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Gastronomic Delights: Vegan Food in Croatia

Split, a city with the best vegan food in Croatia
7 Jun

Gastronomic Delights: Vegan Food in Croatia

Croatian cuisine reflects the diversity of the country’s history, geography, and cultural influences. Nestled at the crossroads of Central Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Balkans, Croatia boasts a culinary tradition that combines the best flavors of these regions. The gastronomy also varies between the different regions in Croatia, with emphasis on seafood along the coast and heartier food inland. 

Restaurant serving vegan food in Croatia

Vegan Food in Croatia 

Although traditionally the country’s cuisine is centered around fish and meat, vegetarian and vegan food in Croatia is becoming increasingly popular and widely available, especially in bigger cities, such as Dubrovnik, Zagreb, and Split.

Every year, a vegan festival called ZeGeVege Festival is held in Zagreb where you can partake in a rich program of cooking workshops and lectures centered around various topics, including vegan lifestyle, sustainable living, and ecology. 

In smaller, off the beaten track destinations, you may not come across as many vegan options. However, Croatian hospitality is incredible, and the chefs are usually happy to alter dishes or create something entirely off menu. 

Peka, vegan food in Croatia, being made over an open fire

Vegan dishes and foods in Croatia 

These dishes and foods are a wonderful way to explore the diverse flavors and local produce that Croatia has on offer. They are mostly made vegan but it is still worth checking the ingredients or asking the waiter or chef. 


Peka is a beloved dish in Croatia, tracing back to ancient times when shepherds in the Dalmatian hinterland cooked their meals under a bell-shaped lip over hot coals. This traditional dish is prepared in a pot which is then roasted over an open flame. Peka can be made with anything but vegan peka typically contains vegetables such as potatoes, bell peppers, and eggplant, cooked in local olive oil and an array of herbs. 


Sarma is traditionally made with minced meat and rice wrapped in cabbage leaves. However, many places have the option to substitute the meat for a mixture of mushrooms, lentils, or other legumes, delicately spiced and cooked to perfection.

Blitva na Lešo

This popular Dalmatian side dish is made with Swiss chard, potatoes, garlic, and olive oil and is widely available throughout the country. 

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are a common side dish in most Mediterranean countries. In Croatian restaurants, they frequently serve vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers which have been seasoned with olive oil and herbs. 

Local and fresh truffles, a vegan food in Croatia


Istria, a province located in the north west part of Croatia, is renowned for its truffles. Enjoy them in pasta dishes made with olive oil, garlic, and fresh truffles. You can also accompany a licensed truffle hunter and their dog into the forests surrounding Motovun to hunt for your own truffles and learn more about this delicacy.


Sataraš is a light vegetable stew that consists of peppers, tomatoes, and onions. This versatile dish can be enjoyed as a starter, side, or even as a relish on sandwiches. 


Drawing inspiration from its neighboring country, risotto can be found all over Croatia. Mushroom or truffle risottos are popular but it is worth double checking that they do not contain any animal products, such as butter. 


There are a wide variety of vegan dessert options around the country. Fritule, which are fried dough balls similar to doughnuts, are frequently vegan. There are also many gelato shops throughout the bigger cities that will have vegan or dairy-free options available. 

Vegan restaurants in Croatia

As mentioned previously, the bigger cities and tourist destinations are typically more geared at catering towards vegans and have an array of vegan restaurants offering delicious food. 

In Zagreb, Vegehop is a popular vegan restaurant that offers a wide variety of dishes including vegan burgers, wraps, sandwiches, and stews. They also have vegan wine and beer available. BEKIND, also in Zagreb, is a fully plant based food bar that serves American classics like burgers and mac and cheese with a Croatian twist. Other vegan restaurants in Zagreb include OAZA Joyful Kitchen, Simple Bake by Jelena, and Zrno Bio Bistro. 

Pandora Greenbox, in Split, is a healthy, plant-based restaurant that uses local and organic ingredients in their dishes. The restaurant embraces tradition and innovation, creating dishes that blend flavors, creativity, and gourmet cooking. VEG, a vegan cafe, offers cooked meals such as avocado burgers as well as raw cakes and food in Split. 

Dubrovnik also has a few different options for vegan food in Croatia. Urban & Veggie is a sustainable restaurant, aimed at supporting local, GMO-free, small family farms. The menu changes seasonally but examples of dishes include soups, kebabs, and risotto, which attracts tourists and locals alike. Nishta, tucked close to the old town’s Pile Gate offers global vegan and vegetarian cuisine with different offerings every day. Dalmatino and Bonto are two other restaurants that have clearly marked vegan options on their menus. 

A vegan restaurant in Croatia

Useful phrases for vegans in Croatia 

Although English is widely spoken, these simple Croatian phrases can help convey your dietary requirements at a restaurant, cafe, or shop while seeking out vegan food in Croatia. 

I am veganJa sam vegan (ya sam vay-gun) if you are male, or Ja sam veganka (ya sam vay-gun-ka) if you are female. 

I do not eat…Ja ne jedem… (ya ne yedem)

…meatmeso (messo)

…fish ribu (reebu)

…eggsjaja (yaya)

…dairy products mliječne proizvode (mlyech-ne proyz-vodeh)

Do you have a menu in English? – Imate li jelovnik na engleskom? (ee-mah-teh lee yeh-lov-neek nah ehn-gle-skohm) 

Croatian flag outside of a restaurant serving vegan food in Croatia

Booking a vacation to Croatia with Adventures Croatia 

If you are looking to book a vacation to Croatia, get in touch with our travel experts today. Here at Adventures Croatia, we specialize in planning vacations to Croatia, ranging from bespoke tours customized around your needs to pre-planned private journeys taking you to some of the best places in Croatia and its surrounding countries. We will arrange anything you desire, from vegan cooking courses and truffle hunting to sailing around the Dalmatian coast. Contact us today.

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