Serious question: Does anything hit the spot more than a bean burrito? (I can’t be the only one, here!) If you’re a vegan, though, it’s always iffy whether your tortilla-wrapped deliciousness is truly free of animal foods.
Well, you don’t need to worry about finding vegan eats at Taco Bell, which may be one of the most vegan-friendly fast food chains around. At the Bell, you can easily customize your order to suit your plants-only lifestyle. They even have a “Make It Meatless” feature on their website and app, as well as a “fresco-style” option, which automatically replaces dairy toppings with pico de gallo.
To make matters even better, Taco Bell offers a number of ingredients that are certified by the AVA (American Vegetarian Association), including:
- Protein: black beans, refried beans
- Toppings: mild breakfast salsa, cilantro, fire-roasted salsa, jalapenos, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, onions, pico de gallo, guacamole, tomatoes
- Sides: express nacho chips, seasoned rice
- Sauces:border sauce, diablo border sauce, fire border sauce, hot border sauce, green chile sauce, green tomatillo sauce, red sauce
- Other ingredients:flour tortilla, Gordita flatbread, taco shell, tostada shell
Many of these ingredients pack a serious nutritional punch, too. Beans provide protein and fiber, and are high in several essential nutrients, says vegan nutritionist Nicole Stevens, RD, owner of Lettuce Veg Out.
Swapping out dairy toppings for pico de gallo or salsa is also a great idea from a nutrition standpoint. “If pico de gallo replaces dairy products in a taco, the final meal (assuming no other differences) would be lower in saturated fats and calories,” Stevens explains.
To ensure that your vegan Taco Bell meal keeps you full, Stevens recommends including a combination of protein, fiber, and fat. Beans have you covered on the first two, and adding guacamole to any meal adds healthy unsaturated fats.
One important thing to keep in mind, though: Taco Bell notes on their website that they can’t guarantee cross-contamination of their vegan ingredients with meat or dairy products will not occur. Pretty standard for most restaurants and fast food joints, but maybe a deal-breaker for some strict veg-eaters.
If that’s NBD to you, though, go forth and eat these vegan Taco Bell menu items next time a Mexican food craving hits.