During the last decade in Europe, a substantial vegetarian boom was noticed: nowadays, between 5 and 10% of Europeans are vegetarians. However, those constantly growing numbers do not assure them of being welcomed in every country. Being vegetarian or vegan can even prevent you from visiting some destinations, especially in Central Europe. Luckily, Slovenia is not one of them: this culinary heaven has some pretty good options to offer you.
Slovenia is obviously no meat-free zone. Nevertheless, this is one of the Central European countries where being vegetarian or vegan will be less stressful. Indeed, you will find in Slovenia some friendly culinary traditions, many vegan organizations, and events, but mostly great veggie products and fantastic restaurants.
Let’s find out what your many vegeta*ian options will be in a land of amazingly fresh food and rich culinary tradition!
A Heaven for Fruit and Vegetable Lovers: Slovenia’s Tradition
You will rapidly notice that eating in Slovenia will not be a plight, but a great chance and pleasure. Slovenians are, too, extremely fond of natural and simple products. Fruits, vegetables, and diverse kinds of grains compose a significant part of their alimentation.
Their culinary habits and customs will then allow you not only to eat fantastic food but also to share their experience, their way of life, and to immerse themselves in the country truly. Vegetables, for example, are everywhere in Slovenians’ lives. Some grow them on their terraces, balconies, or gardens. They also have a passion for herbs, that they put in their dishes, teas, and even schnapps.
A lot of Slovenians are also used to go pick vegetables or green weeds in the forest. You will probably have the chance to talk to them, as they are many to have a stand at Ljubljana’s daily market. The gatherers will offer you an impressive variety of great mushrooms and berries.
Indeed, finding veggies and fruits in Slovenia is really easy, since the place has an abundance of marketplaces offering fresh and local products. They mostly come directly from the forest, nearby farms, and orchards. If you are looking for more specific products, go directly to one of the town’s many organic shops, or even to regular grocery shops that always have dedicated sections for local and organic food.
However, if you are not staying so long in Slovenia, I would recommend that you eat out to discover more about the Slovenian traditions. They do not cost much, and they will offer there are plenty of vegetalian or vegetarian options to explore, whereas you go to regular restaurants or specialized ones.
Veggie Friendly Culinary Tradition
I know that food is one of the most essential satisfaction factors when you are visiting a country. It totally has the power to determine whether you will appreciate it or not. In the case of Slovenia: do not worry, I guarantee you will love it and ask for more time there!
Here is a non-exhaustive selection of your many choices there. You will have the opportunity to select dishes from many different restaurants with diverse inspirations and products that will represent most Slovenians’ culinary customs.
Meat-Free Traditional Dishes
First, you cannot go to Slovenia without tasting at least one of the most famous Slovenian dishes. You will see later that you can adapt the traditional versions to make them suit you, but the best part is that there is already some choice for you!
I admit that this will be more difficult for vegan there, but I will not leave you starving. On the contrary, one of Slovenia’s most popular street food dishes is ordinarily convenient for you. Indeed, the traditional bürek, in its spinach version, is technically supposed to be vegan: there is no meat or cheese in this one. However, I recommend you to ask the owners or waiters, just in case. Vegetarians can enjoy it with spinach or cheese according to their taste.
The buckwheat porridge, one of Slovenia’s specialty, is also totally suitable for vegans, as several other buckwheat dishes. This cereal is one of the most popular grains in the country. However, as often, vegetarians will have more options.
Slovenians are particularly fond of dairy products so that you will find there an impressive quantity of meals based on kefir, the most popular Slovene white cheese, or again skuta, a kind of Slovenian ricotta. There are also many dishes that include cream.
The better creamy option for veggie lovers is undoubtedly the traditional mushroom soup. In Slovenia, every family gathering or restaurant menu (ask for the meni in Slovenian) includes a classic soup, and this regardless of the weather. Most of them are vegetarians, but the mushroom one is the absolute go-to.
For the main dishes, one of the best and safest bet is the Istrian idrijski žlikrofi, some pieces of ravioli. Like many other Slovenian dishes, there are plenty of versions of with among them many vegetarian ones. The porcini mushroom is probably the best if you can only try one.
One of the other choices with many flavors is the Štruklji. They are made of rolled dough wrapped around a wide variety of fillings. Štruklji is an unmissable dish to try when you visit Slovenia, and you are lucky to be vegetarian: it can get really hard trying to choose the filling that will suit you the most.
A restaurant in Ljubljana is even dedicated to them; Moji štruklji Slovenije, the house of Dumplings. There, you will be able to choose between about 20 different fillings. They also exist in sweet versions that are more often likely to be suitable for vegans.
Adaptable Versions of Slovenian Classics and Other Influences
If you want to taste other typical products, you can capture the Slovenian culinary essence by adapting with some twists the most Slovenian dishes. The culinary tradition in Slovenia includes, for example, a lot of different stews and sauce dishes. You can easily eat a variant of them.
Some hot pots as the famous Celery one can be turned vegetarian easily: cutting off the meat will not make it less enjoyable. Šelinka, which is a traditional dish from the Kras area, is made of rice, celery, beans, and potatoes, with a little drop of dry wine or vinegar. Other vegetarian versions can be more thick soups or hearty stews.
The Slovenian culinary tradition also reflects a mixture of influences and cultures that shaped the country. This way, there is a lot of Italian products and dishes amongst the Slovenian favorites.
Vegetarian Slovenians and tourists can thank these influences because it significantly broadens the vegetarian offer. In Slovenia, you will find a wide range of cheese and vegetable pizzas, diverse kinds of risottos, and also some potatoes dumplings, the famous Italian njoki.
Sweet Teeth Inclination
However, vegetarian, vegan, or meat-eaters will all agree on one thing: Slovenia’s best specialties are its desserts. Slovenian people live in a wonderful country that produces a lot of excellent pastries and cream cakes that will make your mouth water. Sweets are the best part of the Slovene culinary culture and are definitely worth the try.
As vegetarians, you do not have to worry. Very few of them include pork gelatine, as they are mostly simple cakes or pastries with excellent and straightforward products. Prekmurska Gibanica, Bled Cream Cake, and their take on pancakes are great discoveries that you will be able to enjoy carefully.
For vegans, it is more laborious like always, but most shops and restaurants are trying to include you too, especially in Ljubljana. Adaptable versions of Poticas, Slovenia’s most famous dessert, can easily be made vegan. There are plenty of different vegan tastes available, such as apple, berries, and walnuts.
However, if you are coming to Ljubljana, I beg you to go for vegan ice creams. You will find them almost everywhere, you will have a wide variety of choices, which is quite rare, but most of all, they will be delicious. I particularly recommend the Rose Sorbet served at Vigo Ice Cream and merely every single one from Cacao. They are enormous, cheap, and really tasteful.
Vegetarian and Vegan Convention: The Vegafest Experience
A young vegan festival is developing in Slovenia and making her proud. Every year in Ljubljana since 2013, usually in Summer, the center of the town hosts around 50 stands and many activities to make people discover vegan products.
It is the opportunity to learn more about animal suffering and the vegan way of life with many workshops, lectures, exhibitions, and performances. However, one of the main highlights is the delicious food you will eat there.
To conclude, Slovenia and especially Ljubljana will welcome you vegeta*ians with open arms. You will be able to enjoy your trip as anyone else but, more than that, you will discover an amazing culinary experience unparalleled in the area. There are plenty of places and events that will make you feel included, understood, but above all, that will satisfy your appetite for food and Slovenian culinary tradition!
If you read all the article you are probably either Vegan or Vegetarian. So, what are you waiting for? Get to Slovenia and try all the vegan and vegetarian restaurants that will leave you replete and eager to come back!