Traditional Cuisine: Past and Present - Vegetables

By Real Academia de Gastronomía

Real Academia de Gastronomía

Spain boasts a comprehensive gastronomy that reflects its rich geographical variety and extensive resources. Recipes are handed down through the generations and have interesting and curious stories surrounding their origins.

GazpachoReal Academia de Gastronomía


This dish originated in Andalusia but this simple yet delicious cold soup is synonymous with summertime all throughout Spain.

Gazpacho ingredientsReal Academia de Gastronomía

Tomatoes, pepper, virgin olive oil, salt, vinegar, and bread

These are the basic ingredients, but every household prepares their gazpacho slightly differently, adding, for example, garlic, cucumber, or onion.

Gazpacho is usually accompanied by a garnish made from finely chopped onion, tomato, green pepper, cucumber, boiled egg, and bread.

Modern cooks have adapted the recipe with the inclusion of cherries, strawberries, or beet, turning it into an avant-garde dish.

GazpachoReal Academia de Gastronomía

A Dish Full of History

"Its origins stem from a drink carried by Roman legionaries in their canteens, known as 'posca,' made from water, vinegar, salt, and chopped herbs. Later, a soup prepared to a similar recipe emerged in Andalusia, to which garlic, oil, and bread were added," explains the historian Almudena Villegas.

However, Fernando Rueda, from Málaga, believes the origins of gazpacho are rooted in the Andalusian countryside, as a meal that laborers prepared with bread, garlic, vinegar, and water.

The addition of tomato as the main ingredient came about in the 18th century, when gazpacho was promoted from the field to the tables of the aristocracy.

Cooking gazpachoReal Academia de Gastronomía

Expert Tip

If the (preferably white) bread is mixed with the ripe, chopped tomatoes and left for a couple of hours, or even overnight, the juice from the fruit will soak into the crumb and add real depth of flavor to the dish.

"Papas arrugadas con mojo"Real Academia de Gastronomía

"Papas Arrugadas con Mojo"

These wrinkled potatoes, grown in the Canary Islands, are small but full of flavor, and can be served as an appetizer or accompaniment to a main course.

"Papas arrugadas con mojo" ingredientsReal Academia de Gastronomía

Potatoes, salt, and "mojo picón" hot sauce

The cooked potatoes are usually accompanied by 2 sauces known as "mojos." The red sauce is made from a mixture of oil, vinegar, and red pepper; this last ingredient adds a touch of spice, hence it is known as "hot sauce."

The green sauce is made with green pepper, cilantro or parsley, and garlic, emulsified with oil and vinegar.

"Papas arrugadas con mojo"Real Academia de Gastronomía

The Canarian Potato

This small potato arrived in the Canary Islands from the Americas, and from there it was transferred to the peninsula.

Twenty-nine unique varieties of potatoes are grown across the islands of the archipelago, and these are grouped under the Protected Designation of Origin "Papas Antiguas de Canarias" (traditional Canarian potatoes).

Cooking "papas arrugadas con mojo"Real Academia de Gastronomía


The "trick" to wrinkling the potatoes is in their dehydration. In order to achieve this, they should be cooked in a little water—just enough to cover them in the pan—and plenty of salt, over a high heat, uncovered.

Stew with vegetablesReal Academia de Gastronomía

"Menestra de Verduras"

Colorful and delicious, each element in this vegetable stew holds its own significance, combining with the others to produce a dish of exceptional flavor.

"Menestra de Verduras" ingredientsReal Academia de Gastronomía

Green asparagus, fava beans, peas, artichokes, and carrots

All the vegetables are separately prepared and cooked until al dente. It's a long process but one that's worth it for the final result.

Cooking stew with vegetablesReal Academia de Gastronomía

A Stew for Spring

A typical dish in vegetable-growing regions such as Aragón, La Rioja, Castile and Leon, and Murcia, among others. Its most famous version is that from Tudela, Navarra, a region where exceptional vegetables are cultivated. The Tudela stew is made in springtime, when its ingredients are at their best.

Stew with vegetablesReal Academia de Gastronomía


The sauce for the stew is thickened with the sautéed vegetables, added at the end.

"If you want to add more flavor, substitute some of the extra virgin olive oil with pork fat from acorn-fed Iberian ham," advises María Llamas, from the Alambique cookery school.

The so-called "4 aces" of artichoke, fava beans, asparagus, and peas have been joined by carrots in this version.

Credits: Story

Text: María García Muriel, in collaboration with Ismael Diaz Yubero, Spain’s representative at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Advisor for the Spanish Embassy in Rome, member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy, and also with María Llamas (Alambique Cookware Store).

Image: David de Luis (photography), Sandra Jimenez Sorio (food styling), María Eugenia Pérez-Blanco (recipe preparation), Alambique Cookware Store (production).

Acknowledgements: Rafael Ansón, president of the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy; Elena Rodríguez, director of the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy; María García Muriel and Caroline Verhille, contributors to the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy.

Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy

This exhibition is part of the Spanish Gastronomy project jointly coordinated by Google Arts & Culture and the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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