garlic and olive oil)
Pisto (roasted vegetable stew like ratatouille)
Ajo Blanco (chilled almond soup – haven’t tried this yet, sounds great)
Crema de verduras (veg soup)
Ensalada mixta; (lechuga, maiz, tomate, esparagus, pepino, pimento, acuacate
¡SIN PRODUCTOS DE ANIMALES
Here! She says it better! The Nomadic Vegan!
Depending on how hungry you are you may need to ask if there is any dairy-free bread. Sometimes there is.
In Oviedo there was a lactose-free spelt specialist baker. Pan sin lactosa.
It depends how hungry you are. If you don’t ask, there’s always the chance it could be … (most bread in Spain is made with milk. Sorry.)
AND remember to use Happy Cow – the friendliest café with vego options can be found in the most unlikely places