Do we get Vegetarian food in Georgia? – A glimpse of  Georgian cuisine

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Khachapuri - Best vegetarian food in Georgia
Photo of Khachapuri taken by Travel with me 24 x 7

Let’s take a culinary tour to find out the best vegetarian food in Georgia and find out some of the best Georgian dishes. Georgia is a paradise for vegetarians and therefore presenting you with vegetarian food in Georgia. If you are planning to visit Georgia, then try some of the authentic Georgian cuisines. Do we get Vegetarian food in Georgia? – A glimpse of  Georgian cuisine

Lobio - Best vegetarian food in Georgia

Georgian cuisine /dishes are vegan or vegetarian-friendly as Georgian soil is very fertile and cultivates many varieties of fruits and vegetables. Also, orthodox Christianity is prominent here and therefore people fast on most of the days and they eat vegetarian dishes. The main ingredients in their cuisine are eggplant, mushroom, cheese, flour, spinach, beans, fresh fruits, etc. 

Best Georgian food | A glimpse of Georgian cuisine | Do we get Vegetarian food in Georgia?

Khinkali | One of the Best Vegetarian Georgian food | A glimpse of  Georgian cuisine

Best Georgian food - Khinkali

Khinkali is one of the main staples of Georgian cuisine and is actually considered a national dish. Essentially a dumpling with a filling, this is Georgian take on dumplings you’d find mostly in Asia.

While most typical fillings contain meat, you can also enjoy mushroom or mashed potato khinkali. The mushroom filling is lighter, but if you need to fill up, choose the potato ones. At some restaurants, a cheese khinkali, with a mix of curd cheese from Imereti region and cottage cheese, can be available.

The dough is made of flour, water, and eggs. A lot of kneading needs to be done and the whole process is relatively laborious.

Khinkali are also eaten in a special way. Georgians grab it by the doughy top, bite into the khinkali, suck out the juice, and then eat up the lower part containing the filling. They end up just with the dough bit, which is usually not eaten. It helps to keep track of how many khinkali one’s had. 🙂

Khinkali dumplings are usually eaten as a main course, and you should of course always drink Georgian wine along.

Suggested by   Veronika Primm from Travel Geekery.

Lobiani | One of the Best Vegetarian Georgian food | A glimpse of  Georgian cuisine

Lobiani - Best vegetarian food in Georgia

Lobiani though eaten all year round but it is a special delicacy on the Georgian holiday of Barbaroba – St. Barbara’s Day on December 17th and also during fast. 

The word “Lobiani” is derived from the Georgian word “Lobio” which means kidney beans and in many parts of India, a type of beans is also known as Lobia. This traditional and delicious dish is actually a bean filled bread just like Khachapuri. For making Lobiani, you can either you red or white kidney beans. Boiled kidney beans are mashed and then mixed with herbs, spices, chopped onions and then stuffed into flattened wheat flour dough. Then it is cooked into the oven or on the pan. Indians can relate this similar to Kulcha or stuffed Indian bread – Aloo Parantha – a very popular Indian bread.

Suggested by – Travel with me 24 x 7 (myself)

Lobio | One of the Best Vegetarian Georgian food | A glimpse of  Georgian cuisine

Lobio - Best vegetarian food in Georgia

A very popular vegetarian Georgian dish served hot in an earthen clay pot. Lobio, as you know, means kidney beans and so this spicy dish is a curry of kidney beans and it resembles like Rajma Masala (another very popular North Indian dish).  It is served with pickled vegetables, flattened bread, and Mchadi. This hot, spicy dish is made by soaking beans overnight, then boiling it and seasoned with spices, garlic, chopped onions, spices, herbs, coriander, and walnut.  Lobio and Lobiani are generally eaten together and can be also ordered separately. You can find these foods in Georgian style restaurants and one of the most famous restaurants in Tbilisi is located in the heart of the city center near Narikala fortress named Machakhela, Tbilisi.

Suggested By Travel with me 24 x 7 (myself)

Khinkali | One of the Best Vegetarian Georgian food | A glimpse of  Georgian cuisine

Khinkali - Best vegetarian food in Georgia | Georgian cuisine

Khinkali is the best dumpling you’ve never heard of. These Georgian traditional dumplings have a chewy flour outside and are filled with beef or pork, or mushrooms. Other vegetarian versions of Khinkali can be made with cheese or mashed potato fillings. The dumplings are boiled, not pan-fried or steamed like other types of dumplings around the world. They are then are eaten using your hands and without any sauce. Khinkali may be referred to as ‘soup dumplings’ because some khinkali contains a lot of juices from the meat or mushroom fillings. There is a three-step process to eating Khinkali like an expert. First, pick up the dumpling with your hand using the little knob of dough at the end, and flip it over to the base of the dumpling is facing up. Bite into the side and sip the filling (if there is liquid in it). After the juice is gone, THEN you can eat the rest of it! Leave the knob of dough back on the plate, since there’s a little flavor to this part. Doing so will also leave you with spare space in your stomach for more Khinkali! 

Tip: Khinkali all looks the same on the outside, so make sure to pay attention when the waiter is explaining to you which Khinkali has which filling, especially when ordering with a non-vegetarian person! 

Suggested by Erika Van’t Veld from Erika’s Travelventures.

Khachapuri | One of the Best Vegetarian Georgian food | A glimpse of  Georgian cuisine

Khachapuri - Best vegetarian food in Georgia
Photo of Khachapuri taken by Travel with me 24 x 7

Kacha puri (pronounced HA-cha-PUR-ee) is a cheese bread from Georgia, The name comes from the words khacho meaning “cheese curd” and puri meaning “bread. The two kinds of cheese most commonly used in khachapuri are imeruli and sulguni. Imeruli is a freshly made, crumbly in texture, mountain cheese. It is made with a mixture of cow’s milk and the sour whey leftover from making other firmer cheeses. When combined and melted with Sulguni cheese, it comes out as a filling that is creamy and stretchy, with a feta-like tarted flavor.

The name might come naturally to Indians as puri in Hindi means a type of Indian bread which is deep fried and served with various curries. Here, in Georgia, Khachapuri is their own version of bread that can go along any type of food as a main course or you can indulge in it as a snack itself. It is available in all parts of Georgia.

Upon entering the geography of Georgia, I could smell the fresh air, and a few minutes later, as the taxi drove towards the main city, the air smelled of the Georgian delicacies. “Welcome to Tbilisi, Georgia”, The hotel personnel said. It was midnight but we still wanted to know more about this place, therefore, we enquired about the site seeing and the famous food options and we got some insight. The next morning, we went on a walking tour all by ourselves. We crossed the freedom square and what we saw there left us with amusement. This was a foodie’s heaven. This is Sherdeni Street in Tbilisi. One can witness local food, Art and much more.

There were about 15 restaurants serving the local cuisine in Al fresco dining style and people preferred outside seating despite being sunny. The chef himself came out and suggested the best of Georgian cuisine. A mix of vegetarian and nonvegetarian but I am a vegetarian so I was digging the menu so that I could actually eat. Amongst various options, there was Kacha puri. This is their own baked bread with loads of cheese on it and some hint of the local herbs. ( this place has almost everything locally produced) so, I was ready to relish the freshest of ingredients any minute now.

Khachapuri looks like a pizza and it tastes almost similar too but with much healthier ingredients and they have special ovens to bake them. khachapuri – my favorite Vegetarian food in Georgia. Yes, I survived with this delicacy. It is served in several styles. My favorite was the adjaruli, with local white salty cheese on the dough.

We also tried amazing local grapes, strawberries, and Churchkhela, which is a traditional Georgian Candle shaped candy with good shelf life. 

Suggested by Deepa Jaisingh  from Momislearning

Badrijani Nigvzit | One of the Best Vegetarian Georgian food | A glimpse of  Georgian cuisine

Vegetarian food in Georgia

These are thinly sliced eggplants, stuffed with walnut garlic paste, rolled into delicious bites and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. These are very popular in Georgia and available in every place that bills itself as a Georgian restaurant. They may just be listed simply as eggplant rolls on the menu.

The eggplant used is the longer, slender chinese eggplant that is less bitter than the large eggplants. It’s fried in a skillet until beautifully golden brown before preparing the rolls. The filling is a paste created from walnuts, garlic, vinegar and spices. Walnuts are copiously used in Georgian cuisine, which was definitely something new to me.

Each bite has a delicious earthy eggplant taste followed by the creamy nuttiness of the walnut paste. Here and again, the pomegranate seeds impart a pop of delicious sweet tanginess. Although these are often served as appetizers, I found them quite filling – a plate of 4-5 could easily serve as a light lunch.

One great place to try this dish is the incredibly affordable Mapshalia, an underground tavern in Tbilisi.

Suggested by Shimona Carvalho from Sidecar Photo

Churchkela | One of the Best Vegetarian Georgian food | A glimpse of  Georgian cuisine

Best vegetarian food in Georgia - Churchkela

 A traditional Georgian candy which is very unique and a must try. Sausage shaped candy but a pure vegetarian and healthy option for in between snack. Georgians prepare this candy in Autumn after a harvest season of grapes.  Churchkela is generally homemade and it is a long string of walnuts dipped in a thickened mixture of concentrated grape juice (tatara) and then dried in sun. It is naturally sweet and no sugar is added. They are mostly prepared and found in the Kakheti region of Georgia as this region is the cradle of wine and cultivates the largest amount of grapes in the country.  Churchkela has many calories due to nuts and grape juice. So it is healthy in between snack option. As it can be preserved for a long time, you can purchase in large quantity and can bring back home too. 

Suggested by Travel with me 24 x 7 (myself) 

Georgian wine | One of the Best Vegetarian Georgian food | A glimpse of  Georgian cuisine

Georgian wines

Georgian wine dates back to 8000 years back and so Georgia is known as the cradle of wine or known to introduce the wine to the whole world.  The Kakheti region of Georgia is known as the motherland of wine. Also, this country is known as the oldest winemaking country in the world. Traditional Georgian wines are made in clay pots or clay barrels known as Qvevri which are then dug into pits under the floor. And after natural fermentation, this grape juice forms a natural wine with amazing flavors. So if you are visiting Georgia then Georgian wine should be in your list and with meals, you can go for this traditional drink.  Some of their famous classic wines are Saperavi (red wine), Tavkveri (red wine), Chkhaveri (red wine), Kisi (white wine), Mtsvane Kakhvri (white wine), Tsinandali (special white wine.) Georgian wines are generally sweet in taste.

Suggested by Travel with me 24 x 7 (myself) 

Food tours in Tbilisi  | Culinary classes in Tbilisi

Food and wine walking tours can also be booked in Tbilisi with at least tasting 10 different foods. Click here to book culinary tour in TbilisiYou can also learn how to make Khachapuri at local Georgian family and it is great that my tour guide/driver took me to his house to teach some culinary skills on Khachapuri. Click here to book your Georgian cooking class. 

Khachapuri in making - Best Georgian food
Learn how to make Khachapuri with locals
I am learning Khachapuri with my tour guide’s mother at his house.

There are many other vegetarian dishes like Nigvziani Badrijani (eggplant rolls), baked mushrooms, vegetarian salads, etc.  Read more about some valid reasons to be vegan

So now if anyone asks you Do we get Vegetarian food in Georgia? – A glimpse of  Georgian cuisine then you know that there are many varieties and types to select from.  And also let me know your favorite Georgian food or please let me know your views on Georgian cuisine below in the comments. 

If you are visiting Georgia then read these following posts to plan your Georgia trip – 

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64 Comments

  1. Khinkali, lobiano, and khachapurri all sound so good. No wonder Mushroom dumplings, well-spiced kidney beansand cheese bread sound so good. No wonder one can survive as a vegan or vegetarian!

  2. I am never specifically looking for vegetarian food when I travel but it’s nice to taste new dishes. I am however, very curious of the Georgian wines, I’m sure there is some good potential in them!

      1. Khinkali looks like a type of Chinese Dim Sum. Even the filling is so similar, pork or beef, and other fillings as well. One day I should try this Georgian version.

  3. That looks really delicious. I’m a fan of Dumplings, the variety of fillings that are so great is just great.
    The food looks very tasty and I got hungry now.

  4. It looks like I’m headed to Georgia! Your statement of cheese, eggplant, beans, fruit, and more as their staples sold me. If that wasn’t enough, your description of khachapuri followed by their wine sealed my decision. It seems that Georgia is a vegetarian and foodie heaven!

    1. Yes Emily, Georgia is really a foodie heaven with lots of fresh and organic produce. They dont mix artificial taste enhancers. You would love Georgian cuisine a lot.

  5. I am glad I came across this post as we’ve been thinking of visiting Georgia and I’d been wondering what would be the recommended vegetarian dishes. We love experiencing the local cuisines during our travels and so will definitely refer back to your post while visiting Georgia. Making Khachapuri with the locals must have been such a fun experience!

    1. Yes Aditi, relishing on local cuisine is always fun thing to do while traveling. I enjoyed making Khachapuri with locals.

  6. Hmm I could taste that cheese bread as I was reading about it. I know zero about Georgian food or culture, so it was an interesting read. I’ve to say, those dumplings look tasty, and remind me a bit of the Japanese gyoza. I’m not veggie, but enjoy eating vegetarian often.

    1. If you are not veggie, then you will get more varieties in Georgian cuisine. They have plenty in non-veg too.

  7. I haven’t tried any Georgian cuisine yet in my life. I’m so glad that it is vegetarian or vegan friendly as some people have food restrictions. Khachapuri looks so good. I love cheese so I think I’ll enjoy this cheese bread. I hope I can try it soon.

  8. Honestly Yukti, this post has been an eye opener for me. I have always wondered if vegetarian food is available in the Caucasus. And it seems there are so many vegetarian options in Georgia. I had only heard of Khachapuri. Khinkali and Lobiani are two new things that I am definitely going to try on my trip to Georgia. It will be wonderful to learn how to make some Khachapuris too.

    1. Yes Soumya, even before going I was not aware of these foods, but sometimes traveling to offbeat places makes you aware of many cultures and their culinary habits too.

  9. It is good to know that you are turning to veggie and yes Khachapuri of Georgia is amazing and really a unique thing to try out.

  10. We are just switching to a majority Veggie lifestyle so this is reassuring! Would love to head to Georgia and try it all out. The Khachapuri specifically looks amazing!

    1. It is great you are switching to veggie lifestyle and hopefully you would love it. Khachapuri is really unique Georgian dish which all must try out when visiting Georgia.

  11. You mentioned that the main ingredients in their cuisine are eggplant, mushroom, cheese, flour, spinach, beans, fresh fruits, etc. To a vegan like me, all suits except the dairy cheese, so I guess it will not be much of a problem for me to enjoy Georgian cuisine. Khinkali (the ones without the cheese), Lobiani, Lobio, Badrijani Nigvzit, Churchkela, along with some Georgian wine would do wonders to my taste buds. Khachapuri is something I have to avoid because of its dairy content. I would make sure not to miss the food tour in Tbilisi. Thanks for the share, Yukti.

    1. Thanks Shreya for finding this post useful and with all versions you can ask for dairy content, even Khachapuri comes without cheese – the potato and spinach one.

  12. We have a Georgian restaurant we frequent whenever we are in Berlin that is sooooo good. Absolutely always order khinkali dumplings in both meat (sorry) and vegi and then we down several khachapuri … mmmmmmmm so delicious.

  13. I’m surprised, a lot of these dishes seem quite Asian inspired – dumplings, curries etc. I wasn’t expecting that in Georgian food. It all looks delicious though. I like the look of Lobio – the whole presentation in the clay pot sounds cool. And those Churchkela are definitely something I’d like to try. They may not add sugar but with concentrated grape juice and walnuts, there’s plenty in there already!

    1. Yes Pau, Georgian dishes have influence of Asia and as it lies on ancient silk road, in between Europe and Asia, most of its culture is confluence of west and east. Georgia is said to be balcony of Europe.

  14. After reading this post, we are assured that we will not go hungry when in Georgia! On a serious note, it is amazing to note the uncanny similarity and links to the cuisine of our subcontinent. Was reminded of Momos looking at Khinkali. Also Lobia and Puri all sound so familiar and nearer home. All in all the Georgian cuisine seems really vegetarian and vegan friendly.

    1. Yes Sandy, it has many similarities with Asian food like Lobiyo and puri. For veggies like us there will be not be any problem and we can survive here.

  15. Wow I had no idea it was so easy to be vegetarian in Georgia, and though not the focus of the article, it seems very easy to be vegan as well. I’m a sucker for dumplings and it’s so good to know that there are options.

  16. Loved this post, Yukti. For some reason, there seems to be a lot of similarity between Indian and Georgian dishes. Lobia for instance, in Gujrati means beans and well…in this case it is the key ingredient. The dumplings remind me of Tibetan momos and even the fillings seem so. Thanks for sharing these for you definitely need a veg guide to Georgia.

    1. Yes Ami, Lobiya in Hindi also means beans and when they first told me that they have lobiya, I was surprised. I think in ancient times, India and Europe trade through silk route and Georgia lies in between that path, so a confluence of many cultures.

  17. My sweetie Sheila would love it here because she’s a vegetarian. I am not exactly a vegetable eater, but I will devour vegetarian food as long as they taste good. From the looks of the photos, they’re mouthwatering!

    That Badrijani Nigvzit seems like a vague variation of ratatouille. It’s a bit dry though, and personally, I’d like to drizzle some sort of sauce on it. Sorry…but my frustrated chef personality is kicking in. Hehehe!

    1. I can understand your excitement Gian, and yes Badrijani really is a version of ratatouille. Even when I see food posts, I too get my inside chef out. LOL

  18. Hey Yukti!
    Mushroom khinkali looks like it’d be my favourite! I haven’t really looked at Georgia as a travel destination but as a foodie this has got me thinking! I’ll keep these in mind if I ever plan a trip!

  19. These veggie food options in Georgia look delicious. I would not have expected to find so many choices in Georgia and was surprised to see the spicy option.. Those khinkali look very tasty as does the khachapuri. Based on this, I would love to do both food and wine tours in Georgia.

  20. Georgia’s cuisine seems to be have suffered lots of influences for its neighboring countries. I’ve tried cheese bread and Badrijani Nigvzit in a Mediterranean restaurant as well, although they were called differently. I’m not a vegetarian, but those dishes look really tasty.

  21. Thanks for sharing this list of representative food in Georgia. My spouse is a vegetarian so this guide will come in very handy if we visit Georgia. Kacha puri especially, looks amazing and I’m almost drooling. 😀

  22. I ate a lot of Georgian food when I was living in Russia. The only one on your list that I have tried is Khinkali though. I don’t like cheese, but I know Khachapuri is very popular! If I ever am in Tbilisi, I would really like to take the food tour.

  23. I was in Georgia a couple of years ago myself and remember trying some of these dishes. I had a local guide to take me around which really helped because he made me try some dishes I had never even heard of. I remember trying Khachapuri for breakfast (and not being able to finish it because it was too heavy), Khinkhali for lunch which I honestly did not like much and weird looking Churchkela as dessert, which also I didn’t find to my taste. I did love the Georgian wine though!

    1. It is great that you at least find something of your taste. And for khachapuri, I wonder why they served you at breakfast, because as it is complete meal, it is generally taken in lunch and dinner

  24. I haven’t made to Georgia yet and never tried Georgian cuisine. But I am a huge fan of eggplants and a cheese addict, and that’s why I am already in love with Georgian cuisine. Badrijani Nigvzit with pomegranate seeds sounds amazing. Oh, my mouth is watering now!

  25. I’ve never been to Georgia but those Khinkali dumplings already stole my heart (or shall I say stomach…)! The cheese bread sounds delicious too, and it’s good to know that they have some great wines to wash this all down!

  26. I always worry about traveling with people who have dietary restrictions and whether it will be easy for them to find food. While I’m not vegetarian, this Georgian food looks absolutely amazing. You can’t go wrong with a cheesy bread and dumplings. The Churchkela is rather intriguing and while an unappetizing shape, sounds like unsweetened candied fruit. But Georgian wine is the perfect complement to any meal.

  27. I’m not vegetarian, but all of these dishes look delicious – even the eggplant, and I’m not usually an eggplant lover. I am dying to try the Khinkali – it reminds me of Shanghai soup dumplings, which is a dumpling filled with juice inside that you drink first before eating the rest of the dumpling. It’s so delicious and sounds just like Khinkali. When I make it to Tbilisi, I’m definitely taking a food tour or cooking class! Very intrigued by the food there.

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