7 Traditional Spanish Dishes You Need to Try

Discover the diverse flavors of traditional Spanish cuisine! From the classic Paella and Tortilla de Patatas to refreshing Gazpacho, delicious Croquetas, Gambas al Ajillo, Pulpo a la Gallega and sweet Churros con Chocolate.

Start on a culinary travel to Spain and discover its diverse and delicious cuisine. Explore the rich flavors of this Mediterranean cuisine and indulge in a culinary adventure like no other.

Spanish cuisine is characterized by a rich yet simple combination of ingredients, including garlic, onion, spices, herbs, and olive oil. As for cooking methods they typically involve frying, baking, or stewing.

Spain, traditional cuisine, paella, shrimp, rice

However, Spanish cuisine is not homogeneous, as culinary traditions vary by region based on local cooking tips and climatic conditions. Traditional Spanish cuisine is therefore diverse and unique, influenced by Greeks and Romans, Moors and Arabs and Italians.

Spaniards are skilled in cooking seafood and meat dishes. As a Mediterranean cuisine, traditional Spanish meal is generally healthy. The recipes include ingredients such as rice, vegetables and fish. Whether you are planning a trip to Spain or just looking for some culinary inspiration, you will not want to miss out on these traditional Spanish dishes. So, let us get started and discover the flavors of Spain together!

1. Paella is one of the most popular dishes in Spain. It is made with rice and spices. The recipe has originated in Valencia and was created by Moorish monarchs' servants who combined leftover food with rice. Paella means "leftovers" in Arabic. Another legend suggests that a fisherman made paella for his wife with whatever he could find in the pantry, hence the name “for her” – from Spanish “para ella”. The key ingredient in paella is rice, which is selected and cooked in a specific way known only to real Spaniards. Saffron and nyora are important seasonings, and the broth used depends on whether the paella includes meat, fish, or vegetables. Traditionally, seafood is added to the rice, but nowadays, innovative versions can be found with rabbit or shrimp.

2. Tortilla de Patatas has a rich history that dates back to the 19th century. Today this omelette is popular among both locals and tourists. It is often served as a tapa or small appetizer in Spain. The dish can be found in nearly every bar and restaurant.

To make this omelette, sliced potatoes and onions are fried in olive oil until they are tender. Then potato slices are mixed with beaten eggs. The mixture is then cooked in a frying pan until the eggs are set and the bottom is golden brown. The tortilla is then flipped over to cook the other side until its golden brown as well.

Tortilla de Patatas is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and can be enjoyed both hot or cold. When you are ever in Spain, be sure to try this classic Spanish omelet and experience the delicious flavors of Spanish cuisine.

3. Croquetas is a delicious meal originally came from France. In Spain they can be served as a side dish, appetizer, or tapas. Cookers use a variety of ingredients. Small pieces of meat or ham are rolled in egg and breadcrumbs and then fried in oil. Some recipes even use mashed potatoes instead of breadcrumbs. Croquetas are typically fried oval-shaped balls. In Barcelona you can enjoy them in cafes and restaurants. You can also purchase pre-made croquetas or pre-made mixtures of cooking them to make at home.

4. Gambas al Ajillo is one of the most popular tapas in Spain, and it is not hard to see why. This simple yet delicious dish contains a few ingredients: garlic, chili, olive oil, and shrimp. The shrimps are cooked in the garlic and chili-infused oil until they are tender and flavorful. Shrimp with garlic and chili originated in Andalusia, a region in the south of Spain. Then the dish spread all over the country. Itis often served in Spanish bars as a tapa with a glass of wine or a cold beer.

5. Gazpacho is a traditional Andalusian dish. It is made with fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and bread. The cooker blend ingredients together to create a smooth and creamy soup that is served cold. Gazpacho is very popular in Spain, especially during the hot summer. It is often served as a starter or light lunch. The prototype of original gazpacho was a dish, made from bread, butter, garlic and grape vinegar. The ingredients were a part of medieval peasant diet. As time passed, ingredients like tomato, cucumbers, and peppers were added. To make it more filling, Spaniards may add meat or fish to the soup.

6. Pulpo a la Gallega, the Galician delicacy, has become so popular among Spaniards that you can find it served in many restaurants and tapas bars across the country. Typically served as an appetizer (tapas), this dish can also stand on its own as a main course. The key to a perfect Pulpo a la Gallega is achieving a tender and soft texture for the octopus meat.

The classic recipe for this dish involves seasoning the octopus with paprika, olive oil, and coarse salt. It is often served with boiled potatoes on the side. In Galicia, octopus is also known as polbo á feira, and it is traditionally boiled in a copper cauldron and served during religious and national holidays or fairs (known as "feira" in Galician). While there are many recipes that feature this Atlantic mollusk, the Galician octopus, prepared with olive oil, paprika, and coarse salt, remains a favorite among Spaniards.

7. Churros con Chocolate are a classic Spanish dessert that you simply cannot miss! These fried dough pastry sticks are the perfect treat, especially when paired with a thick hot chocolate cream.

You can find churros stands or specialized cafes in most cities and towns throughout Spain. They are often served piping hot and crispy. Now in Spain it is a tradition for young people to eat churros after a fun night before returning home. It is also customary to have churros for breakfast on January 1, after the New Year. To get the best churros experience dip them in the thick hot chocolate sauce and savor every bite!

In conclusion, these traditional Spanish dishes are a must-try for any foodie or traveler who visits Spain. From the iconic Paella and classic Tortilla de Patatas to refreshing Gazpacho, delicious Croquetas, popular Gambas al Ajillo, Pulpo a la Gallega and sweet Churros con Chocolate. Spanish culinary scene offers a variety of flavors and textures that are sure to meet any palate.

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