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  • Diane Lawton

how to make vegetarian dishes FROM Lanzarote INGREDIANTS

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

The first time I saw Lanzarote from the air, it looked like someone had taken a pair of scissors and snipped off pieces of the North African Sahara. It is one of 7 oddly shaped islands in the Atlantic with an almost year-round sunny climate.

The two recipes here using Lanzarote ingredients, are Easy Garlic Soup and Stuffed Red Peppers. Speed up the cooking time of the Stuffed peppers, by buying ready-cooked brown lentils in jars from the supermarket, instead of the dried variety which need cooking first.

The Greeks used to call the 7 Canary Islands the Fortunate Islands. From the air, Lanzarote looks as stark and bare as the Sahara after a camel stampede. Before the flight swooped to land I immediaely fell in love with its volcanic landscape, fringed by golden sandy beaches, turquoise ocean and its interior, of low built whitewashed houses.

What has Lanzarote got to offer the vegetarian you may ask.

A cornucopia of succulent island-grown fruits and vegetables await the discerning visitor. The food markets show off the island’s colorful bounties. From passion-fruit, pineapples, peaches, mangoes, bananas, strawberrys, lemons, fat cloves of garlic, sweet onions, plump moist figs, sweet potatoes, avocados, olives, and capsicums and the tiny potatoes known as papas arugadas. I have also tasted the spiky cactus fruits, when in season and nibbled on cactus burgers made on a hot grill in Teguise Sunday market.

The first time I ate garlic soup on the island was in the village of La Santa. It is a dish from Castilla-La Mancha, famous for its garlic. I turned it into a vegetarian revelation. Normally it is a rich stock containing slices of roasted garlic, paprika, and cumin. Find poached eggs hiding under finger-lickin garlic bread, sprinkled with parsley makes this dish almost a main course. This soup is NOT traditionally vegetarian, it can contain chorizo sausage and meat stock. However, it is easily made at home in 15 minutes, using vegetarian ingredients.

For the vegetarian in Lanzarote, tortilla is another favorite, famous throughout Spain. Most café bars in Lanzarote have it freshly-made every day. When ordering a tortilla, remember it is usually made with eggs, onions, and potatoes. Ask for it sin carne, without meat. Some chefs use chicken, tuna, bacon or garlic sausage.

Lanzarote Bread: Many villages on the island have their own bakery or panaderia, which opens every day of the year. The delicious white bread, though not famous for the pretty Celtic knots, plaits and twirls of France and Italy, does not usually contain preservatives. A sprinkling of health food shops (or Herbalarios) and organic growers also serve the health-conscious population.

Dairy: If you are not averse to dairy, the goat cheeses, milk and yogurts from the queserias artesanals (or cheese-makers) are divine.

Eating Out: You must try papas arugadas. These are small deliciously tasty, potatoes, served in their skins. They are often eaten as a tapas, or they can be served with the main course. They often come with a variety of slightly spicy, garlicky sauces, known as mojo. Mojo sauces have an olive oil and garlic base and are the colours of the Spanish flag. That is, green sauce made with coriander; red sauce made with red bell peppers, (sometimes with added chili’s); or white mojo sauce made with garlic mayonnaise and parsley.

Pulses: Lanzarote folk make great culinary use of local pulses. This includes the large chickpea, (garbanzos extra) and the Lanzarote lentils. I use the lentils and chickpeas to make vegetarian burgers, pate, rich soups, and stews, curries, and hummus. I also soak the lentils in water overnight, rinse, and allow them to sprout for a couple of days. I used them in a salad or as a garnish for many of my dishes.

Stuffed portabella mushrooms with Lanzarote sprouting lentils
Sprouted Lanzarote lentils on stuffed mushroom

The recipe of stuffed red peppers uses local brown lentils, but you can use any lentils. They are also delicious eaten cold with a succulent salad, or as a first course or something in the fridge to snack on. They keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.

For the easy garlic soup, I have replaced the traditional beef stock with vegetable stock. Egg and garlic bread are added at the last minute, these can either be omitted or served separately. As many people suffer from wheat or gluten intolerance, I often use a scoop of cooked chickpeas or cooked lentils in place of the bread. The chickpeas and lentils, do not compete with the full rich flavor of the soup. I often find it is so filling, I eat it as a main course on my sun terrace with a glass of the local wine! Buen approvecho.

Garlic bulbs

Easy Garlic Soup

Serves: 4 as a starter, or 2 as a main course

Time: 15 minutes. In 15 simple steps.

Taste Test: More please


4 tablespoons of olive oil

8-10 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thinly

1 tablespoon paprika

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1 liter of vegetable stock

Chopped parsley

4 -8 eggs

¼ kilo of cooked chickpeas or

4-8 slices of garlic bread


  1. Set oven to Gas 8, or 200°C/ 400°F

  2. In a large saucepan heat the oil and cook the garlic until golden, but not burned remove garlic & set aside on a plate to cool

  3. Fry the paprika and cumin in the same pan, using the garlicky oil, for a couple of seconds only

  4. Remove from heat & add vegetable bouillon and stir with a wooden spoon

  5. Crush the garlic slices with a back of a spoon to open up their flavour and add to the soup

  6. Add the cooked chickpeas or lentils now, if using as an alternative to garlic bread. Simmer for 5 minutes

  7. If using garlic bread, put it in the oven for 8-10 minutes

  8. Check the seasoning of soup: add salt and pepper if necessary

  9. Pour soup into 4 large ovenproof serving dishes

  10. Crack the eggs into the soup, 1-2 eggs to each dish, depending on portion size

  11. Place in the oven for 3-5 minutes. (In the perfect dish, the egg yolks should remain runny).

  12. Remove garlic bread from oven and cut into cubes.

  13. Place them floating on top of the soup and eggs.

  14. Sprinkle with parsley & serve

Capsicums or red and yellow bell peppers

Stuffed Red Peppers

Serves: 4 portions

Time: 15 minutes. 10 simple steps


4 red and yellow peppers, deseeded, cut in half and stalk removed

1 onion, peeled and diced

6 tablespoons virgin olive oil

400g cooked lentils

150g spinach, cut in thin slices

1 clove garlic, sliced thinly

3 cloves of garlic crushed

3 tablespoons tamari

Shake or two of Tabasco sauce

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

150 ml plain yogurt or local goat yogurt

10g walnuts

salt and pepper


  1. Turn oven to Gas 8 or electric oven 200°C/ 400°F

  2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, for the peppers

  3. Put the prepared peppers in boiling water for ten minutes, strain & cool slightly.

  4. Sauté the onions until translucent, add 3 cloves of crushed garlic, cook another minute until almost transparent

  5. Remove & add tamari, Tabasco and balsamic vinegar, stir

  6. Add the cooked lentils, stir and reheat

  7. Add the spinach

  8. When the spinach has started to go limp, stir again, to blend all ingredients together, spoon the mixture into the cooked peppers

  9. Place stuffed peppers in the oven for 10 minutes to bake

  10. To serve, add a spoonful of plain yogurt in the center of the mixture and sprinkle with chopped parsley and or place a walnut on top

Chefs Tips and Tricks

Garlic: Another tip that uses a whole bulb of garlic is to break them up and throw them unpeeled into roast potatoes as they are baking in the oven. Peel before eating, or pop the delicious cooked garlic straight in your mouth and lick your fingers ! A delicious pairing with the sweetness of the roast potato.

I learned this tip from Kim and Jeremy who own and run the Casa Cabana Restaurant in Puerto Del Carmen

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