A vegan Spanish omelet is a delightful and filling dish perfect for breakfast, brunch, or served as an appetizer at your next big gathering. Traditionally prepared with eggs, this vegan recipe features tofu as the primary egg substitute and offers all the comfort and taste of the traditional Spanish classic. You can use regular or sweet potatoes, which are both delightful in this flavorful dish.
During my childhood, my family often had a Spanish omelet, also known as "Tortilla Española," or "Tortilla de Patatas", on special occasions such as holidays and gatherings. It was diced into bite-sized portions and eagerly passed around, each person selecting a morsel using a toothpick. It was such a tasty finger food and appetizer, and I absolutely loved it. But we didn't limit it to just an appetizer. It made for a scrumptious and satisfying meal too.
After transitioning to a 100% plant-based diet, I had to pass on this particular meal, but that didn't last long. This vegan tortilla recipe mimics the traditional version so well that it is the perfect remedy to satisfy my cravings for the Spanish omelet I enjoyed in my younger days.
Difference between a frittata and a Spanish omelet
If you confuse a frittata with a Spanish omelet, here are highlights of a few key distinctions.
- Spanish Omelet: Originated in Spain, particularly popular as a tapas (appetizer) dish.
- Frittata: Originated in Italy and is often a part of an Italian-style brunch or lunch.
- Main Ingredients:
- Spanish Omelet: Primarily features eggs and potatoes, often with onions.
- Frittata: This can include a variety of ingredients like meats, cheeses, vegetables, and even pasta.
- Cooking Method:
- Spanish Omelet: The ingredients are typically cooked in a skillet, then the beaten eggs are added. The entire dish is cooked on the stovetop and is usually flipped to cook both sides.
- Frittata: Starts on the stovetop but is often finished in the oven, usually under a broiler—no flipping is required.
- Spanish Omelet: Denser and often more moist due to the inclusion of potatoes and sometimes onions.
- Frittata: Fluffier and can have a varied texture depending on the added ingredients.
- Serving Occasion:
- Spanish Omelet: Commonly served at room temperature, especially as tapas. Great for any meal or as a sandwich filling.
- Frittata: Typically served hot or warm, often as a breakfast or brunch item but versatile enough for any meal.
- Seasoning and Spices:
- Spanish Omelet: Generally limited to salt, pepper, and perhaps some herbs.
- Frittata: More open to various spices, herbs, and cheese to complement the various ingredients.
- Shape and Thickness:
- Spanish Omelet: Usually thicker and has a more defined layer of potatoes.
- Frittata: This can be thinner and may have ingredients distributed more evenly throughout the egg mixture.
- Spanish Omelet: Rarely contains cheese.
- Frittata: Often includes cheese, which melts and adds a different flavor and texture to the dish.
This recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients, but I've also listed some alternatives.
- olive oil
- onion (white or yellow)
- potatoes (waxy potatoes are best, such as gold potatoes)
- firm tofu
- plant milk
- vegan butter
- rice flour (or chickpea flour)
- potato starch (or corn starch)
- garlic cloves
- chives or scallions for garnish
See the recipe card for quantities.
Take a look at this section for process shots at a glance.
Note: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) when potatoes are about halfway done.
On medium heat, sauté onions for a few minutes in some olive oil.
Add the diced potatoes and combine. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. You will need to add about ¼ cup of water to keep the potatoes from sticking.
Cover with a lid. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Continue to sauté between 15 - 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender but still have a little firmness. (They will cook more in the oven).
While the potatoes cook, place the rest of the ingredients (minus the chives) in the blender. Blend until well combined and smooth.
Once the potatoes are cooked, transfer them into a medium-sized bowl. Add the tofu mixture from the blender and thoroughly combine the ingredients. If your skillet is spacious enough, you can skip using a separate bowl and combine everything in the skillet, saving yourself the hassle of washing an extra dish.
Place wax paper on the bottom of the baking pan, and if necessary, spray the sides with a little oil spray. Press the mixture into a 9-inch baking pan and bake for 30 minutes in a 400°F (200°C) oven.
Remove the Spanish tortilla from the oven and let it cool for about 30 minutes. You can place it in the fridge for quicker cooling. The longer it sets, the better.
When the tortilla has cooled down, flip it upside down and gently remove the pan. If you want a golden color on top (previously the bottom), place it in the oven again and broil for 2- 3 minutes.
If you used parchment paper, remove the lining.
Garnish with chives, dill, or parsley. Cut into individual meal-sized wedges or bite-sized appetizers.
When placing the mixture in the baking pan, press it down well and ensure it reaches the edges so you get a pretty, round, and even baked tortilla.
Traditionally a Spanish omelet is cooked on the stove and flipped right in the skillet instead of using the oven. But I have to admit, I'm not one of those skilled folks. Whenever I try this method, the results are, well...a mess. Personally, I've found that transferring the mixture to a baking pan works better for me. I use parchment paper to prevent sticking, and it always gives me a perfectly baked, beautifully golden brown vegan Spanish tortilla.
Don't skip letting it rest on the counter or in the fridge. This will allow it to set without breaking apart. The longer it rests, the better.
This recipe works well with chickpea flour, but the taste differs slightly. I prefer the rice flour.
Enhance the flavor of this dish with a touch of kala namak, also known as black salt, if you have it in your spice drawer. It adds an eggy taste that many people enjoy.
There are numerous ways to present a vegan Spanish tortilla - from an appetizer to casual gatherings to a delicious lunch or brunch. Here are some serving suggestions to consider:
Traditional Spanish Tapas Style:
- Sliced and Skewered: This is the most common way to eat a Spanish omelet. Cut the omelet into small squares and skewer them with toothpicks for a tapas-style serving.
- Bread: Serve with slices of crusty bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil for extra flavor.
- Aioli or Salsa Brava: While not traditionally served with Spanish Omelet, these sauces can add an extra layer of flavor. You can also serve it with a garnish of Lemon Pistachio Gremolata.
Casual Family Gathering:
- Wedge Slices: Cut the omelet into wedges like a pie and serve it as a main or side dish.
- Salad: A simple mixed green salad with a light vinaigrette pairs beautifully with this Spanish tortilla, or try Arugula and Pear Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette or a Vegan Caesar Salad for some creamy deliciousness.
- Roasted Vegetables: Serve alongside roasted peppers or asparagus for a more complete meal.
- Grapes or Fruit Salad: A refreshing fruit salad can lighten up the meal and provide a sweet contrast, but our favorite is to serve it with grapes on the side.
For the Kids:
- Mini Omelet: Even though kids will love this Spanish omelet cut into bite-sized pieces, you can also make smaller, individual-sized omelets.
- Dipping Sauces: Offer ketchup or a mild tomato sauce for dipping, as kids often love to dip their food.
Picnic or On-the-Go:
- Sandwich Style: Believe it or not, in Spain, it's common to put a slice of Spanish Omelet between two pieces of bread to make a sandwich called "Bocadillo de Tortilla."
- Cold Slices: This dish tastes great at room temperature or even cold, making it ideal for picnics.
- Olives: Olives are often served alongside various Spanish dishes, including omelets.
- Pickles: The acidity and crunch can complement the softer, more neutral omelet.
- Beer: A light beer like a pale lager can be refreshing with a vegan Spanish tortilla. Look at this site for some popular Spanish beers - The best-selling Spanish beers in Spain.
- Sangria: For a more festive occasion, sangria is delicious and can be made non-alcoholic easily by swapping out the alcohol with grape juice.
When it comes to condiments, the Spanish generally like to keep it simple to let the flavors of the omelet shine. However, we love our condiments in this family, so here are a few if you want to add a little something extra.
- Vegan Aioli: This garlic mayonnaise is often served alongside a Spanish omelet.
- Tomato Sauce: A simple tomato sauce can complement the omelet well.
- Piquillo Peppers: These sweet, slightly spicy peppers are sometimes served on the side.
- Salsa Brava: This recipe from The Mediterranean Dish is a spicy tomato sauce commonly served with tapas.
Less traditional but still delicious, these have been a hit with my family and friends.
- Ketchup: While not traditional, ketchup is often a crowd-pleaser.
- Hot Sauce: A dash of hot sauce could be a nice addition if you like a bit of heat.
- Vegan Sour Cream: For a creamy contrast, especially if your omelet has spicy elements.
- Salsa Romesco - Delicious Spanish sauce made with almonds, hazelnuts, roasted red peppers, and garlic.
- Mojo Picon - a traditional Canary Island sauce made with garlic, peppers, vinegar, and olive oil - is the perfect accompaniment to any meal.
For variety, incorporate some spices and herbs such as smoked paprika, fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro, or chili flakes for some heat.
One variation I do often is I use sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes like in the picture below.
You can also use vegan bacon bits made from soy or vegan chorizo to add an additional level of flavor.
You don't need anything crazy to make the Spanish omelet. Just a blender, a skillet, a baking pan, and an oven.
To store a Spanish tortilla, let it cool to room temperature after cooking, then wrap it tightly in plastic or aluminum foil. Place it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
If you want to freeze it, slice the omelet into individual portions and wrap each slice securely in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped slices in a zip-top freezer bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing. Label the bag with the date and store it in the freezer for 2-3 months.
To reheat, you can either thaw it in the fridge overnight and then warm it in the oven or microwave or reheat directly from frozen using a microwave or a 300°F oven until heated through (about 10-15 minutes).
Feel free to customize. Bell peppers, mushrooms, and spinach are all excellent additions. Just make sure to cook extra veggies so they don't release water into the omelet while cooking.
I always do! It's even better the next day. This dish keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days, and they're also freezer-friendly for up to 2-3 months.
Yes, this recipe as written, is gluten-free.
I use sweet potatoes all the time, and it is delicious. Naturally, it will have a different flavor.
The omelet is done when the edges are lightly browned and the middle is set but not jiggly. You can also insert a toothpick in the center—if it comes out clean, your omelet is done.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion finely diced (250 grams)
1 ½ pounds of diced potatoes (650 grams) (any waxy variety; see notes)
⅔ of a block of firm tofu or 300 grams
½ cup plant milk
4 tablespoons melted vegan butter
¼ cup of rice flour or chickpea flour
1 tablespoon potato starch or corn starch
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 garlic cloves
chives or other herbs for garnish
- Prepare the Vegetables: Wash the potatoes. Then, dice both the potatoes and onions.
- Sauté Onions: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the diced onions, sautéing until the onions are translucent.
- Cook Potatoes: Add the sliced potatoes to the skillet, stirring to mix them with the onions. Add about ¼ cup of water to prevent sticking. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are tender but firm. If the mixture starts to stick, you can add more water.
- Preheat the Oven: Halfway through frying the potatoes, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Prepare Tofu Mixture: While the potatoes are cooking, crumble the tofu into a blender. Add plant milk, melted vegan butter, rice flour, potato starch, turmeric, garlic, and salt. Blend until smooth.
- Combine: After cooking the potatoes, transfer them to a medium-sized bowl and mix them with the tofu mixture. Alternatively, if your pan is big enough, combine the tofu mixture with the potatoes in the pan. This saves you a bowl to clean.
- Prepare a Baking Pan: Line the bottom of a 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. See notes on how to make it fit easily. Spray the sides of the pan with spray oil if necessary.
- Place in Baking Pan: Transfer the combined mixture into the prepared baking pan, gently pressing it towards the edges and down to achieve a uniform and pretty appearance once baked.
- Bake: Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Cooling: Allow the omelet to cool on the counter for at least 30 minutes. You can place it in the refrigerator if you prefer a faster cooling time. This will aid in setting the omelet, and the longer it sets, the more it will improve in texture.
- Flip: Place a cutting board or large plate over the omelet and carefully flip the omelet onto the plate. If you used parchment paper, carefully remove it. If you want to brown the top (which was originally the bottom) after flipping, broil for 2-3 minutes, observing to ensure it doesn't burn.
- Garnish and Serve: Garnish with chopped chives or other herbs of your choice. Cut into wedges or bite-sized pieces. See the post for serving suggestions and condiments to serve with your vegan Spanish omelet.
Chickpea flour will slightly alter the taste, but it is a good alternative to rice flour.
Peeling the potatoes is entirely optional - the choice is yours.
Waxy potatoes get the best results in this recipe. Waxy varieties that work include new potatoes, Red Bliss, pee wees, and fingerlings, but I love the all-purpose potato, Yukon Gold.
To make parchment paper fit a 9-inch round pan, lay a larger sheet flat and put the pan on top. Trace the pan's edge with a pencil, then cut along the line. Place the cut circle in the pan, pencil-side down.
Enhance the flavor of this dish with a touch of kala namak, also known as black salt, if you have it in your spice drawer. It adds a unique eggy taste that many people enjoy. Add ½ teaspoon to replace ½ a teaspoon of salt.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. Use a nutritional app like Cronometer to get information on the exact ingredients and amounts you are using.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Appetizer, Snack, Main Meal, Brunch
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Spanish, American
- Diet: Vegan
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 189
- Sugar: 2.4 g
- Sodium: 373.3 mg
- Fat: 8.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 22.5 g
- Protein: 6.1 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
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