My Favorite Vegetarian European Food Dishes & Desserts

[The array of Stroopwafels at van Wonderen Stroopwafels in Amsterdam]
Like pretty much every other human out there, I LOVE FOOD. And when I’m in a new country the first thing I want to do is, well, try ALL of it (the vegetarian options, that is).

Because I don’t have a bottomless pit for a stomach, I haven’t had EVERY veggie option out there, but these are the things I’ve tried and liked and felt compelled to share. If you have any suggestions, feel free to share! I’m always looking for new things to stuff into my stomach.

[Stuffing my face with Swiss Alpine Macaroni]

BELGIUM

Sandwiches (aka broodjes) – All the sandwiches I ate in Belgium were soooo good. They were made on a long baguette, and had some sort of tangy spread (which, to be honest, might have just been mayonnaise but it tasted better since it was Belgium mayonnaise?)  that really brought all the flavors together. There’s a chain shop, Panos, which actually had quite good sandwiches!

Fries (frites) with Andalouse Sauce – Belgium is KNOWN for its fries, and there are small stands or “friteries” everywhere! They usually have a million different sauces to try, but I really loved andalouse sauce! It’s some sort of ketchup mayo lemon pepper hybrid that melts like butter in your mouth, and adds a tangy zing to each perfectly crisp fry.

COPENHAGEN

Brunch in Copenhagen, Denmark consists of a variety of small portions
[Check out that spread! I’m one of those people that loves to try EVERYTHING, so this was my dream meal]
Brunch – So this isn’t a traditional type of food per se, but I think it would count as a traditional dish! On the weekend, it’s really popular to have brunch with a smorgasboard of different items. I love this because I’m the type of person that likes to try EVERYTHING. It is pretty pricey though (I think we paid about $20 USD each) but definitely worth trying at least once.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Svíčková is a delicious traditional dish from the Czech Republic, made with beef (tempeh if vegetarian), dumplings, cranberries, whipped cream, and a cream sauce
[Svíčková, aka the love of my life and reason for my entire existence]
Svíčková (but the veggie version) – Traditionally made with beef, but I got the tempeh version last time I went (which I will sadly admit was not as good as the meat version). I only tried one place, though, so there’s still hope! Anyways, it’s covered in this delicious sort of sweet cream sauce, a dollop of cranberry sauce (which normally I hate but with this it’s DIVINE), whipped cream, and a side of dumplings (which are actually pillows of the softest bread you’ve ever eaten, not the Asian dumplings I was picturing). If you go to the Czech Republic, please do yourself a favor and order this dish. I ate it for almost every meal the first time I went there.

ENGLAND

Sticky Toffee Pudding – Moist (lol don’t you just love that word) sponge cake with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream or custard. I had it for dessert all the time when I was in England!

FRANCE

Croissant and macarons at Laudurée in Paris, France
[Croissant and macarons at Laudurée – get the croissant from an actual bakery and the macarons elsewhere! I felt like they weren’t that great at Laudurée]
Croissants (extra points if it’s a chocolate one) – DUH. France has the BEST croissants, I swear (and I’m pretty much a croissant connoisseur at this point). Freshly made, the perfect combination of soft and doughy and flaky…I think it’s time for another trip to Lyon.

Nutella and banana crepes are a popular snack in France
[These are actually crepes we got in Sweden lol – I didn’t have any photos from France! But they are banana and nutella crepes nonetheless!]
Nutella and Banana Crepes – Also predictable, but also SO FREAKING DELICIOUS. And cheap. And delicious.

Macarons – Of COURSE these are on my list!! Although I stand my ground that the ones at Laduree are overrated and overpriced.

Gelato with a macaron from Amorino
[Gelato is even better when you top it with a macaron!!!! Luckily Amorino, the place that serves these, is a chain you can find in most big cities in Europe]
I’d have a longer list besides pastries, but there aren’t a ton of traditional vegetarian French dishes. Besides the mouth watering bread. I could eat that shit ALL DAMN DAY.

GERMANY

Kartoffelgratin is a traditional potato and cheese dish from Germany, eaten here at Oktoberfest
[I still have no idea how to say this dish’s name, but it was like one of the only vegetarian things I could find at Oktoberfest that looked DELICIOUS – and it was]
Kartoffelgratin – Potatoes and cheese dish (potato gratin) that I had at Oktoberfest! To be honest, I pretty much love anything involving potatoes and cheese.

GREECE

Tiropita – Cheese pie made of flaky phyllo dough and melty cheese goodness. Need I say more??? They’re also REALLY cheap at all the bakeries – about €1.50 if I remember correctly. I ate these ALL the time when I was pinching pennies my second time abroad. Plus a lot of the bakeries are 24 hours. I rest my case.

Spanikopita – Spinach cheese pie. See above for details.

Souvlaki – I believe this is named for the type of meat they use, but I just got the veggie version. It’s basically lettuce, tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, and FRENCH FRIES (the thick, crunchy soft kind that leave you breathless, and no, I am absolutely not exaggerating) wrapped in heaven aka pita bread. And some sort of sauce that is made of smiles and dreams and rainbows. They’re also stupid cheap and you can get them at almost any food stand (at least on the islands). I think I paid about €2.50 for each of mine (cheaper since it was veggie)? I had AT LEAST one per day when I was in Paros and Santorini.

ISRAEL

Shakshuka, or eggs in tomato sauce, originated from North Africa but is now a very popular dish in places in the Middle East, such as Israel
[We had this Shakshuka in France actually, but it was one of my favorite things to eat when I was in Israel]
Shakshuka – I know this isn’t originally an Israeli dish (it originated in North Africa), but it is a very popular Middle Eastern meal, and definitely eaten often in Israel. If you’ve never had it, please do yourself a favor and find a restaurant near you that serves it!! Or even try and make it yourself (it’s pretty damn easy). It’s basically just eggs cooked sunny side up surrounded in tomato sauce. And maybe it sounds weird, but I assure you – it is AMAZING.

Halva – This is another thing that people either love or hate. It’s kind of hard to describe, it’s a sweet dish that’s kind of crumbly and fluffy at the same time. Popular flavors include pistachio, vanilla, and chocolate. It can be kind of an acquired taste, but I really enjoyed it!

Challah Bread – A pretty braided bread that is doughy and soft and full of flavor. At my university there was a club that made it with different toppings mixed in – my favorite was chocolate and peanut butter. YUM.

Hummus – DUH. You HAVE to try hummus in Israel. It’s even common to eat it for breakfast with cucumber or carrots and the like.

ITALY

Just stuff your face with pasta and pizza. All forms of it. And lots of gelato.

NETHERLANDS

Stroopwafel topped with chocolate and hazelnuts from van Wonderen Stroopwafels in Amsterdam
[I dream about this every single night]
Stroopwafel – Have you ever tasted perfection? You may think you have, but if you haven’t had a stroopwafel I assure you that you have not. A stroopwafel is two thin cookies sandwiched around a gooey caramel filling. IT IS SO SO GOOD.

NORWAY

Brown Cheese is a unique and popular food in Norway
[I had celebratory brown cheese on a cracker after I finished hiking Fløyen and Ulriken in Bergen]
Brown Cheese – I am one of those people that LOVES brown cheese! Apparently most people either love it or hate it. I think it tastes like sweet cheddar, so count me in. It’s popular to eat it on top of waffles, but I used mine on crackers and melted over roasted veggies!! YUMMMM.

SCOTLAND

Vegetarian Haggis in Scotland
[The brown stuff is the veggie haggis, in case you were wondering]
Vegetarian Haggis – it’s actually quite good. The one in the photo was made with lentils, peas, carrots, and some other yummy stuff.

SWEDEN

Swedish Chocolate Balls (Chokladbollars) – Again, I’d love to have had more things I loved from Sweden on this list, but most of their traditional meals have meat in them! Ah well. But these chocolate ball things were DIVINE. It’s basically oats, cocoa, butter, and sugar rolled into a ball and rolled in sprinkles or coconut flakes. You eat it raw and it is LIFE.

SWITZERLAND

Rösti, a traditional Swiss cheese and potato fritter dish, is eaten commonly in Switzerland, especially in the Alps
[Doesn’t this Rösti just look delicious???!!!!!]
Rösti – It’s basically potatoes and cheese and onion fried together in a pan. And probably lots of butter. View of the Swiss Alps is optional, but increases the enjoyment of this dish tenfold. 10/10 would recommend.

Swiss Alpine Macaroni, or Aelplermagronen, is a pasta with applesauce, potatoes, and cheese served in the Alps in Switzerland
[Overjoyed about my Swiss Alpine Macaroni]
Alpine Macaroni (aka Aelplermagronen) – A pasta dish with cheese, potatoes, apple sauce, fried onions, and a side of happy tears.

Traditional Swiss Fondue is made of cheese and eaten with bread, boiled carrots, and potatoes - try it in Switzerland!
[FonDO you know what I’m sayin’]
Fondue – A traditional Swiss meal! This is the first thing that came to mind when we asked our Swiss AirBnb hosts what we should eat while in Switzerland. And bonus, they offered to make it for us!!! Best AirBnb hosts EVER. Apparently everyone in Switzerland knows someone (usually a grandma, according to our hosts) that has a fondue pot. And then you all gather round and dip pieces of bread, potato, and carrot into the melted goodness and sip (or gulp, I’m not judging) white wine. If you accidentally lose whatever you’re dipping into the fondue in the pot, you have to clean up afterwards! So don’t do that, because cleaning melted cheese out of a pot is a BITCH.

I’m still roaming about Europe, so I’ll probably (hopefully) be adding to this list soon! And adding to my stomach 🙂

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