Instead of worrying about not being able to locate food that works for me, I try to approach mealtime as a way to practice my Spanish and of course, have a great meal. Especially in small towns or out of the way places your desire to not eat meat will often be met with a blank stare. I encourage you to explain further, not just saying “soy vegetariana” but also ” no como carne o pescado o pollo! Say it with a big smile and a shrug and perhaps suggest something like “¿Hay verduras o queso?” ¿Puede prepara unos quesadillas para mi?” (Do you have vegetables or cheese? Could you prepare quesadillas for me?)
For an in depth Spanish language food vocabulary, I refer you to Linguasorb for their great list. Below are some of my most used phrases.
I am vegetarian – Soy vegetariano (men) Soy vegetariana (women)
Can you prepare this without meat? ¿Puede preparar esto sin carne?
I am allergic to _________. Tengo alérgia a _____________. (Sometimes this is much easier than explaining you just don’t want to eat meat!
Is this soup prepared with chicken stock? ¿Esta sopa está preparada con caldo de pollo?
What would you recommend? ¿Qué me recomienda?
Do you have vegetables or cheese? ¿Hay verduras o queso?
Could you prepare quesadillas for me? ¿Puede prepara unos quesadillas para mi?