Mexican food, vegan style

Mexican cuisine is one of the easiest in which to find good vegan options, given that it is traditionally cooked with a lot of beans, rice and vegetables.  If you’re looking for a restaurant in a town with limited vegan options, a Mexican restaurant will often be your best bet.  A key question to ask is whether they use lard in their refried beans.  Whole beans are a good choice if lard is used in the refried beans. At most Mexican family restaurants, you will likely have the choice of a bean and veggie burrito, veggie fajitas, vegetable enchiladas, veggie tacos, and other options.  Just ask them to hold the cheese and sour cream and you’ll have a delicious and wholesome meal.  Salsa and corn chips are always vegan and delicious as a starter.  

Of course, fast food Mexican options are also plentiful, and these days most of them have extensive vegan options, although you may want to avoid the deep-fried options that are high in fat and possibly fried alongside animal menu items.  At Taco Bell, for example, order any item “fresco style” to replace the mayo-based sauces and sour cream with freshly prepared diced tomatoes.  Then substitute the protein with black beans or refried beans.  Examples of suitable dishes include the Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme, the power menu bowl or the basic bean burrito, but the flexibility of their menu gives you plenty of choices.  Similarly at Taco Time, many dishes such as burritos, soft tacos, salads and bowls can be ordered with no cheese or ranch dressing and with pinto beans to make them vegan.  Avoid fried items which are likely cooked in the same oil as meat products. Other, made to order, Mexican style fast food options such as Taco del Mar, Chipotle or Qdoba will have similar flexibility, and some offer meat-substitute options (Sofritas – Chipotle, Impossible beef – Qdoba).

If you prefer to eat at home, you can easily purchase tortilla wraps, pre-made salsa and guacamole, cans of beans, plus rice and some fresh vegetables to make your own burrito.  Add corn tortillas and a can of enchilada sauce, to make your own enchiladas that can be baked in the oven for a family-style meal. Watch Amanda’s cooking class on Vegan Nachos for a delicious vegan cheesy sauce recipe.  

For even more convenience, many frozen ready-made Mexican-style meals are available in the grocery store these days, as companies look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and cater to the demand for more vegan ready-made meals.  Starlite cuisine offers fully vegan taquitos, enchiladas and rolled tacos, with a variety of meat-substitute options.  Sweet Earth and Amy’s Kitchen both include vegan burritos among their many vegan and vegetarian frozen meal options.  Whatever your budget and convenience needs, you’ll be able to find tasty Mexican options.