Taco Bell's Vegan Options
For all you vegans out there, we've got your back. With just a few modifications to some of your favourite menu items, you can create a delicious vegan feast in the restaurant, online at TacoBell.com or through the Taco Bell mobile app. Taco Bell defines “vegan” as recipes that contain no animal ingredients.
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.
Taco Bell is a not-so-secret haven for plant-based or vegan eaters since it has a lineup of meatless choices unrivalled among other fast-food restaurants, and many ways to customize orders to fit a variety of dietary needs. It may come as a surprise that this chain offers one of the most accessible vegan menus, but you need some guidance to know what to order because some of the swaps are not on the menu.
Vegans Eating at Taco Bell
To find out what is vegan at Taco Bell, you first have to understand that most dishes contain some combination of dairy, eggs, and meat. However, there are some substitutions you can make. Take a look at the list of ingredients.
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, jalapeños, 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
If that’s NBD to you, though, go forth and eat these vegan Taco Bell menu items next time a Mexican food craving hits.
Cuisine, Food, Dish, Sandwich wrap, Ingredient, Gyro, Gordita, Baked goods, Bazlama, Flatbread,
Yes, you can totally enjoy a Crunchwrap Supreme as a vegan—just add black beans, and nix the beef, sour cream, and cheese. (Doing this cut back on the number of calories and the amount of saturated fat in your meal, Stevens says.) And don’t worry about missing out on protein. The beans provide plenty, says Stevens.
Per serving: 460 calories, 12 g fat (3 g saturated), 74 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 900 mg sodium, 9 g fiber, 13 g protein
Food, Cuisine, Dish, Ingredient, Gyro, Burrito, Vegan nutrition, Recipe, Produce, Vegetarian food,
Taco Bell's refried beans are totally vegan-friendly, so go ahead and opt for that satisfying burrito. Just skip the cheese and load it up with whatever veggie-friendly add-ons you desire, like salsa, lettuce, and more. “Adding extra veggies boosts overall nutrient intake and increases fiber content,” Stevens says.
Per serving: 350 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 56 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 1010 mg sodium, 9 g fiber, 13 g protein
Veggie Power Burrito
Dish, Food, Cuisine, Burrito, Sandwich wrap, Ingredient, Mission burrito, Taco, Tortilla, Produce,
For a more substantial burrito option, go for the Power Burrito, which packs black beans, pico, lettuce, and guacamole. Just be sure to nix the chicken, cheese, sour cream, and avocado ranch sauce to make it vegan. Don’t worry about it being short on flavour, either. “Pico de gallo, which is made with tomatoes, onion, lime juice, and cilantro, is fresh and flavorful,” Stevens says. “It's a tasty vegan topping for tacos and burritos!”
Per serving: 320 calories, 10 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 49 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 790 mg sodium, 9 g fiber, 10 g protein
Veggie Power Bowl
Food, Cuisine, Dish, Ingredient, Produce, Meal, Recipe, Bowl, Side dish, Lunch,
If you want to cut carbs and ditch the tortilla, go for a burrito bowl, instead.
To make Taco Bell's veggie power bowl vegan, skip the cheese, sour cream, and avocado ranch sauce. Worried that the bowl won't fill you up? You’ll get plenty of fiber from the veggies, but you can add more protein with an extra scoop of beans and more fat with an extra scoop of guac, Stevens says.
Per serving: 370 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated), 62 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 820 mg sodium, 13 g fiber, 10 g protein
Crunchy Or Soft Tacos
Dish, Food, Cuisine, Taco, Korean taco, Gringas, Ingredient, Gyro, Gordita, Produce,
Good news, taco fans: You can snag a crunchy taco or its soft-shell counterpart sans meat and dairy. Just order a black bean taco, with all the toppings you desire—like lettuce, onions, pico de gallo, and guacamole. That tried-and-true protein-and-fibre punch from the beans will help you feel full and stay satiated longer, Stevens says.
Per taco: 160 calories, 4.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 24 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 240 mg sodium, 7 g fiber, 5 g protein
Veggie Burrito Supreme
Okay, sure it's a little less “supreme” when you remove the beef, sour cream, and cheese. But this bean-and veggie burrito is still sure to satisfy, especially if you add a vegan sauce and some chopped onion, says Stevens.
Per serving: 390 calories, 14 g fat (6 g saturated), 51 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 1110 mg sodium, 9 g fiber, 16 g protein
Black Bean Chalupa
Vegan” isn’t necessarily synonymous with “healthy,” but if you're craving something fried, go with the black bean chalupa. You’ll have to remove the sour cream and cheese to make it vegan, but rest assured that the fried shell filled with beans, lettuce, and tomatoes will still be tasty. Kick the flavour up with pico de gallo and some Diablo Border sauce, which add both nutrients and flavour, Stevens says.
Bonus: This chalupa is lower in sodium than most other menu items, a plus for anyone on a sodium-restricted diet.
Per serving: 330 calories, 15 g fat (3 g saturated), 39 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 430 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 10 g protein
Black Beans And Rice
This classic Taco Bell side dish is absolutely vegan-friendly, so enjoy as much as your heart desires. Because it’s relatively low in fat and calories, take Stevens’ advice and add guacamole to make it more substantial.
Per serving: 190 calories, 4 g fat (0 g saturated), 35 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 390 mg sodium, 6 g fiber, 5 g protein
Chips And Guacamole
Chips and guac are always a good idea, right? And the great news is, Taco Bell's guacamole is vegan-friendly. Give your healthy fat-filled dip a little extra oomph by stirring in some black beans, Stevens suggests.
Per serving: 230 calories, 14 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 23 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 310 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 3 g protein
You may not equate hash browns with Tex Mex cuisine, but I'm not complaining that they’re now available at Taco Bell. While a meal of only hash browns is lacking in nutritional diversity (and, uh, flavour), they’re great alongside a veggie power bowl. Dipping them in salsa or pico de gallo will also boost their nutrition. “Tomatoes are high in vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as potassium, fiber, and an antioxidant called lycopene,” says Stevens.
Per serving: 160 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated), 13 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 270 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 1 g protein
Don't worry, there's a vegan dessert option at Taco Bell, too! Go for the churro-like cinnamon twists for a sweet and flavorful end to your meal. Of course, cinnamon twists don't count as an entire meal, so Stevens recommends enjoying them after your bean- and veggie-packed main.
Per serving: 170 calories, 6 g fat (0 g saturated), 27 g carbs, 13 g sugar, 210 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 1 g protein
In most cases, you can use substitutes for meats like tofu or shredded lettuce, but sometimes you may not be able to. You can remove eggs in many of your favourite Taco Bell dishes by removing the egg substitute that is listed next to the meat. You'll also have to make a choice about dairy. No cheese? Substitute sour cream for the equivalent of creamy French yogurt. No sour cream? Make do with plain Greek yogurt. Some dishes may contain some soy product, so you will need to decide if that product is acceptable.
What Is Vegan Food?
A vegan diet contains only plants (such as vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits) and foods made from plants. Vegans do not eat foods that come from animals, including dairy products and eggs.
Healthy Eating As A Vegan
You can get most of the nutrients you need from eating a varied and balanced vegan diet.
For a healthy vegan diet:
- eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
- base meal on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates (choose wholegrain where possible)
- have some dairy alternatives, such as soya drinks and yogurts (choose lower-fat and lower-sugar options)
- eat some beans, pulses and other proteins
- choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat in small amounts
- drink plenty of fluids (the government recommends 6 to 8 cups or glasses a day)
- Getting the right nutrients from a vegan diet
- With good planning and an understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced vegan diet, you can get all the nutrients your body needs. If you do not plan your diet properly, you could miss out on essential nutrients, such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12.
- Vegan sources of calcium and vitamin D
- Calcium is needed to maintain healthy bones and teeth.
Non-vegans get most of their calcium from dairy foods (milk, cheese and yogurt), but vegans can get it from other foods.
Good sources of calcium for vegans include:
- green, leafy vegetables – such as broccoli, cabbage and okra, but not spinach (spinach does contain high levels of calcium but the body cannot digest it all)
- fortified unsweetened soya, rice and oat drinks
- calcium-set tofu
- sesame seeds and tahini
- brown and white bread (in the UK, calcium is added to white and brown flour by law)
- dried fruit, such as raisins, prunes, figs and dried apricots
- A 30g portion of dried fruit counts as 1 of your 5 A Day but should be eaten at mealtimes, not as a snack between meals, to reduce the impact of sugar on teeth.
The body needs vitamin D to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients help keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
Good sources of vitamin D for vegans include:
- exposure to sunlight, particularly from late March/early April to the end of September – remember to cover up or protect your skin before it starts to turn red or burn (see vitamin D and sunlight)
- fortified fat spreads, breakfast cereals and unsweetened soya drinks (with vitamin D added)
- vitamin D supplements
- Read the label to ensure the vitamin D used in a product is not of animal origin.
Vegan sources of iron:
- Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells.
- A vegan diet can be high in iron, although iron from plant-based food is absorbed by the body less well than iron from meat.
Good sources of iron for vegans are:
- wholemeal bread and flour
- breakfast cereals fortified with iron
- dark green, leafy vegetables, such as watercress, broccoli and spring greens
- dried fruits, such as apricots, prunes and figs
Vegan sources of vitamin B12
- The body needs vitamin B12 to maintain healthy blood and a healthy nervous system.
- Many people get vitamin B12 from animal sources, such as meat, fish and dairy products. Sources for vegans are limited and a vitamin B12 supplement may be needed.
Sources of vitamin B12 for vegans include:
- breakfast cereals fortified with B12
- unsweetened soya drinks fortified with vitamin B12
- yeast extract, such as Marmite, which is fortified with vitamin B12
Vegan sources of omega-3 fatty acids:
Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily those found in oily fish, can help maintain a healthy heart and reduce the risk of heart disease when eaten as part of a healthy diet.
Sources of omega-3 fatty acids suitable for vegans include:
- flaxseed (linseed) oil
- rapeseed oil
- soya oil and soya-based foods, such as tofu
- Evidence suggests that plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids may not have the same benefits in reducing the risk of heart disease as those in oily fish.
Check Out Taco Bell’s Vegan Menu
Those looking to eat vegan in the parking lot may have some additional obstacles. If you order off the Taco Bell menu, Stevens recommends ordering the Taco Flatbread with the “light” cheese. The rest of the options are listed in the ingredients, and you should be able to find them without any trouble. Most are also vegan.
The Taco Bell Menu
The Taco Bell menu is one of the most vegan-friendly menus on the market, featuring many choices that can be customized to include additional veggies, beans, or non-dairy cheese. All menu items must contain less than 650 calories, 25 grams of saturated fat, 5 grams of trans fat, 40 grams of total carbohydrate, and 10 grams of fiber, according to the Taco Bell website.
Chicken Taco Supreme
Taco Bell’s vegan chicken dish is one of the most popular on the menu. It’s made up of seasoned white rice, refried beans, shredded cheese, nacho sauce, tomatoes, and a taco shell. This option also includes all of the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, and fiber that make up the Taco Bell vegan menu. Order your Taco Bell meal without the meat to cut down on calories and saturated fat.
How To Eat Vegan At Taco Bell?
Whether you’re on the road or in a rush, plant-based fast food comes in clutch. American-based fast-food chain Taco Bell offers a variety of convenient and easily veganized options for on-the-go eats.
While a partnership with Beyond Meat remains in the works, Taco Bell offers a variety of vegan ingredients, including black beans, tortilla chips, guacamole, and potato bites. That’s right, the potatoes are back! Whether you’re ordering on the app or in-person, T-Bell offers a “make it vegetarian” option which removes meat products. Once you’ve done that, don’t forget to order your meal “fresco style” to replace cheese, sour cream, and mayo-based sauces with a tasty pico de gallo.
When it comes to vegan options at Taco Bell, we’ve got a lot to taco ‘bout. Each taco requires a few ingredient modifications—but we’ve got options, people!
Spicy Potato Soft Taco
Hey frugal foodies, this one’s for you. Find the potato taco on the $1 value menu! When ordering, remove the cheese and chipotle sauce, but feel free to add a variety of vegan toppings like guacamole and red sauce.
Crunchy or Soft Taco. Choose from a crunchy or soft tortilla, substitute beans for beef, and make it fresco style. You’ve got yourself a bean taco topped with lettuce and salsa. If you’re in a car full of hangry vegans, be sure to snag a modified party pack.
T-Bell has the hookup on some of the best-veganized handhelds fast food has to offer.
Bean Burrito. Order this tasty wrap fresco style for quick and easy order. Want to level up your meal? Load this burrito with tomatoes, potatoes, and guac.
Burrito Supreme. Start with the Burrito Supreme, sub beans, and remove the cheese and sour cream by ordering it fresco-style. This tasty handheld includes onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and red sauce.
Bean and Rice Burrito. Another value menu snag! Nix the cheese and jalapeno sauce when ordering and you’ve got a $1 burrito packed with beans and rice. Pile on a few upgrades for a heartier choice.
Without a vegan cheese option, this is a nacho average appetizer, but if you order right, Taco Bell can whip up an enjoyable, loaded snack.
Nachos BellGrande. Start by ordering without cheese or sour cream and sub beans for beef—the refried beans hold the toppings on the chips in lieu of cheese. Speaking of toppings, add jalapenos, tomatoes, onions, and guac for a loaded nosh.
Chalupas, Crunchwraps, and Power Bowls, oh my! Uplevel your fast food run with these veganized Tex-Mex specialties.
Black Bean Chalupa. Make it fresco to remove the sour cream and cheese. And, as usual, guacamole and red sauce are always a tasty upgrade.
Power Menu Bowl – Veggie. This bowl is packed with seasoned rice, black beans, guacamole, and veggie toppings. Order without cheese, sour cream, and avocado ranch to make it vegan. You’ll want a fork for this one.
Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme. Make this good-to-go meal pocket vegan by asking for it fresco style. Without the nacho cheese and sour cream, this choice packs beans, tomato, lettuce, and a crunchy tostada layer.
We see your suspicion, but we raise you a viable vegan option that tastes great.
Quesadilla. Start with the cheese quesadilla, but remove the cheese and jalapeno sauce. Add in refried beans, guacamole, and red sauce. It might not be as composed as the burritos and tacos above, but if the Dilla mood strikes, who are we to hold you back?
Wakey wakey, on-the-go breakfast is served. And they’ve even got hot coffee.
Hash Browns. Yup! These tasty breakfast staples are totally vegan. Dip them in T-Bell’s breakfast salsa or guacamole.
Breakfast Burritos. This one requires a little planning ahead, but it’s worth it. While beans and other plant-based additions are not always available during breakfast hours, some locations offer an overlap hour(s) where the breakfast menu ends and the lunch menu begins. Fill a tortilla with hashbrowns, beans, guacamole, and pico for an on-the-go breakfast meal.
Taco Bell didn’t skimp on the vegan-friendly sides. Round out your meal with a tasty selection.
Black Beans (and Rice). Keep it simple with a side of our favourite legume. Order with or without seasoned rice.
Chips. Add tortilla chips to your order for scooping and snacking! We like to pair them with a side of guacamole.
Cinnamon Twists. ICYMI: Cin twists are totally vegan. Enjoy a sweet treat at the end of your meal.
For the finishing touch to any order, snag a side of breakfast salsa, diablo, fire, hot, mild, or red sauce.
Want to go fully rogue DIY and make a masterpiece of your own? The following ingredients are all vegan: black beans, chalupa shells, gordita flatbreads, hash browns, jalapeno peppers, lettuce, nacho chips, onion, potato bites, guacamole, red strips, refried beans, rice, taco shells, tomatoes, tortillas, and tostada shells.
Do I Have To Sacrifice Taste For My Health?
It’s great news when you don’t have to sacrifice your taste buds in order to eat healthily! We’re talking about eating fresh and colourful—trying new dishes and giving our local favourites a healthier twist (mum won’t taste the difference).
Just little tweaks to the way you cook, or the ingredients you use can make a difference. We’re blessed with access to produce from all over the world. It’s time to get creative!
Yummier Than Ever
Let the natural flavours in your food shine through. This means that there is no need to mask dishes with heavy sauces and too much salt. Instead, explore the wonderful world of herbs and spices, mushrooms, fruit and vegetables. These are natural flavour enhancers, all readily available and familiar ingredients, which can add that special oomph to your usual fare.
At the same time, make a switch to healthier oils, like olive, peanut or sunflower oils. You’d be surprised at how subtly it changes the flavour of your food. Still, remember to skim off any extra oil from your curry and stews! This leaves more real flavour behind for you to enjoy.
Your food shouldn’t just taste great, it should look great, too. Adding colour to your plate is easy with the beautiful vegetables available to us year-round.
Did you know that the bright orange and red veggies, like capsicums, carrots, tomatoes and pumpkins, offer not just amazing sweetness but also even more amazing vitamins?
Keep a rainbow over your meal by using any veg from dark green kai lan to purple cabbage and white cauliflower, in order to get your full spectrum of flavour—and nutrients.
Now, how about adding new textures as well… If you haven’t discovered wholegrains yet, then it’s about time you tried some. Brown or wild rice, wholewheat bread and pasta, wholegrain or bran cereals have an “earthy” flavour, and in some foods, a chewiness that can be very satisfying. Together with the crunchy goodness of nuts and seeds, they bring another dimension to your palate.
Fast food is often the source of questionable nutrition information, but there's no denying that in terms of both speed and convenience, these dining options provide a healthy fast food experience with a cozy and familiar environment. The goal is to make nutritious, satisfying choices in a fast-food setting that will leave you satisfied and energized.
Nowadays, plant-based meals can't get much simpler or healthier than Taco Bell and McDonald's* (*Vegan option not available in Canada and the US). The earlier you prepare your meals, the less time you'll have to be stressed about them and the more time you'll have to spend on other important things. Instead of vegging out in front of the TV when you're hungry, making a simple Taco Bell meal is the quickest way to get your mind right and fill your body with satisfying goodness.
I trust you enjoyed reading the article about Taco Bell's Vegan Options. Please stay tuned. There are more blog posts to come very shortly.
Want To Learn How To Create Your Own Delicious, Cruelty-Free, Healthy AND 100% Vegan Meals? Try These Awesome Vegan Cooking Courses With A Free 7-DAY MEMBERSHIP
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Here are the links to some of my favourite articles:
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