This is a guest article from our friend Stuart who is a vegetarian.
Having decided about two years ago to become a vegetarian, mainly for reasons of environmental concern, I find myself still adjusting to that lifestyle choice. I don’t miss meat, despite having eaten some form of animal product with every meal for the first thirty three years of my life, nor am I lacking protein in my diet, but finding organic fruit and vegetables that haven’t travelled half way around the world to get to my plate can sometimes be a challenge. Thank goodness that we still have farmers’ markets!
At first glance, it may not seem such a good place for farming with all that black rock and dust; but Lanzarote has a surprising number of small-scale farms selling their vegetarian produce at the local market. The most well-known of these markets is in Teguise every Sunday, but I prefer the smaller ones; in particular, my local market in Mancha Blanca. It may not be huge, but there is a large choice of food, varying slightly with the seasons (yes there are seasons here too); from fruit and vegetables, to grains, bread, cheese and fish. The majority of the produce is from the immediate vicinity, and a decent proportion of it is organic, although it is rarely labelled as such, so be sure to ask. La Finca Ecológica de Tres Peñas is a wholly organic farm just outside Puerto del Carmen, but it has stands at many of the island’s markets. If you’re in Teguise, be sure to visit Rogelio´s stall too, usually next to the Tres Peñas stall.
Shopping with local farmers has the advantage of being close to home, and puts you in direct contact with the people who work the land and provide your food. It also makes shopping a much more interesting experience than a trip to the supermarket, and your money goes straight to the farmer and stays on the island. You can reduce your environmental impact further by taking your own reusable shopping bags, and learn some of the local dialect whilst you´re there too.
To find your local market, click here – Lanzarote Markets
If you can’t make it to the market, some of the health-food stores which are becoming more common here now, sell baskets of local produce, and in some cases may even deliver directly to your home.
Finding a restaurant with good vegetarian options is more challenging. I love some of the local specialities like papas arrugadas, queso fresco, gofio, or pimientos padrones, but almost everything else is cooked with meat or fish. I can also make a better salad at home than I’ve found in any restaurant so far, and I don’t consider canned tuna to be an acceptable vegetarian option! I have discovered a couple of exceptions however:
In the little fishing village of La Santa, Restaurante Verde Mar offers the best options in my opinion, for non meat eaters. They always have a number of options for both starters and main courses, where salad is the side option and not the main feature. Beetroot risotto and lentil crumble are two of my favourites and I could eat the falafel every day.
Also in La Santa is the bar-café Yemaya that do a great veggie burger and a tasty stir-fry.
In addition, there’s a fully vegan restaurant in Arrecife, called V Factor.