Here’s What’s Vegan at Taco Bell, Including What’s Not on the Menu
Taco Bell is a not-so-secret haven for plant-based or vegan eaters since it has a lineup of meatless choices unrivaled 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.
First, anyone who eats plant-based can tell you, if you're with a group of friends and they're wondering where to steer the car for a drive-through snack, always insist on heading to Taco Bell. There are so many options that the biggest problem is deciding what to order first: From burritos to dessert, Taco Bell has something for everyone, at any meal, and most importantly, any time of the day.
Taco Bell is championed as the premier fast-food destination for plant-based consumers, so reaction was swift when they removed potatoes from the menu late last year. You might not think that spuds were a big deal for Taco Bell, but knowing that vegans substitute meat for potatoes on the menu, this would have spelled disaster for ordering. The backlash against the decision was swift and loud.
The uproar was powerful enough that Taco Bell reversed its decision and the much-loved potatoes returned on March 11th. Potatoes are a great swap for most meat items on the menu, which is why you can now say: "Please hold the beef in my tacos, and use potatoes instead."
It's just that sort of insider knowledge that helps you order easily. Here is the insider's guide to Taco Bell's plant-based menu choices.
Ordering Vegan at Taco Bell Is Easier Than Ever With an In-Restaurant Kiosk
Now all of the in-restaurant have easy kiosks, so you can tap the Veggie Mode button, transforming nearly every item on the menu into a fully vegetarian and vegan-friendly lineup. The company claims that you “can make almost 1 million unique vegetarian combinations” making this the one-stop-shop for anyone following a plant-based diet but wants to eat on the go.
For decades, Taco Bell has prided itself in its vegetarian and vegan options, but the true heroes of the game are the consumers who share online the hacks they use to make it work since many of the options are not on the menu. Whether you’re on a road trip, need a quick meal, or catching late-night munchies, here is our guide for the most nutritional, meat-free offerings at Taco Bell.
One thing to keep in mind for strict vegans: The American Vegetarian Associated certifications at Taco Bell come with a disclaimer for some items, including the potatoes and Chalupa shells. These items may be fried in the same oil as meat products. (Taco Bell occasionally offers fried meat products including Rolled Chicken Tacos, and Naked Chicken Chalupas. Before 2020 potatoes, did not carry the certified vegetarian symbol because of this, but now it is certified, with the disclaimer at the bottom.)
Vegan Menu Top Picks: Make it “Al Fresco!”
Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme
The Crunchwrap Supreme is an all-star menu item at Taco Bell. The flavor-packed wrap can be made completely plant-based by simply asking to remove sour cream and nacho cheese sauce. When ordering ask for either the black beans, pinto beans, or potatoes as a substitute. To make up for the cheese, put some of the premium guacamole in the Crunchwrap. The piece de resistance is the diablo sauce, and you’ve got a fully-plant-based delicious meal.
The Bean Burrito
The Bean Burrito is an easy, easy on-the-go menu item. The burrito contains pinto beans, red sauce, and onion. Make sure to order it al-fresco and no cheese. To jazz it up, you can add potatoes, guacamole, or seasoned rice.
The Burrito Supreme
The Burrito Supreme is another fan-favorite meal packed with pinto beans, tomatoes, red sauce, and lettuce. The Supreme usually comes with beef, but the protein can easily be replaced with extra pintos, black beans, or potatoes. Order no sour cream, and as usual, the premium guacamole will always delight.
Power Menu Bowl - Veggie
The Power Menu Bowl brings the best of everything that Taco Bell has to offer. The bowl contains black beans, seasoned rice, guacamole, lettuce, and pico de gallo. Ask for the Power Menu Bowl to be vegan, al fresco, or ask to remove the cheese, sour cream, and avocado ranch. When potatoes return to menus nationwide, it is highly recommended to add some to your bowl to get the fullest experience and the fullest stomach.
As one of the most essential Taco Bell ingredients, we must mention the Chalupa shell. The Chalupa shell is certified vegan, meaning some of the most delicious menu items can be made fully plant-based by asking for it to be al-fresco. The Chalupa Supreme consists of tomato and lettuce with your choice of protein (black or pinto beans) or potatoes. Add guacamole or pico de gallo to fill the supreme to its biggest potential.
The Nacho Bellgrande cannot be overlooked. Although it may seem like a lost cause for the plant-based consumer, the Nacho Bellgrande can be one of the greatest and most filling items without meat. Ask for the Bellgrande to come without nacho cheese and instead to include the guacamole. The beef can easily be swapped out for black beans, more pintos, or potatoes. The nacho plate then will be fully plant-based with tortilla chips, tomatoes, lettuce, pico de gallo, and your choice of substitutes.
Bean & Rice Burrito
A familiar favorite for the budget menu, the Cheesy Bean & Rice Burrito is a staple for Taco Bell regulars. Although only vegetarian, the burrito can easily be made fully vegan even if you don’t see it on the menu. Ask for a simple Bean & Rice burrito for a cheap, easy snack. You can even add potatoes to the inside of the burrito, and make sure that you get your favorite hot sauce to spice it up.
Crunch or Soft Tacos, and The Supreme
With all this talk about burritos, don’t forget about the restaurant’s namesake. All of the crunchy and soft tacos on the menu can be turned into plant-based meals. The tacos can be filled with any choice of protein substitute as well as the premium guacamole or pico de gallo. The namesake should not be overlooked as a cheap and delicious plant-based meal.
Vegan Snacks, Sides, and Desserts
Whether you want to add something to your order or you’ve been dragged to Taco Bell and don't feel like going all-in with a meal, these sides and snacks will always have your back. The quick bites make for some of Taco Bell’s best, and sometimes you just want an all-side meal.
- Cinnamon Twists
- Black Beans and Rice
- Guacamole and Chips
- Potato Bites
- Seasoned Rice
- Hash Browns
- Black Beans
- Pinto Beans
The American Vegetarian Association also provided a quick list of all the vegan sauces and ingredients, to ensure that Taco Bell’s plant-based or vegan offerings ring true.
Here are the AVA Certified Vegan Sauces:
- Breakfast Salsa
- Diablo Sauce
- Fire Sauce
- Hot Sauce
- Mild Sauce
- Red Sauce
Here are all the AVA Vegan Certified Ingredients
- Black Beans
- Chalupa Shell
- Gordita Flatbread
- Hash Brown
- Jalapeno Peppers
- Nacho Chips
- Potato Bites
- Premium Guacamole
- Red Strips
- Seasoned Refried Beans
- Seasoned Rice
- Taco Shell
- Tostada Shell
Taco Bell Partners With Beyond Meat to Expand Plant-Based Options
Earlier this year the chain announced it was partnering with Beyond Meat to add more plant-based alternatives. Taco Bell's parent company Yum! Brands plans to introduce Beyond Meat in its menu nationwide. “We’re excited about the long-term potential plant-based protein menu items to have to attract more customers to our brands, especially younger consumers,” Yum! Brands CFO Chris Turner said in a recent statement. For anyone who hasn’t been to Taco Bell since starting out on a plant-based journey, or in many years it's worth a revisit