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  • Writer's pictureAround the World in Vegan Eats


Updated: Jul 25, 2023

When it came to brainstorming Spanish food ideas, there was one dish that was first on both of our lists: paella!! So when we planned a trip to the sunny Catalonian city of Barcelona with my brother, we were determined to find time to try this delicious Spanish staple - made vegan, of course!

We were so impressed with Barcelona for many reasons: the city is sprawling, but still has a neighbourhood feel; there is so much going on, so much to see and do... and their vegan scene is incredible too! So there was no doubt that we would be able to find an excellent plant-based paella in Barcelona, but we wanted to make sure that the one we tried really was something special. Read on, then watch the video at the end of the page, to see where we tried authentic, vegan paella in Barcelona!

But wait, what exactly is paella?

This famous Spanish rice dish is named after the large, shallow pan that it is traditionally cooked in (paella means frying pan!). Often you'll see paella being cooked in huge batches, in an enormous pan over an open fire, and then served to order! The other most notable thing about paella is its yellow colour: typically, the rice that forms the base of this dish is cooked with saffron, for that unmistakeable hue.

Though you'll see paella all over Spain, you might struggle to find one that is vegan without lots of research. That's because, even though paella has lots of different variants, they are almost always very meat-heavy. The most common paella you'll see across Spain is seafood paella (you'll often see prawns, shrimp and mussels topping the fragrant yellow rice), though the original recipe actually uses rabbit, chicken, duck, and green beans! In modern paella, chorizo has become a staple ingredient too. Though green beans, tomatoes, and other vegetables sometimes feature in a paella, it is rare to find them with no meat at all... but have no fear! If you're travelling to Barcelona, we've found an authentic, delicious paella, made entirely vegan!

Where did we try vegan paella in Barcelona?

If the food of Spain is paella, the drink has to be sangria... so we headed to Bubita Sangria Bar in Barcelona. This traditional Sangria Bar specialises in various delicious artisan sangrias, and has a small food menu too. The great news? Their food menu is entirely vegan, and features three different kinds of paella! We could not wait to give their food and drinks a try!

So come on - tell us all about the paella! How did it taste?

We decided to try two types of vegan paella while we were visiting Bubita, to sample the ones best replicating Spain's most popular paellas: one featuring vegan 'seafood', and a vegan chicken style paella too.

The Vegalenciana Paella was their version of the traditional Valencian paella, which would historically include chicken, rabbit, duck, depending on what was convenient or preferred at the time. To recreate this dish, Bubita use Heüra plant-based chicken: and wow, this mock chicken is one of my favourites in the world, and fit really well with this dish. We found the Vegalenciana to be really flavoursome: that unmistakeable saffron yellow contrasted really well with the juicy red peppers, bright sweetcorn, and the artichoke, which added extra flavour (and is another traditional paella ingredient). With a squeeze of lemon on top, this paella left me with no doubt that I was eating a Spanish national dish, and it was really tasty too!

We also tried the Marisko, which was Bubita's vegan seafood paella. Though we definitely both preferred the Vegalenciana, this is most likely because we both much prefer mock chicken to mock seafood, so it is totally just a case of personal preference! The ability to try this dish with vegan prawns was excellent, and I have no doubt that for all you plant-based seafood fans out there, this is absolutely the paella for you! It was a little oilier than the Vegalenciana, but was still very flavoursome; and aesthetically, this dish was incredible! The paella was presented beautifully, with the lemon wedges on the side, sprinkled herbs on top... and we loved that they were served in mini versions of the traditional paella dishes too!

How much did the plant-based paella cost - and was it worth it?

Both the vegan chicken and seafood paellas cost €14.50 each (approx. £12.55 or $16.14). This is a little on the pricey side, but we felt it was pretty good for an authentic version of a national dish, including high-quality branded mock meat! There is also a mixed vegetable paella on the menu for €1 less.

The staff and the bar were lovely - and a special mention to their sangrias! We really recommend you check them out while you're in Barcelona!

Have you tried vegan paella in Spain? Or elsewhere in the world! Where did you go and what did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.


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The centre of Vienna with tall, historic buildings all around
The Sagrada Familia is a must-visit in Barcelona!

Where should I stay?

The most expensive thing you'll likely pay for in Barcelona is your accommodation. But there are some cost-effective solutions. If you're up for a cheap, but clean and friendly dorm, Sant Jordi Hostel Gracia is really loved within this city, with a convenient location and modern facilities. For really beautiful, boutique-style private rooms, close to some of the many attractions, try Primavera Hostel - one of the top rated hostels with private rooms in all of Barcelona!

Tours & Experiences

There is a lot to see and do in Barcelona - and because the city is pretty spread out, it can be difficult to know how to maximise your time and see everything. We are very used to organising our travel time, and still we didn't manage to see everything on our list! If you're short on time, or prefer a professional to do the planning and coordinate the travel for you, this Barcelona in One Day tour includes transportation between all of the top sights in the city! Or if that's not for you, check out some of the top-rated Viator tours below!

Please note that the tours displayed below are automatically selected for their popularity by Viator, not chosen or recommended by us. Please check whether any food or drink based tours are suitable for your dietary requirements, and any animal-based experiences are ethical, before booking!

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