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20 Delicious Spanish Recipes For the Ultimate Fiesta

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20 Delicious Spanish Recipes For the Ultimate Fiesta

If you want to taste the best that Spanish cuisine has to offer, then you want to try these recipes.

 

I’m not going to lie–until recently I couldn’t name more than a few proper Spanish dishes (“beans and rice” didn’t count).

Or even what foods and flavors most defined the cuisine, for that matter.

Well, I now know that I’ve been missing out. Because Spanish recipes can be amazing…and this article is the result of my gustatory discoveries.

And if you’re not sure where to start…make the rice pudding or yellow rice and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Enjoy!

Healthy Spanish Paella

Spanish paella recipe Picture courtesy of Ciao Florentina

Paella is similar to a stir fry when you consider that all the ingredients get cooked together in a big pan. But unlike stir fry, it cooks at a low heat for a longer time, so this isn’t the kind of dinner to decide on when you’re already hungry.

With lobster, mussels, clams, shrimp, and sausage, this paella makes a hearty and decadent dinner to gather the family around the Sunday table.

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 cups forbidden white rice (or calasparra paella rice)

1 Spanish onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, grated or minced

2 links chicken andouille sausage, cut

1 lb. large shrimp

2 lobster tails (about 6 oz. each), cut in half lengthwise

1/2 lb. black mussels

1/2 lb. Manilla clams

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch of saffron

3 cups vegetable stock (or shrimp stock)

1/2 cups green peas

1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 lemon, cut into wedges

3/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup green olives (optional)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 599

Protein: 45 grams

Carbs: 61 grams

Fat: 17 grams

 

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Creamy Spinach Lentils

Spanish soup recipe Picture courtesy of Pinch of Yum

Lentils are a common dish in Spanish home cooking, and this dish – a version of lentejas caseras – is a household staple. It’s no wonder because it’s a cheap, filling, and nutrient-dense meal.

Have a small serving for an appetizer before your main meal, or serve this alone as an awesome vegetarian entrée.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. butter

1/2 yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups uncooked lentils, rinsed

2 medium Yukon potatoes (about 1 cup), chopped

4 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

Few sprigs fresh parsley

Few sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 cup half and half

4 cups fresh baby spinach

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Olive oil and red wine vinegar, for garnish

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 453

Protein: 26 grams

Carbs: 56 grams

Fat: 12 grams

 

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Spanish Stuffed Peppers

Spanish stuffed peppers recipe Picture courtesy of Ancient Harvest

Stuffed peppers have popped up on menus in restaurants and on home dinner tables over recent years. But the idea actually originates in the Basque region of Spain.

They can traditionally be stuffed with beef and manchego, or even cod in creamy béchamel. But this is an updated veggie version with not only kale, beans, zucchini, and tomatoes but also raisins and quinoa.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 bell peppers, halved lengthwise

1 package (4.8 oz.) Spanish-style quinoa

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups water

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 zucchini, chopped

1 cup chopped kale leaves, ribs and stems removed

1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes

1/2 cup raisins

1 can (15 oz.) white beans

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded manchego

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 504

Protein: 22 grams

Carbs: 72 grams

Fat: 17 grams

 

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Light Arroz Con Leche (Spanish Rice Pudding)

Spanish rice pudding Picture courtesy of She Wears Many Hats

Rice pudding is a popular dessert all over the world, and that’s certainly true in Spain too.

While it’s often made with heavy cream or condensed milk, you can lighten it up without sacrificing flavor. And if you want to reduce the sugar, only add a couple tablespoons to the pudding as it cooks, and then stir in honey to taste.

This dessert can be enjoyed warm or cold.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1/2 cup dry long-grain white rice

2 cups hot water

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

4 cups skim milk

1/2 cup raisins

2 large eggs

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 241

Protein: 9 grams

Carbs: 47 grams

Fat: 2 grams

 

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Traditional Spanish Sangria

Spanish sangria recipe Picture courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

Nothing goes with a delicious Spanish meal quite like sangria. When the basic concept is adapted, there are countless ways to make it depending on whether you start with red or white wine, or choose to add liquor to the mix.

However, if you want to keep it traditional, start with a simple red table wine, and don’t include any tropical fruit. A cinnamon stick is all you need to bring all the flavors together.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 1/2 bottles red wine

2 oranges

1 lemon

1 cinnamon stick

3 Tbsp. sugar (optional)

1 green apple (optional)

2 apricots (optional)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 208

Protein: 1 gram

Carbs: 19 grams

Fat: < 1 gram

 

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Spanish Tortilla (Spanish Omelette)

Spanish tortilla recipe Picture courtesy of Mark O’Meara

What’s called a tortilla in Latin America doesn’t actually resemble the original Spanish dish at all. That’s because corn, which is ground up and used for Mexican tortillas, is a New World food. The traditional Spanish tortilla is more like an omelette, but you don’t have to worry about flipping it.

If you want to reduce the fat in this recipe, originally from Jaques Pepin: Heart & Soul of the Kitchen, spray olive oil onto the pan to use a lot less.

Jaques Pepin Heart & Soul of the Kitchen

Serves 6

Ingredients

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium tomatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 cup Spanish chorizo, skinned and thinly sliced

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

1 cup scallions, sliced

1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped

8 large eggs

3/4 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. fresh chives, chopped

2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 276

Protein: 15 grams

Carbs: 5 grams

Fat: 22 grams

 

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Flan de Queso

Spanish flan recipe Picture courtesy of Salu Salo

A custard dessert, flan can be made with just milk, eggs, and sugar. However, this healthier version of Spanish flan also integrates cream cheese for rich flavor without a lot of fat.

It’s best to make this a day ahead of time. First, make caramel by liquefying sugar in a saucepan. Coat the bottom of a round cake pan, and then make the cream cheese custard base. Bake until golden, and chill overnight.

Serves 12

Ingredients

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 Tbsp. water

8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened

8 large eggs

1 can (14 oz.) fat-free sweetened condensed milk

1 can (12 oz.) fat-free evaporated milk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 244

Protein: 12 grams

Carbs: 33 grams

Fat: 8 grams

 

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Pan Con Tomate (Spanish Tomato Bread)

Spanish bread recipe Picture courtesy of Salt & Wind

This tapas dish is a bit like bruschetta. It also starts with crusty bread and tomatoes, but then builds with regional ingredients.

Shave high-quality manchego, a sheep’s milk cheese from the La Mancha region of Spain. Then top with serrano ham, a dry cured ham that’s similar to prosciutto.

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 Roma tomatoes, halved and deseeded

2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

6 slices crusty bread, toasted

Flaky sea salt, for garnish

3 oz. Serrano ham, thinly sliced

3 oz. Manchego cheese, thinly sliced

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 270

Protein: 8 grams

Carbs: 21 grams

Fat: 17 grams

 

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White Beans with Clams

spanish clams recipe Picture courtesy of Food on the Brain

Spanish clams are often served for tapas. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this tasty dish for dinner instead.

If you precook a half pound of dry beans or use canned, this dish is quick to toss together on a weeknight. Start by cooking minced garlic, and once fragrant, add white wine. Add the clam, beans, and saffron, simmering until the clams open up.

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 cans (15 oz. each) white beans

2 lb. clams, scrubbed and rinsed

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

30 threads saffron (soaked in 3 Tbsp. hot water)

2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped

1/2 cup white wine

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 367

Protein: 30 grams

Carbs: 33 grams

Fat: 11 grams

 

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Café Carajillo (Spanish Coffee)

Spanish coffee recipe Picture courtesy of The Other Side of the Tortilla

Thankfully you don’t have to travel to Spain to enjoy café carajillo, better known globally as Spanish coffee.

However, you might have a hard time tracking down Licor 43, aka Cuarenta y Tres. Similar to Cointreau, it’s a smooth citrus liqueur but hails from southern Spain. If you can’t find a bottle of the Spanish liqueur, rum or spiced rum will work too.

Serves 1

Ingredients

1/2 cup brewed espresso

1 1/2 oz. Licor 43

8 ice cubes

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 102

Protein: 0 grams

Carbs: 0 grams

Fat: 0 grams

 

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Spanish Watermelon Soup

healthy Spanish soup recipe Picture courtesy of Vegetarian Times

Spain is known for its cold soups like gazpacho. For a way to cool off in the summer, you’ll love this twist using refreshing watermelon.

The tomatoes are boiled and peeled. After they cool, all the ingredients are pureed until smooth. The watermelon is added last. In this recipe, the hardest step isn’t even hard but cumbersome. The soup has to be strained before serving.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 tomatoes

1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

5 cups seedless watermelon cubes (1 3/4 lb.)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 186

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 20 grams

Fat: 12 grams

 

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Easy Spanish Rice with Ground Beef

Spanish rice recipe Picture courtesy of Bless this Mess

Maybe the most common side dish in Spain is seasoned rice, but if you add ground beef, it’s upgraded to a one-pan dinner.

It’s tasty when served up in a bowl, stuffed into bell peppers, or turned into a taco filling. But if you have a real hankering for meat, you can also have it next to sizzling steak fajitas.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups dry white rice

3 cups hot water

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef

2 cups tomato sauce

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 Tbsp. chili powder (or more to taste)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 484

Protein: 40 grams

Carbs: 55 grams

Fat: 10 grams

 

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Spanish Fish Stew

Spanish fish stew recipe Picture courtesy of Wishful Chef

Since Spain has long stretches of coast, fish stew is a hearty dish that’s readily available. And any kind of white fish will do, or even salmon if you can use a dose of healthy fats.

The stew is also loaded with king prawns. Plus, it has potatoes to help thicken the stew and chickpeas for plant-based protein and vitamins.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely sliced

1 lb. potatoes, cut into small chunks

1 tsp. paprika

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes

1 cube fish stock

1/2 lb. raw peeled king prawns

3/4 cup (1/2 can) chickpeas

1 lb. skinless white fish filets, cut into chunks

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 390

Protein: 38 grams

Carbs: 34 grams

Fat: 13 grams

 

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Arroz Amarillo (Spanish Yellow Rice)

Spanish yellow rice recipe Picture courtesy of Delish D’Lites

Spanish rice often gets its yellow color from saffron, but in this recipe turmeric does the trick. It has more pungent flavor, a little like bitter orange, so don’t expect it to taste the same as saffron, which is a bit mellower.

Don’t add turmeric to rice on its own to make Spanish rice. The fresh thyme and chicken bouillon help round out this side dish.

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup white onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 tsp. powdered chicken bouillon

1/2 tsp. ground turmeric

6 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 cup parboiled rice

3/4 cup frozen peas (optional)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 164

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 31 grams

Fat: 2 grams

 

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Shrimp with Parsley Sauce

spanish shrimp recipe Picture courtesy of Suzy Allman

Parsley is often overlooked as a mildly flavored herb; yet it can be make a great sauce when given the chance.

In this dish, it’s mixed with jalapeno and scallions for a bit of zing, and altogether the sauce is fresh and bright. Aside from that, the shrimp gets mixed with only wine and water before baking in the oven for just 10 minutes.

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 cloves garlic

1 bunch fresh parsley

3 scallions

1/2 jalapeno pepper

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt to taste

1/4 cup white wine

1 Tbsp. water

1 lb. large peeled and deveined shrimp

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 249

Protein: 19 grams

Carbs: 3 grams

Fat: 18 grams

 

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Spanish Chorizo Chicken with Olives

Spanish chorizo recipe Picture courtesy of Lavender and Lovage

Considering this dish only required three ingredients to make, it is bursting with flavor.

If you want to make it as authentic as possible, look for real Spanish olives. Use arbequina if you can find them. Otherwise, the more common Manzanilla green olives will work too. Choose the ones that are stuffed with pimento, and you’ll get a hint of pepper in the dish too.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 5 oz. each)

4 fresh chorizo sausages, sliced

1/2 jar (12 oz.) Spanish green olives

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 580

Protein: 56 grams

Carbs: 1 gram

Fat: 37 grams

 

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Baked Tuna Empanada Recipe (Empanada de Atún)

Spanish empanada recipe Picture courtesy of Spanish Sabores

The empanadas we’re used to eating in America are typically single serving size, but this Spanish empanada is like a large savory pie. And it’s rustic too, so you don’t have to worry about making it look just right.

The dough – made with beer – gets rolled out into two big rectangles for the top and bottom. It’s filled with tomatoes, peppers, onions, hard-boiled eggs, and tuna. The edges are crimped, and the whole thing goes in the oven on a baking sheet.

Serve at room temperature.

Serves 8

Ingredients

Dough:

3 cups einkorn flour (or all-purpose flour)

1 tsp. salt

1 cup beer

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Filling:

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt, divided

1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes

2 cans (5 oz. each) tuna packed in water

2 hard-boiled eggs, diced

1 large egg, whisked

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 348

Protein: 16 grams

Carbs: 41 grams

Fat: 12 grams

 

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Arroz con Pollo (Spanish Chicken & Rice)

Spanish chicken recipe Picture courtesy of Prevention

This is a wholesome one-pan dinner that comes together easily on the stove.

The chicken breasts are pan-fried until golden brown and then transferred to plate. The same pan is then used to cook the bell pepper, and onion, followed by the rice. Once the rice is tender, the chicken is returned to the pan to simmer with the other ingredients.

Finally stir in the peas, sprinkle with fresh basil, and serve.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups canned whole tomatoes

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 6 oz. each)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup brown rice

1 3/4 cup chicken stock

1/4 tsp. ground turmeric (or paprika)

1 bay leaf

1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 475

Protein: 45 grams

Carbs: 50 grams

Fat: 9 grams

 

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Ropa Vieja with Beans & Rice

Spanish rice and bean recipe Picture courtesy of Fine Cooking

This timeless dinner originated in Southern Spain and has become popularized in the Caribbean and Latin America. But what’s important to know is it’s basically a pot roast with Spanish rice and beans – all cooked together in a slow cooker.

As the flank steak is cooked until it’s tender enough to easily shred, it get infused with flavor from tomato, cumin, capers, and green olives.

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes

3 yellow bell peppers, cored, deseeded, and chopped

3 medium shallots, thinly sliced

3/4 cup pitted green olives, chopped

2 Tbsp. capers, drained, rinsed and chopped

2 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 bay leaves

3 lb. flank steak

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 516

Protein: 66 grams

Carbs: 14 grams

Fat: 21 grams

 

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Cauliflower Spanish Rice

Spanish healthy rice recipe Picture courtesy of Fork & Beans

Whether you’re cutting carbs or watch calories, this is a great side dish to enjoy alongside any of the Spanish entrées on this list.

It won’t feel like you’re missing anything even though this version of Spanish rice has less than 50 calories per serving – about a quarter of what you’d get with a moderate serving of rice.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1/2 head cauliflower, pulsed in a food processor

1 large tomato, diced

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and minced

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/2 tsp. salt

Dash of cayenne pepper

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 35

Protein: 2 grams

Carbs: 6 grams

Fat: 1 gram

 

GET THE RECIPE

 

 

What did you think of these Spanish recipes? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • The Spaniard

    Hola Michael.

    As much as I like all you have written so far in your blog, and the two books I have read, I need to correct some of your Spanish dishes. I am not sure if by Spanish you mean meals exclusively from my country (Spain) or if you are generalizing, as in Spanish foods from every Spanish speaking country people. I think you are talking about Spain so let me correct the mistakes you have made.

    1) Tortilla Española. You are right about the difference between tortilla from Spain and tortilla from Latin America but the recipe you have written is complete wrong. The tortilla you have in your recipe is the typical Western omelette you have in the States. The original and basic Tortilla Española has eggs, potatoes and onions. That’s it. You can also get rid of the onions if you don’t like them. Nowadays you can add ham, chorizo and even vegetables, but you always need the eggs and the potatoes.

    2) Watermelon soup. Another way of killing a good gazpacho, just like they do by adding guacamole. You can try the watermelon and like it but the first mistake in your recipe is boiling the tomatoes. You don’t boil tomatoes, you peel them raw. Also, almonds? Cumin? If you want a healthier gazpacho all you need is tomatoes, cucumber, onions, garlic, salt, olive oil and vinegar.

    3) Arroz Amarillo. It is Puerto Rican. Also, seasoned rice is not the most common side dish in Spain. Rice is a complete meal (Paella, Arroz a banda, Arroz negro, arroz caldoso, arroz con pollo, etc…)

    4) Arroz con pollo. The one you have in your recipe is not from Spain. Arroz con pollo done in Spain has the arroz mixed with the rice in a similar way to paella. You don’t put a whole piece of the chicken on top of the rice.

    5) Ropa Vieja. Although originated in Andalucia, the one from Spain is very different to the one you have here. The one you show is not even close to the Ropa Vieja from Cuba. It looks more like something from Mexico.

    As I said before I think you are writing about meals from my country, but if I am mistaken then all I have to say is sorry for misinterpreting what you wrote.

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