25 Awesome Vegetarian Peruvian Food Options That Aren’t Rice

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Traveling through Peru I didn’t think much about vegetarian peruvian food options.

At the time I was writing about awesome peruvian fish soup, traditional peruvian ceviche and if Peruvian fast food chain Bembos was better than McDonalds.

I wish I had better documented eating in Peru, I took the diversity and culture of Peruvian food for granted.

It’s been a couple years since I was last in South America but I get a lot of questions about vegetarian food in Peru.

I wanted to created a resource for all my vegetarian friends.

It is possible.

Remember that meat is often a luxury so many communities survive on vegetables and splurge occasionally on meat.

I’ve included both dishes that include eggs as I met many vegetarians on the road who decided to eat eggs while traveling.

As well in some cases I’ve indicated where you can ask for a vegetarian version of a meat dish. 

Vegetarian Food in Peru

Causa is just one of many peruvian food options for vegetarians. Vegetarians in Peru need not worry, check out this list of great vegetarian food in Peru.

Causa

Most commonly found in the coastal region of the country, causa is made with layers of Peruvian yellow potatoes alternated with different fillings. 

It is possible to order vegetarian options can include salad vegetables, cheese and yams among others.
 

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Rocoto Relleno

One of my favourites, rocoto relleno originated in Spain but it’s now typical in Arequipa.

This dish has many vegetarian varieties and those with stuffings made with meat.

These peppers are usually stuffed with boiled eggs and cheese, while red onions and garlic are also common ingredients in the vegetarian versions.

Lucuma

The lucuma is a fruit that generally grows in the higher altitude areas of Peru.

And while the dry flesh isn’t great by itself, when it is used for tarts, ice cream and smoothies it really does make for tasty local treats.

In some cases lucuma is raw and vegan like the dish above.
 

 
Papa a la Huancaina is just one of many peruvian food that is traditionally vegetarian. There are many vegetarian options in Peru for travelers.

Papa a la Huancaina

There are more than 4,000 types of potatoes in Peru, which means many potato dishes for both vegetarians and meat eaters.

Originating in the area of Huancayo, this dish is usually served as a starter.

It is made with boiled yellow potatoes that are served on lettuce leaves with olives, corn and boiled eggs.

It is smothered in a creamy and spicy cheese sauce.

Escribano Arequipeno

This potato salad is a very simple dish that is made by mashing potatoes, rocoto peppers and tomatoes together. 

It is said to have been invented by the clerks and scribes of Arequipa who crushed these together as they enjoyed a post work drink.

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Papas a la Ocopa

You can’t escape potatoes as it’s a key ingredient in many Peruvian food.

This potato based dish is commonly served as a starter, and can be found throughout the country.

The boiled potatoes are smothered in a peanut sauce, and then often served with a salad, and fried cheese.

 

Ensalada de Pallares is just one of many peruvian food dishes that vegetarians can eat. Vegetarian options in Peru are many, check out this list of the top 25 vegetarian dishes in Peru.

Ensalada de Pallares

Lima butter bean salad is made with lima beans, onions and tomatoes.

It is served with a fresh citrus dressing made of olive oil, vinegar and lime for a lovely summery taste.

When ordering just make sure no fish are in the dish as it’s sometimes an option.

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Solterito

Originating in the city of Arequipa in the south of the country, this salad makes good use of the choclo corn that is so popular in the region.

It is combined with tomatoes, olives and salad greens.

There are also versions also served with rocoto chili peppers and chunks of fresh salty cheese.

 
Cheese empanadas are just one of many peruvian food options for vegetarians. Vegetarians in Peru need not worry, check out this list of great vegetarian food in Peru.

Empanadas

Found across the country, empanadas have several vegetarian versions to counterweight those that include meat. 

Vegetarian fillings for these tasty pastry pockets usually include eggs, cheese and plantains.

Juane

This is a dish that is often found in the jungle areas of the country, and was named in honour of John the Baptist.

It  is made by combining eggs, olives and rice, which are wrapped with spices before being cooked slowly.

There are many versions that include meat, so check before digging in.

 
Locro de zapallo is just one of many peruvian food options for vegetarians. Vegetarians in Peru need not worry, check out this list of great vegetarian food in Peru.

Locro De Zapallo

Locro is a traditional stew that is found throughout the Andean regions of South America.

This version replaces meat with butternut squash, which is stewed with corn, potatoes, onion and garlic.

It is then finished with herbs, red pepper sauce and cream.

Arroz al Olivar

Just one rice dish!

This rice based dish is often a side to meat dishes, but can also be eaten by itself.

The rice is cooked with olives, onion and evaporated milk, with plenty of garlic, salt and pepper to add flavour.

 
Pastel de Alcachofa is just one of many peruvian food options for vegetarians. Vegetarians in Peru need not worry, check out this list of great vegetarian food in Peru.

Pastel de Alcachofa

A tasty artichoke based dish has a similar texture to a quiche without the crust.

It is made with eggs, breadcrumbs and plenty of cheese, before being baked until it sets.

It is served in slices. As with many other dishes, there are versions that include meat as well.

Huevos a la Rabona

This popular breakfast foods is one of the best ways to start the day in Peru. 

It is made simply with fried eggs on top of a slice of fried bread, which is then finished with onions and chili pepper used to garnish.

Chupe de Habas

A cilantro flavoured soup has plenty of vegetables to provide a sustaining meal.

It includes potatoes, fresh beans and onion, along with cheese and eggs.

It is usually served as an appetizer in most places.

 
Puchero is just one of many peruvian food options for vegetarians. Vegetarians in Peru need not worry, check out this list of great vegetarian food in Peru.

Puchero

This stew is one that is commonly served during festivals in Peru. 

And while most are made with beef and pork, the vegetarian version is made with corn, peas, carrots and potatoes, along with more exotic ingredients such as peaches which add to the flavour.

Caldo Verde

Peruvian food has seen many influences over the years, and this soup includes the Chinese cabbage pak choi, along with eggs, potatoes and garlic. 

It is then served with cubes of cheese to finish the presentation.

Sopa De Verduras

This vegetable soup is one of the common vegetarian food in Peru.

It can be made with a variety of carrots, potatoes, onions, broccoli, cabbage and celery.

Although watch out for those that have chicken or dried meat added at the end of the cooking process.

Crema de Tarwi

This soup is one that makes good use of the legume that grows in the Andes region of the country.

The tarwi contains high levels of protein, meaning that this hearty and creamy soup which is also very sustaining if you are traveling in the region.

Purtumute

Most often served in the Amazon region of the country, this stew is prepared with local varieties of beans and corn.

It is topped with coriander to finish the dish.

 
Chirimoyas are just one of many peruvian food options for vegetarians. Vegetarians in Peru need not worry, check out this list of great vegetarian food in Peru.

Chirimoya

Often known by its nickname, the custard apple, this fruit can be bought at markets throughout the country. 

Once cut open and de-seeded, it makes for a wonderful snack, with plenty of vitamins and minerals too.

 

Juice out of Camu camu berry fruits from Peru (lat. Myrciaria dubia) which are grown in the Amazon region and have a very high Vitamin C content (Selective Focus Focus on the front rim of the glass)

Camu Camu

This fruit is most commonly found in the Amazon region of the country, where it is harvested from bushes that grow along the river. 

In the rest of Peru this is often used to make smoothies and desserts, although it is increasingly being dried and exported due to its high vitamin C content.

 

Have I missed any? Let me know your favourite Peruvian food in the comments below!

Image credits @floridecires, alan sheffield, a comer pescado, Luis Tamayo, el collectionista de instantesGwendolyn Stansbury

Pin it for Later: Peruvian Food that is Vegetarian

 

Join the Conversation

  1. Wayne Seto says:

    Hi Ayngelina, came to find your blog by way of your follow of me on Twitter. Love your blog as I love travel and food also! Read your bio and it resembles mine to a large degree. I’m currently on a year career break myself. I’m not sure where the year will take me but coming across your blog has given me a burst of inspiration. Cheers 🙂

  2. Custard apples are so tasty! It’s Vegetarian Week here in the UK and I might just have to check out a Peruvian restaurant, your photos just make everything look delectable! Is it just me, or do empanadas look like traditional cornish pasties? Ha!

  3. My mouth is watering!!!

  4. Margie S says:

    I’ve heard so many great things about Peruvian food and how it’s so different in terms of taste and texture. Those really look so interesting I’d love to try. Hopefully Peruvian food starts spreading so we can get them at the local shop.

  5. Izy Berry - The Wrong Way Home says:

    You can prepare amazing dishes with these products. Lucuma looks delicious!

  6. I will be in Peru in about a month … I’m so excited to eat all the food there!

  7. Palta rellena is another typical dish that can easily be ordered vegetarian. A half of an avocado filled with a salad like mix of peas, diced carrots and more. Great on hot days. Another choice would be humitas, small sweet tamales made of corn. There are really lots of great options !

  8. Austin James says:

    Thanks for sharing! Its quite hard to find good vegetarian dishes on the road 🙂

  9. Radisson Blu Cebu says:

    simply mouth- watering! would certainly like to try the puchero as its version here in the Philippines is made from beef and pork and stuffed with veggies and ginger too. more power always.

  10. Excellent compilation…papa a la huancaina is my favorite, I also LOVE ensalada de caigua and tallarines verdes. Peru is a treasure trove of amazing food!

  11. Swati Saroha says:

    Nice post. Its very difficult for a vegetarian traveller to survive in a country where search out of vegetarian food is a great task. But you did a great think for them. Excellent food.

  12. You are a lifesaver! A friend’s parents are taking me out to a Peruvian restaurant and I had no idea what I could order. Now I’ve got several things written in a notebook. Thanks!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Very cool, so glad I could help!

  13. You forgot tallarines verdes. It comes with a steak or chicken, but now most places sell the dish without. It’s so good!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You’re right! Such a great noodle dish!

  14. Matheus Hobold Sovernigo says:

    Granadillas are also great! Have you tasted them? They’re like sweety passion fruits grew in the Andes mountain.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yes! They are also known as passion fruit. It was so tough to create a post that didn’t just have all the amazing fruit in Peru.

  15. Really nice!
    Useful content, congrats!

    Have a look at my vegetarian guide to Peru and let me know what you think! I should have featured this article !

  16. Marie-Pierre Breton says:

    Love this post! I’ve lived in Peru, Huanchaco, for a years and a half so it’s a place close to my heart! I do have found some of the best potato dishes (vegetarian also) in Peru, their cuisine is exceptional! A lot of Japanese influence also! Got my best sushis ever in Peru. My Spanish teacher was always talking about how fantastic quinoa is, especially the red kind she would say… quinoa is a great Peruvian grain that is now pretty popular worldwide! They have an excellent quinoa stew (guiso de quinua) made with potatoes, fresh cheese, onion and a special herb called huacatay. The choclo is spectacular also, served in many many dishes or simply dried up and salted, those big grain corns are great. The famous palta which is a gigantic avocado is a nice one too, making salads of all kind with it! Although smaller avocado are tastier in my humble opinion. Nice to see posts about Peru;) Good thing it’s about vegetarian dishes… otherwise you would have to talk about “cuy”…

  17. Great article! Would you know of any vegan Peruvian food?

  18. Alison Ryde says:

    Don’t forget quinoa soup, which comes in veg and non veg versions. Very nutritious, perfect light dish for when altitude suppressed your appetite….

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      How could I forget the quinoa!!!

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