Vegetarian & Vegan in Spanish: A Complete Guide

Like many places, dishes in Spanish speaking countries feature plenty of animal products.

If you avoid meat and/or dairy and you’re learning Spanish, you’ve come to the right place.

By getting familiar with some plant-based vocabulary in Spanish, you’ll have a simpler time getting around when in a Spanish-speaking country. 

Fortunately, explaining that you’re vegetarian or vegan in Spanish is straightforward. 

How do you say vegan in Spanish

Vegan in Spanish is vegano (masculine) or vegana (feminine)

To explain to someone that you’re vegan, you can say:

  • Soy vegano 
  • Soy vegana
    • I’m vegan [o ending for masculine, a ending for feminine]

In this phrase soy comes from the verb ser and means I am

How do you say vegetarian in Spanish? 

Vegetarian in Spanish is vegetariano (masculine) or vegetariana (feminine).

To explain that you’re vegetarian in a Spanish-speaking country, you can say:

  • Soy vegetariano
  • Soy vegetariana 
    • I’m vegetarian [o ending for masculine, a ending for feminine]

If you’ve just decided to become a vegetarian, you might say, 

“He decidido ser vegetariano/a”


Me hice vegetariano/a”

Note that the word carne (meat) typically refers to beef and pork. If you say No como carne (I don’t eat meat), someone may assume that you still eat poultry and fish. 

That’s why the clearest option is simply Soy vegetariano/a.

How to say pescatarian in Spanish

If you don’t eat meat but you do eat fish, you can say:

  • Soy pescetariano
  • Soy pescetariana 
    • I’m pescatarian [o ending for masculine, a ending for feminine]


  • Soy vegetariano/a, pero como pescado 
    • I’m vegetarian, but I eat fish

You could also describe your diet as “una dieta pesco vegetariana”.

How to order vegetarian or vegan food in Spanish in a restaurant

Let’s walk through a sample conversation you might have with a waiter to order as a vegetarian or vegan in Spanish:

Hola, buenas tardes, ¿les puedo ofrecer algo de tomar? Hi, good afternoon, can I offer you anything to drink?
Dos cafecitos, por favorTwo coffees, please
¿Y algo para comer?And anything to eat?
Tiene comida vegetariana o vegana? Do you have vegetarian or vegan food?
Sí, tenemos estos platos aquí que son libres de carneYes, we have these dishes here that are meat-free
Y las chilaquiles vegetarianas, ¿llevan queso? And the vegetarian chilaquiles
Sí, llevan queso frescoYes, they have queso fresco
¿Pueden ser preparadas sin queso? Can they be made without cheese?
Claro, no hay problemaSure, no problem
Bueno, entonces voy a querer las chilaquiles vegetarianas sin queso, por favorAlright, then I’ll have the vegetarian chilaquiles without cheese please

*Note that the phrase “puedo tener”, literally “Can I have” is a common mistake English speaking learners. Spanish speakers don’t actually use this phrase to order food. Instead they use phrases like the above, or things like “Quiero + item”, “Me trae + item”, “Me da + item”, “Para mí, [item], por favor”

What about if you’re ordering something that has meat or non meat options (Where it says something like “Pick your protein”). 

Las enchiladas, por favor[your order] The enchiladas, please
De pollo o carne de res? With chicken or beef
Sin carne ni pollo, por favor, soy vegetariano/a

(Alt:Con frijoles en vez de carne, por favor)
Without chicken or beef, please, I’ve vegetarian.

(Alt: With beans instead of meat, please)

How to ask if a certain dish contains meat / cheese

To find out what ingredients a dish contains, you can use the verb llevar + the food item:

Lleva queso o crema? Does it have [lit., does it “carry”] cheese or cream in it?
Lleva pollo? Does it have chicken in it?
Lleva pescado? Does it have fish in it?
Lleva carne? Does it have meat in it?

Asking around for vegan or vegetarian restaurants in Spanish 

Say you just arrived in Mexico City and want to ask your hotel receptionist about vegetarian or vegan options in Spanish. Here are a few phrases you can use:

  • ¿Hay restaurantes vegetarianos por aquí cerca? 
    • Are there vegetarian restaurants near here?
  • ¿Somos veganos, conoces por acaso algún restaurante vegano? 
    • We are vegan, do you happen to know of any vegan restaurants?
  • ¿Conoces algún restaurante con comida vegetariana/vegana? 
    • Do you know of any restaurants with vegetarian/vegan food?

Vegetarian-friendly in Spanish

The exact phrase “vegan-friendly” or “vegetarian-friendly” doesn’t translate perfectly into Spanish (that’s more of an English word combination).

The simplest would be:

  • Restaurantes que sirven/tienen comida vegetariana
  • Restaurantes aptos para vegetarianos 

How to read the menu and find animal product vocabulary in Spanish

Sometimes, the simplest thing is to read the menu yourself and figure out what you can and can’t eat. Here is a short list of animal product foods in Spanish. That way, you can scan the menu and avoid dishes with these items. 

Leche (de vaca)(Cow’s) milk
Carne de resBeef
Carne molida
Ground beef/meat
Pez espadaSwordfish
CalamarSquid / calamari

How to read the menu and find vegetarian or vegan options in Spanish

Plant-based drinks in Spanish

Soy milkleche de soya
Almond milkLeche de almendra
OatmilkLeche de avena
Without milksin leche

Plant-based foods in Spanish

Fruitla fruta
Nuts Con nueces
PeanutsCacahuete, cacahuate (Mex.), maní (S. America)
Almondslas almendras
Oatmealla avena
Toast tostada
Bread el pan
Wheat breadpan integral
Beans frijoles, porotos (S. America), k=judía (Spain)
Corn El maíz, elote, choclo
RiceEl arroz
Potatoeslas papas
Vegetableslas verduras
SaladLa ensalada
Sweet potatoEl camote
Mushroomslos champiñones
Spinachla espinaca

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Hey there, I'm Connor. I help motivated learners speak Spanish without slogging through grammar books or tapping through every new app. I started Breakthrough Spanish to give more people the confidence and focus to learn effectively Spanish from home. Learn more about me here.

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