However, that doesn't mean you have to fear a trip to Lima or Peru because you are vegetarians or even vegan!
Agriculture is one of the largest industries in terms of citizens involved in the farming lifestyle as well as production and exports. Peruvian asparagus, mangoes, cacao, quinoa, camu camu,and avocados are just a few of the products you might find at your local supermarket back home. So, let us name some of the options you as a vegetarian or vegan can enjoy Lima's flourishing food scene without sacrificing your meat-free preferences:
Papa a la huancaina - Boiled and sliced white potatoes smothered in a thick mild yellow pepper, cheese, and breadcrumbs sauce, all on top of a lettuce leaf for color. This is an Andean classic that has spread throughout the country and is usually found as an appetizer.
Ceviche de champinoñes* - Seafood ceviche is the unofficial national dish of Peru. But if you do not eat fish or seafood, you can still enjoy the classic flavors. Look for mushroom (champiñones) or even mango ceviche, prepared like its marine counterpart where the main ingredient is marinated with diced red onions, salt, cilantro, and lime juice. It is sure to give your day a zest! (If you are vegan, be sure to tell the chef not to add milk, as some will throw in milk for creative flair.)
Papa con huevo - Simple enough, this dish translates literally to "potatoes (boiled) and egg (hard boiled)." While this sounds basic, you will be indulging an Andean food tradition that stretches back centuries.
Pan con palta* - Another simple option, an avocado sandwich is one of the most reliable standbys. Lest you brush this one off, we want to emphasize that Peruvian avocados are amazingly buttery and rich so forget the Californian kinds you may have had before, you have to try the local version! (As for vegan bread if you want a vegan version.)
Choclo con queso - Pale yellow, giant hominy corn is a staple in the Andean diets and is used in everything from soups to stews to eaten on its own. Boiled choclo on the cob is a nice starchy complement to a few slices of mild fresh cheese, typically aged 3-5 days, and is a surprisingly filling dish!
Ensalada rusa - There's nothing Russian about this "Russian salad" but it is one of our favorites. Soft beets, peas, carrots, and potatoes are thrown together to form a nice salad, then a spoon of mayonnaise wraps it all together into a fantastic appetizer.
Sopa de quinoa* - Quinoa was considered the "mother of all grains" to the Incas and is full of protein. Faced with an unfamiliar menu, choose the quinoa soup for a light but satisfying addition to your meal.
Locro de zapallo - This dish exemplifies what criollo cooking is all about. Spanish-Peruvian ingredients such as onions, milk, and fresh cheese from the Old World mix with yellow pumpkin, potatoes, and aji peppers to form this saucy place, which can be spread over white rice or simply enjoyed as a rich stew.
Veggie saltado* - When all else fails, a good ol' vegetable stir fry should do the trick. But wait, when in Peru, ask for a "saltado" which insinuates a touch of Chinese cooking techniques. The Chinese arrived to Peru in the early 1900s for work and have left behind a fine gastronomic legacy which Peruvians have adapted to their own tastes!
Desserts & Treats
Lucuma milkshake - Lucuma is a unique fruit originating from Peru and when eaten raw, reminds of a sweet potato. Blended with ice cream and milk, this creamy and aromatic fruit releases its best essences and we guarantee this flavor will remain on the tip of your tongue for a long time afterwards!
Alfajor - Manjar blanco, also called dulce de leche in Mexico and arequipa in Colombia for example, is a very sweet caramel and a favorite for Latinos. In an alfajor cookie, a dollop of manjar blanco is squished between 2 light shortbread cookies. Perfect for a sweet kick.
Jugo surtido* - You are in South America where fruits are the go-to desserts. A jugo surtido in Peru means a mixture of the chef's daily selection: usually banana, papaya, and anything else on hand. This ensures you get a changing variety of nutrients and flavors! In a local market, these juices are about $1 USD and about $4 USD in a standard cafe or restaurant.
Queso helado - A bit harder to find in Lima but common in southern Peru, queso helado is an refreshing ice cream made on the spot by women who spin big metal containers of milk, cream, and vanilla mixture on top of giant blocks of ice... Making ice cream the traditional way! On top, cinnamon is sprinkled. If you cannot find this dessert in Lima, you can aim to find its distinct flavor infused into modern ice cream form.
Our Favorite VEGETARIAN/VEGAN FRIENDLY PLACES TO EAT IN LIMA
- Raw Cafe - Independencia 587, Miraflores district
- Pan de la Chola - Avenida La Mar 918, Miraflores district
- Quinoa - Avenida Pardo y Aliaga 664, San Isidro district
- Amaz - Avenida La Paz 1079, Miraflores district
- El Jardin de Jazmin - La Paz 838, Miraflores district
- Sanaoria - Cantuarias 160, Miraflores district
- Invita - Manuel Tovar 224, Miraflores district
- Pickadeli - Enrique Palacios 361, Miraflores district
- Germinando Vida - Avenida Grau 209-A, Barranco district
- Veggie Pizza - Avenida Santa Cruz 815 (Ovalo Gutierrez), Miraflores district; La Colina 112, Barranco district
- Green's Pizza - Paseo de la Republica 5078, Miraflores district; Avenida Aviacion 2827, San Borja district
Contact us foodies at Lima te Llena for more vegetarian or vegan suggestions or ideas in Lima!