I’ll cut to the chase; if you’re used to the plentiful vegan scenes peppered across Europe and North America, you’re in for a rude awakening in Morocco. This isn’t to say that you’ll starve, but you’ll probably be pining for a giant oat milk latte and something smothered in vegan cheese by the end of your adventure (and have a new appreciation for those options).
You may have come across other articles and guides exclaiming that Morocco is vegan-friendly — I’d be a little skeptical of them. They made me wonder: did you even visit the country? Are you actually vegan?
Maybe I’m too critical; you’ll have to be the judge!
The vegan scene in Morocco reminded me of what it was like when I first became a vegetarian almost 30 years ago. Back then, your dining options were pasta, a burger-less burger, or salad. I will say there is one giant BUT for Morocco; unlike the culinary scene in the US 30 years ago, Moroccans are big on veggies and olive oil (you won’t find as many things fried in butter), so that opens up the possibilities.
Now that I’ve probably made you second guess your vacation plans (don’t, seriously! You’ll be fine!), I will walk you through everything you need to know for a great adventure. If you’ve used any of my other guides, this will be different because the experience was much different than other places I have visited. This guide will help set the scene for what to expect while giving tips and tricks to plan a vegan-friendly trip.
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Be Prepared: The Term Vegan isn’t Widely Known in Morocco.
The first time I asked a server about vegan options on a menu, they happily showed me all the vegetarian dishes; I thought, oh, that’s probably just a fluke. Maybe it got lost in translation? And then it happened again and again…. I quickly realized it was no fluke.
My trip to Morocco started out solo, but then I had the privilege (and luck) to join a small group that included locals. This was a game-changer in more ways than one. I shared with them the response I received to the term vegan, and they weren’t surprised. They told me the term is relatively new in Morocco; they’ve just gotten the hang of vegetarianism! It won’t be as challenging in a major city like Marrakesh, but it will be more difficult in smaller towns.
I will say, from my experience, that was spot on. I found a small lineup of vegan products in a supermarket and even a vegan restaurant in Marrakesh, but my selections seemed limited to French fries in other spots.
In towns like Meknes and even Fes, the options were limited, and I had to rely on my local guide to explain in Arabic what vegan meant. One server paused and said, no (I thought, I’m getting fries), but then said, wait, I can make her a special salad (it wasn’t on the menu). I’d say that was the most ideal situation. I also experienced the other end of it with a server who was adamant that he understood what vegan meant but then brought me something with cheese, then honey. I could hear him getting annoyed, but in the end, he gave me a big smile, and our guide said it was a good learning experience for them (I sure hope so).
I want to be clear, I didn’t go hungry in Morocco. It just took much more effort than I am used to, and I had to rely heavily on help (also not something I’m used to). Some meals were also very simple, like veggie tajine (roasted veggies) and rice (because I’m gluten-free) or couscous. It is a tasty dish, but it’s probably one of the main things you will eat (by the end of the trip, I didn’t want a veggie tajine to come within 10 feet of me).
Be Prepared: Unethical Animal Tourism and Cruelty is Present Everywhere.
Although the teachings of Islam promote mercy to all living creatures, it appears that animals have been forgotten. According to a recent report from the Voiceless Animal Cruelty Index (VACI), Morocco is rated as one of the worst countries in the world for animal cruelty. On top of that, The Morocco World News outlet has also been vocal about the country’s lack of animal welfare laws and the public’s disregard for compassion.
I won’t sugarcoat this — seeing horses that looked like a bag of bones, dead kittens on the side of a medina alley, chained monkeys, and lifeless snakes over and over again got to me and will most likely get to you, too. I knew the situation would be difficult to see, but it’s one thing to understand it and another thing to see it.
In addition, throughout the country, you will find blatant unethical animal tourism. People with monkeys and fangless snakes will approach you for a photo or to hold the animal, and you’ll need to be prepared to ignore them or just say no and keep walking (they can be persistent). If you go to the Sahara, be ready for the promotion of camel rides — many of these camels are beaten endlessly to perform these tasks, and when they are no longer able, they’re sent to be made into burgers.
One last note, the country is overrun with cats. There is no sustainable infrastructure (even though King Mohammed VI has instructed this change) to spay, neuter, or care for these animals. For the many cute ones that appear to be in good health, multiple others will be missing eyes, have open wounds, or are near death. There have also been reports of inhumane capturing and culling of cats (and dogs in certain parts of the country).
This may make some of you think twice about visiting Morocco, and I understand that, but I think it’s also essential to remember that many countries around the world deal with animal abuse issues; it’s just not publicly displayed.
Can I Find Oat Milk (Or Other Nondairy Milk) in Morocco?
Finding nondairy milk in Morocco is challenging — and I think oat milk might be the most difficult one to find (depending on where you are). At the first hotel where I stayed, in Casablanca, they had soymilk at breakfast; I thought, awesome, we’re off to a good start, but then it went downhill. I stayed in three other hotels, including a very fancy resort, and none had any nondairy milk. When I would ask, they’d give me cow’s milk, so I turned to Google for translation help, and they understood what I meant but still didn’t have it.
In a supermarket in Fes and Marrakesh, I did find a small lineup of rice, coconut, and oat milk, but in a cruel twist of fate, they wouldn’t let me buy a small one! There was some issue with the packaging that dashed my oat milk dreams. If you have a fridge in your hotel room, I recommend grabbing a small (or large) carton. In general, local cafes also don’t have nondairy milk options, but I found almond and coconut milk at a Starbucks in Marrakesh, and a few restaurants in Marrakesh have it as well.
Does Marrakesh Have Better Vegan Options Than Casablanca?
Yes, Marrakesh is more vegan-friendly than Casablanca. In Marrakesh, there is one vegan restaurant and multiple vegetarian restaurants; in Casablanca, there is just one vegan restaurant. In both cities, plenty of other restaurants are or could be vegan-friendly.
Traditional Moroccan Dishes That are Vegan
I alluded to this in the very beginning (I hope you’re still reading); there are quite a few traditional dishes and salads that are vegan-friendly! Often, before lunch or dinner, a wonderful display of at least seven cooked vegetable dishes is brought to the table; almost all of them are vegan (always double-check before you dive in). Here are some dishes to keep a lookout for:
- Loubia – Stewed white beans
- Addis – Stewed lentils
- B’sdara (or Bissara) – Broad bean soup
- Zaalouk – Eggplant & tomato salad
- Tk’touka — Pepper & tomato salad
- Harira — Lentil & tomato-based soup
- Ras al Hanout — Roasted carrots
- Mloukhia — Okra & zucchini
- Matbucha — Roasted red peppers and tomatoes, usually eaten with bread.
- Makouda (or Maakouda) – Deep-fried potato balls or fritters
- Vegetable tajine – Roasted vegetables, sometimes served with couscous
- Mint tea — The national drink of Morocco is delicious but often served with sugar or honey; most places will also give it to you sugar-free if you ask.
Vegan-Friendly Hotels & Riads in Morocco
This charming four-bedroom riad (book early!) in the heart of the Marrakesh medina is a hidden oasis. In 2021, they added a full vegan breakfast menu, which includes a variety of toast options on their house-made bread, tofu scramble, and fresh fruit. They even say the menu has become very popular with non-vegans — no surprise!
These beautiful riads in the Marrakesh Medina are a collection of three boutique hotels, each with its own distinctive charm and character. They are also owned by the same owners of the city’s only vegan café, The World Storytelling Café! Each riad can accommodate vegan visitors; just let them know you’re coming.
Another beautiful riad option in the heart of Marrakesh (honestly, don’t skip booking one of these; it’s a way better experience, vegan or not, than a regular hotel). The riad offers a vegetarian menu that includes some vegan-friendly options, but they can also easily provide a vegan breakfast on request; just let them know before you arrive.
Vegan & Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Marrakesh
23 Route Ahel-Fes, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
This charming vegan spot is set in a beautiful two-story building tucked away in the winding maze of the medina. The menu features classic Moroccan tapas, house-made soups, and house specials like pancakes with avocado cream. When I visited, the menu was limited as they had shifted their entire operation to make lentil sandwiches for those in need in the city. The kind and generous place is a must-visit. Also, they have oat milk!
Broc The Kasbah
N° 300, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
This hip vegetarian eatery is part café and eco-conscious clothing shop — a great place for a bite to eat and to find a souvenir. The Clash-inspired spot features its veggie menu on a creative vinyl record with favorites like house-made burgers, colorful bowls, and more. Most of the items on the menu are vegan or can be made vegan.
159 Rue Riad Zitoun el Jdid, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
This health-focused café has a location in Marrakesh and Essaouira and offers a vibrant menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! You can enjoy an oat milk latte or fresh smoothie with various veggies and nut-butter-topped toast in the morning. Later in the day, come back for a colorful Buddha bowl, house-made veggie burger, or crispy falafel.
168 Kedima Square, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
This is one of the better vegan-friendly spots in the city. The menu is well-marked for vegan and vegetarian options, and it’s not just veggie tajine! You’ll find flavorful curry, superfood salad, and even plant-based milk (this was a pretty exciting thing to see on a non-veggie menu!).
34 Derb Jdid, Marrakesh 40040, Morocco
This beautiful vegetarian spot looks as if it’s been plucked from an Anthropologie catalog. The menu changes daily to keep things ultra fresh and includes veggie dips, salads, veggie tajine, and more. One note: the vegan options aren’t extensive; many items have cheese or eggs. Vegan options are limited to salad or veggie tajine.
Vegan & Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Casablanca
34 Rue Sebou, Casablanca 20100, Morocco
Casablanca’s only vegan restaurant is a little outside the heart of the city but well worth the visit — you also don’t need to go anywhere else as they offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Everything on the menu is house-made and mouthwatering, from fluffy pancakes enhanced with orange blossom for breakfast to Kuku Sabzi, a Persian frittata made with tofu, herbs, eggplant, walnuts, and berries. They also offer daily specials and have well-marked gluten-free options.
6-8 Rue Ahmed El Mokri, Casablanca 20000, Morocco
This hip, vegan-friendly spot celebrates fresh and flavorful veggie-packed dishes. The menu includes beautiful salads, sandwiches, veggie bowls and more. Look for the little “v” for options that are vegan or could be made vegan (I know it’s a little silly not to differentiate the two, but at least things are marked!).
Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants in Essaouira
Av. de l’Istiqlal, Essaouira, Morocco
Just like the location in Marrakesh, the Mandala Society in Essaouira is also ready to delight its vegan guests. The menu in Essaouira is very similar to Marrakesh, with possibly a few more vegan options on the lunch and dinner menu. In addition to being vegan-friendly, both restaurants are plastic-free, invest in social projects, and utilize local and organic produce as much as possible.
Shyadma’s Vegan Food
Place El Khayma, Rue Laalouj, Essaouira, Morocco
Tired of just veggie tajine? Come here! This lovely vegan spot has gotten creative with the country’s love affair with couscous and tajine and has livened them up with various veggies, nuts, fruits, and more.
Le Corail Food
BP423 Place Al Khaima, Heb, 44000, Morocco
This family-owned spot went from vegetarian to vegan in 2023! The menu features an eclectic mix of options, including traditional Moroccan specialties, fresh salads, juice, and more. You’ll have more choices than you’ll know what to do with here.
Vegetarian Restaurant in Fes
9 Rue de la poste, Fès, Morocco
Just look for the neon green storefront — you can’t miss it! This charming vegetarian restaurant opened in 2019, and it might be safe to say that it’s the city’s first veggie spot! The menu features a diverse lineup — pizza, filling bowls, pasta, burgers — all with plenty of vegan options.
Vegan Language Tip in Morocco
It’s important to know English isn’t widely spoken throughout Morocco, except in hotels and tourism businesses. Arabic and Berber are the two official languages in the country, and French is also widely spoken in larger cities. You’ll find it’s not spoken much in small towns, but it’s generally understood.
I found understanding some French vegan phrases like these to be really helpful:
“I don’t eat meat or dairy products” (Je ne mange pas de viande ou de produits laitiers).
“I don’t eat eggs” (Je ne mange pas des œufs).
For Arabic, I relied on Google (and locals) for additional support.
More Vegan Adventures
Planning other trips or just looking for inspiration? Look no further! All of these guides and articles can help you plan your next veggie getaway.
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Complete Vegan Hamburg Guide: Where to Eat & Explore
The Ultimate Guide to Mexico City’s Vegan Eats
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The Best Las Vegas Vegan Food Guide
What Vegan Travelers Need to Know Before Visiting Uzbekistan