Are there any vegetarian options available in Icelandic cuisine?

Introduction: The State of Vegetarianism in Iceland

Vegetarianism is becoming increasingly popular around the world with more and more people recognizing the benefits of a meat-free diet. However, Iceland has always been known for its meat-based cuisine, with lamb, fish, and dairy products being a staple in the Icelandic diet. As a result, it can be challenging for vegetarians to find adequate options while dining in Iceland. Despite this, there are still a few traditional dishes and modern restaurants that offer vegetarian options.

Traditional Icelandic Dishes with Vegetarian Options

One of the traditional Icelandic dishes that can be made vegetarian is the Icelandic split pea soup, which is a thick soup made with yellow split peas, onions, and carrots. This soup is a hearty and filling meal that is perfect for cold Icelandic winters. Another dish that can be made vegetarian is the Icelandic skyr, which is a type of yogurt that can be combined with fresh fruit, nuts, and honey for a delicious and healthy breakfast.

For those looking for a more substantial meal, the Icelandic flatbread or rúgbrauð can also be made vegetarian. This bread is traditionally baked in the ground and is made with rye flour, sugar, and salt. It is an excellent accompaniment to soups or stews and can be served with butter or cheese for added flavor.

Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants in Iceland

Over the past few years, several vegetarian-friendly restaurants have opened up in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city. These include Gló, which offers a range of vegetarian and vegan dishes made with organic and locally sourced ingredients. Kaffi Vínyl is another restaurant that offers vegan and vegetarian options, with a menu that includes burgers, wraps, and salads.

Another popular restaurant is Bergsson Mathús, which serves vegetarian and vegan options alongside meat dishes. Their menu includes a range of soups, salads, and sandwiches, all made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients. With the rise of vegetarianism in Iceland, it’s becoming increasingly easier for vegetarians to find a suitable meal in Iceland, with several restaurants now offering vegetarian options.


While Icelandic cuisine is known for its meat-based dishes, there are still several traditional and modern options available for vegetarians. From the Icelandic split pea soup to the rye bread and vegetarian-friendly restaurants, there are plenty of options available for those choosing a meat-free diet. As the world continues to recognize the importance of a plant-based diet, it’s likely that more vegetarian options will become available in Iceland.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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