Looking for traditional vegan food in Belgrade? In this post, you will discover 9 traditional dishes that are an important part of vegan cuisine in Belgrade.
We know that foreigners often have a problem finding vegetarian or vegan food in Belgrade and Serbia. Also, it can be tricky to find information about the richness of delicious and traditional veggie options in this country. Although Serbia is known as the land of meat, there is a large selection of traditional vegan food in Belgrade and other big cities such as Niš and Novi Sad.
If you want to explore the best vegan restaurants in Belgrade and try the most delicious traditional vegan dishes, check out the Vegan Tour of Belgrade, which connects mouthwatering food, Serbian culture, and the history of Belgrade!
Orthodox Lent and vegan food in Belgrade and Serbia
Due to the Serbian Orthodox Lent, Serbia offers plenty of local, mouthwatering vegan and vegetarian dishes, which are also very traditional.
During several periods in a year, religious people in Serbia don’t consume animal products except for fish and honey due to Orthodox Lent. So, even if Serbia is considered a meat-loving country, locals also consume plant-based food throughout the year.
Therefore, restaurants always offer plenty of dishes with the label “posno“, which means that it does not contain any ingredients of animal origin.
In the following sections, we will reveal our favorites.
Prebranac in Serbia is an indispensable part of a festive lunch or dinner on the day before Christmas. In other Balkan countries, this dish is also often prepared. It is made of white beans and onion with bay leaves and paprika. It is usually served with crispy bread. The ingredients for this dish are very cheap, and it takes about 3 hours to prepare it. It is baked in the oven and has a creamy texture when it’s ready for tasting.
Slatki kupus (Sweet cabbage)
Despite the name, this is not a dessert. It is a meal that Serbs often consume for lunch. This is a cooked fresh cabbage with different vegetables. Each house has a unique recipe for sweet cabbage with various spices. The most important thing for this dish is to contain a lot of cabbage, some potatoes and carrots.
Cabbage is frequently used in Serbian cuisine. Many traditional dishes are based on it. Serbs often add beef or chicken meat to this dish, but you can also find a tasty veggie version of it. Like any other dish, Serbian sweet cabbage is also served with bread.
Posna sarma (Veggie stuffed cabbage rolls)
Sarma is the most famous winter dish in Serbia. It is traditionally made of minced meat, rice, and onion, which are put on a whole leaf of sauerkraut, and rolled away from a cook. These cabbage rolls stuffed with meat are placed in a pot with bacon and dried meat between them and cooked for a long time. Luckily, there is a delectable veggie version of it, and Serbs mostly eat it during the fasting periods. Due to that, cabbage leaves are filled with various vegetables, rice, and onions instead of meat, so you can still enjoy this traditional dish.
Ajvar (red pepper spread)
Ajvar is a must-try when you are in Serbia. It is a spread traditionally made of red pepper, salt, garlic and oil, and it represents the part of winter stores in Serbia. Some housewives also add eggplant, herbs or tomato into it. You can eat ajvar as a salad, side dish or just on bread for breakfast. This is maybe the most popular vegan food in Belgrade and Serbia.
A whole family is involved in the preparation process. Red peppers are first roasted, then peeled, deseeded, and cooked in a big pot. The process is time-consuming and messy, but the result is more than worth the effort.
Serbs are fans of pickles and adore to consume them during the winter. They pickle almost every vegetable and put them in big jars. Commonly, Serbs create a mixture of pickled cauliflowers, cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers and serve them as one salad. The name for this salad in Serbian is turšija.
Serbian salad is easy to prepare, tasty, fresh and light. It consists of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, chili pepper if you prefer the spicy flavor, oil and salt. It is perfect for hot summer days and served in almost every restaurant in Serbia.
Žito (Serbian wheat pudding)
Žito is an old Serbian treat that is associated with many religious customs and holidays in Serbia. On Serbian slava (Saint Patron’s day), this is the first thing served to a guest with a glass of wine as soon as he enters the house. Regardless of traditional use, this is a very tasty treat that you will often find in old Belgrade pastry shops. It truly represents traditional vegan food in Belgrade. It is made from ground boiled wheat grain, ground walnuts, sugar powder and nutmeg. It is often served with whipped cream.
Vanilice (Little vanilla cookies)
This dessert is declared the best holiday cookie in the world on the culinary website FOOD52. In the traditional recipe, it contains eggs, but you can find a veggie variant due to the fasting in Serbia. It is inexpensive and extremely simple to make. The taste is better as the days pass because they become softer. It’s one of the favorite cakes to prepare for family celebrations. Serbs enjoy eating Vanilice with coffee or tea. Also, they are very creative in decorating these cookies, so you can find them in many different shapes, but the traditional ones are round. Their trademark is apricot jam, vanilla extract and sugar powder. Make sure you try them while researching vegan food in Belgrade!
Bundevara (Serbian pumpkin pie)
This is very healthy and juicy dessert, based on phyllo dough stuffed with grated pumpkin pulp, cinnamon and sugar. It’s perfect for those who don’t prefer too sweet delicacies. This pie is mostly prepared in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (north part of Serbia).
We have listed some traditional vegan dishes here, but there are many more delicacies that you can try when you visit Serbia.
Also, if you do not want to bother exploring vegan food in Belgrade but simply enjoy authentic places by meeting locals, hearing about their culture, past, and contemporary life in Serbia, and trying the most delicious vegan and vegetarian specialties, book the Vegan tour in Belgrade today.
Let’s explore the traditional flavors of Serbia together!!