One of the best ways to learn about a culture is through its food. And there is a huge variety in Spanish food!
As you travel from one end of the country to the next, you’ll find a wide range of different dishes and specially made local cuisine.
Want to bring a little piece of that wonderful Spanish tradition to your own home? Hosting a fun get-together with friends and want to impress them with a little international flair? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Read on to find a list of the most common, and easy to make, Spanish dishes.
Depending on what region of Spain you’re in, you’ll hear these delightfully fun little dishes referred to in different ways. They may be tapas, they may be pinchos… there’s no real consensus as to what the difference between the two terms is. That’s neither here nor there, however.
One thing is for certain, though. If you think Spain and food, it’s not a stretch to immediately think “tapas”. Tapas are a huge part of the Spanish culture. While the presentation and selection may change based on what region you’re in, you can be sure that no matter where you go in Spain, you’ll surely experience the “tapa culture” in one extent or the other.
The important thing is that they’re amazing, and many of them are very easy to make!
This is the true staple of the Spanish diet. No, it’s not paella! The seafood based rice dish is originally from Valencia (a region located in the south east, bordering the Mediterranean). Paella’s popularity has spread throughout the country, but it definitely does not outrank the Spanish Tortilla for most common Spanish food consumed from one coast to the next.
This is one of those recipes that can be prepared tons of different ways and it seems like everyone has their own preferred method handed down to them from their grandmothers. You can add in ham, cheese, green pepper, anything really!
But, for now, here’s the basic ingredient list:
Find the full recipe at foodnetwork.com.
You’ll notice that simply “oil” is mentioned above. In Spain, everything is made with olive oil. This is definitely recommended. However, you’ll find in the recipe provided that sunflower oil is listed.
The hardest part of this recipe is definitely on of the last steps–the flip. It might take a little practice to get it right, but don’t get discouraged! We’ve all spilled a little egg on our hands while trying to master this deceivingly tricky recipe.
This extremely common tapa is a greasy mess, but it’s very yummy. It includes a variety of the most common Spanish foods–potatoes, eggs, Spanish ham or Chorizo–and mixes them all up in a single dish packed full of flavor and artery blocking deliciousness.
Here’s what you’ll need to prepare your broken eggs:
Find the full recipe at about.com.
Depending on where you live, it may be hard to find chorizo. You’ll notice that the recipe also mentions Serrano ham (which is usually even more difficult to get your hands on) and a type of sausage. You can substitute this for any other kind of sausage, but to keep true to the Spanish chorizo-type feel, it’s best if it’s just a little “picante” (spicy).
You’ll notice that potatoes form a very consistent part of Spanish cuisine… This recipe is also another very common dish you’ll find in almost any bar. There are a lot of different varieties of the “Salsa Brava” (spicy, tomato based sauce) with some being chunky, some being smooth, and some mixed with mayo to add a more creamy texture.
Here’s a list of ingredients to make a pretty fair combination of the different varieties you’ll come across:
Find the full recipe from allrecipes.com.
Like potatoes, but not a fan of tomatoes? Want an alternative to the Patatas Bravas recipe mentioned above? Don’t worry, Spain has yet another potato dish that’s very common, easy to make, and pretty yummy.
Patatas Alioli can still have a little kick to them, being that one of the main ingredients is garlic. The sauce is creamy, and has a mayonnaise base. It’s not healthy, but it definitely is tasty!
Here’s what you’ll need to make this dish:
For the potatoes:
For the sauce:
The most complicated part of this dish is making the potatoes. To fry them up just right, here’s the recipe from about.com.
For the recipe to make the sauce, also check out about.com.
This recipe is typically made with pork–pork tenderloin to be exact. It’s very simple and has a lot of flavor. Instead of Roquefort, you can use Blue Cheese and get the same, mouth-wateringly delicious result!
This is something you can prepare as a meal in itself (as in the picture above). But, if you want to keep with the fun, Spanish tapa feel, that’s very easy! This dish, served commonly in bars, is typically offered as a “tosta”. This means that it’s served over a slice of toasted bread (generally a slice of baguette).
To make the sauce, you’ll need the following ingredients:
For the sauce recipe, check out food.com.
The meat is simply pork tenderloin, sliced into pieces, about a ½ inch thick. Add a little salt and pepper, sauté both sides, and set aside. Once your sauce is done, toss the pork back in the skillet, heat it back up, and you’re ready to go!
The full, Spanish recipe is actually hard to find in English. However, here’s two step-by-step videos, in Spanish, guiding you through the process. And, you’ll get to practice your language skills as well! To watch out these videos from youtube click HERE or HERE.
If you’re looking for something a little more light than the tapas listed above, why not try a typical Spanish soup or salad?
This is a very traditional cold tomato-based soup. It’s perfect for those hot summer days, and works great as an appetizer or quick, healthy snack. It’s very refreshing, and has a smooth, light taste that will leave you wanting more.
To prepare this dish, you’ll need:
Find the full recipe at foodnetwork.com.
This is a quick, easy dish to prepare, and a very common item on any Spanish menu. It’s an interesting twist on the traditional salad, and filled with flavor and light, crisp ingredients.
To make this salad, you’ll need:
For the full recipe, check out food.com.
Everyone loves a good dessert! In Spain, desserts can range from anything between light, fluffy pastries to bowls of fresh fruit. You will find cheesecake on most menus, and ice cream is very common as well.
There are two desserts, however, which are very “typical Spanish”. And, here’s how you can make them for yourself!
Okay, so, this might not be the easiest of recipes to make, but it’s super delicious, and very traditional in not just Spain, but other Spanish speaking countries as well. It’s not so much the technique, but the process that is a little more complicated than other recipes on our list. But, if you’re willing to put in the effort, you won’t regret it!
There aren’t too many ingredients, and they are:
For the full recipe, go to allrecipes.com.
Anytime you eat in a Spanish restaurant, you’re almost guaranteed to find this item on the dessert list. This sweet, creamy treat with a light dusting of cinnamon is the perfect way to end any meal.
To make it for yourself, you’ll need:
For the full recipe, go to foodnetwork.com.
You can’t have a meal without having a drink to go with it. What drink is more Spanish than Sangria? This light, refreshing wine-based beverage is perfect for warm summer days, and a pitcher will certainly lighten up any gathering.
There are tons of different sangria recipes. The basic idea is to combine red wine, rum, juice, and lots of fruit in a bowl and let the flavors mix together to create an intoxicatingly (literally) delicious drink!
To make this for your next event or just to enjoy on a warm summer’s afternoon, you’ll need:
For the full recipe, go to allrecipes.com.
You’ll find, if you do a quick search, that some sangria recipes call for club soda as well. This is a great way to add a little bubbly zest to your drink. In Spain, this specific drink (sangria+bubbles) is called “tinto de verano” (summer red), and is also very popular with locals and tourists alike!
Spanish food is quite delicious, and not very hard to prepare. Whether you’re putting together a “tapa” night with friends, or just looking to spice up your weekly menu with some international treats, you can’t go wrong with a Spanish tortilla or a plate of Solomillo al Roquefort. And who’s going to say no to a cool, refreshing glass of Sangria?
What do you think? Do you have any other Spanish recipes you enjoy making? Make sure to share it in the comments section.
If you’re traveling to Spain soon, this phrasebook would be an awesome companion!
Anastasia is a Chicago, Illinois native. She began studying Spanish over 10 years ago, and hasn’t stopped since. Living in Spain since 2012, she loves Spanish tortilla, vino tinto, and anything that contains jamón ibérico.
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