The Tastiest Vegetarian Food in Albania


Published on 7 June 2023

Travelling around Albania, I was pretty convinced we would have a difficult time on the food front. My perception was a lot of kebabs and meaty stews. And although that is pretty spot on, there are also plenty of options for vegetarian food in Albania. Because even if you are eating meat, you have to eat other things that are not just meat, right?

Albania actually has loads of dishes that are traditionally vegetarian, and they’re good. At the very least, you will be able to find some sort of grilled vegetable dish, a pepper or aubergine stuffed with rice, salad or pastry filled with cheese, herbs, potato etc. My point is even if you are somewhere really remote and the options are really limited, you likely won’t starve or have to turn carnivore!

We really didn’t have much of a problem finding vegetarian food in Albania and found that we really loved the options. We gave Albania a 6/10 on the vegetarian friendliness rating.

If you’re heading over to Albania, give these vegetarian dishes a go.

Tasty Veggie Stuff


One of Albania’s most loved national dishes, fërgesë originated from Tirana, but you will be able to find this everywhere. It is a chunky dip of roasted tomatoes, peppers, onions and a cottage cheese similar to feta. Served warm with some crusty bread. Beautiful.

fergese, vegetarian food in albania


Albania typically classifies cheeses into white or yellow. Yellow being a salty cheese that would melt (at least a bit). White cheese would be more of a sour, crumbly cheese like a feta. Kaçkavall falls into the yellow cheese category. It’s often on the menu as a baked cheese. A bit gooey and great with some bread.

kackaval, vegetarian food in albania


The Balkans seem to be pretty good at cooking beans and this is a prime example! Huge beans (what I would recognise as ‘butter beans’ in the UK) are cooked in tomatoes, herbs and spices. Served with a hunk of bread. (Spotted the theme yet?).

plaki, vegetarian food in albania

Lemon and egg soup

Now this was a weird one, it wasn’t bad at all, just a flavour combination that I hadn’t experienced before. A creamy and smooth soup with beaten egg mixed into it (not bits of egg throughout) with a sharp lemon twang. (Just double check that a veg stock is used for the base.) Served with, erm, bread.

lemon and egg soup

Djathë i ziem

A typical dish from up in the north and the mountains, this is a gooey, cheesy, fondu style dish. Perfect with (you guessed it!) a hunk of bread.

djathe i ziem


The closest thing I could liken this to would be arancini. A mixture of rice, egg, mint (and sometimes other herbs too) that is rolled into balls and fried. This is a dish originating from Gjirokaster and is traditionally made in a specific pan with rounded sockets to keep the ball shape of the qifqi. Served warm (but not with bread!)

qifqi, vegetarian food in albania

Sarma or Yaprak or Dolma

All very similar, different names, but essentially some kind of leaf (whether it be cabbage, vine leaves etc.) filled with rice, herbs and spices and wrapped into cigar shapes.


Stuffed Aubergine or Pepper

An absolute classic that you will find everywhere. Often stuffed with rice, herbs, veg, cheese; these aren’t always served hot. Don’t be surprised if it’s luke warm or even cold.

stuffed peppers


A speciality from Korca, this is a phyllo pastry pie generally filled with leeks, but there are variations on fillings. We had a bean filling when we were in Korca. Perfect for on the go.

lakror pie


Often served as breakfast but can be eaten whenever. Little bits of fried dough that are served with jams or sometimes a white cheese. Essentially, a deconstructed donut!


Shapkat or Pispili

Originating from Gjirokaster, shapkat is a cornbread pie with feta, dill and spinach or leeks.



A sponge cake drenched in cream and topped with a sticky caramel, served cold. You’ll be able to find this all over the Balkans from Sarajevo to Istanbul!

trilece, vegetarian food in albania


Traditionally, ripped up phyllo pastry is mixed with a creamy orange custard and baked before being topped with orange syrup. The versions that we tried were a semolina based cake instead of the pastry.



Another one originating from Gjirokaster, this is a creamy custard pudding with dried figs mixed throughout. Generally topped with cinnamon in a criss cross pattern. Rich and decadent.


Have you tried any of these? Do you have any other Albanian vegetarian favourites?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, recommendations or questions.

Thanks for reading!

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