If you think being vegan means you have to forego your favorite restaurants, you may be surprised at how many vegan options there are. Mexican restaurants, for instance, may seem like they would not have too many vegan options. On the contrary, many Mexican restaurants have a variety of vegan options – if you know what to look for. Read on for some helpful tips for the next time you go out for vegan at a Mexican restaurant.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Should I Look for When Ordering Vegan Food?
- 2 What Can a Vegan Eat at a Mexican Restaurant?
- 3 Opt for Veggie Dishes
- 4 Vegan Options on the Dessert Menu
- 5 What to Order at a Mexican Restaurant Vegan
What Should I Look for When Ordering Vegan Food?
Are the Beans Vegan?
If the establishment’s refried beans are vegan (not made with meat or lard), you can usually swap out any meat dishes, including burritos, tacos, and tortas with refried beans. Skip the cheese and sour cream, and you’ve got a vegan Mexican meal.
Black beans are a great meat substitute as well. If the refried beans are prepared with lard, you can use black beans instead.
Is Rice Vegan?
You may be surprised to learn that not all rice is vegan-friendly. Some Mexican rice is cooked with chicken stock. Ask for plain rice or hold the rice if there is not a vegan-friendlyoption.
Is the Guacamole Vegan?
Guacamole is usually vegan-friendly. Some guacamole contains dairy products, including milk or mayonnaise, but this is more often the case with store-bought guac versus restaurant guac. Ask your server just in case.
What Can a Vegan Eat at a Mexican Restaurant?
If vegan tacos are not on the menu, you can often modify your order to make them vegan. There are a lot of ingredients you can use instead of meat. Ask your server if you can substitute mushrooms, nopales (cacti), or cauliflower in place of the meat.
If the establishment does not have these options, the easiest way to make vegan tacos is to use black beans in place of the meat. Most of the time, your local Mexican eatery will have black beans available. Ask your server how the tortillas are made – some are fried with lard. You can create some delicious vegan tacos with beans, Pico de Gallo, lettuce, and guac. Skip the cheese and sour cream, and you are all set!
Tamales are a delicious meal that can be easily modified to be vegan Mexican food. Tamale recipes often call for dough made from corn and vegetable shortening that is wrapped inside a corn husk and then steamed. Many tamales will be stuffed with meat, such as chicken or pork.
If you order a plan tamale, with just the corn dough, it is vegan-friendly and quite yummy. Make sure to order a plain tamale, though. Also, check with the server to make sure the dough is cooked with vegetable shortening. Some tamale dough is made with lard – which is definitely not vegan-friendly.
Fajitas are usually served with corn tortillas. Make sure the tortillas are not made with lard. Skip the steak or chicken and opt for veggie fajitas. Roasted red peppers, green bell peppers, onions, and chiles are perfect ingredients for vegan fajitas. See if the restaurant can make some cauliflower or tofu in place of the meat. If there is not a substitute available, ask for extra veggies instead of meat.
Molletes is a Mexican breakfast food that is made with rolls called bolillos and refried beans. The bolillos are vegan. To make sure your molletes are vegan-friendly, find out how your refried beans are cooked. Some refried beans are prepared with lard. Top your molletes it with avocado and peppers.
Black Bean Soup
Black bean soup is usually vegan-friendly. Ask your server how the broth is made. Some bean soups will be made with chicken broth.
Chips & Salsa (& Guacamole!)
Tortilla chips and salsa are staples at many establishments. Many restaurants will provide chips and guacamole or chips and salsa as an appetizer. You can also order them as a main dish. Check with your server to make sure the chips are made in vegetable oil, and you should be good to go. Guacamole and salsa are almost always vegan.
Opt for Veggie Dishes
Nopales (Cacti Dishes)
Nopales are dishes made from cacti. You can get nopales as an entrée or a side dish. They are very yummy in a salad or even on their own. The best thing is, nopales are 100% vegan-friendly.
If you find yourself at an establishment that does not have any vegan-friendly options for your protein, beans, rice, or tortillas, you can still eat vegan. You will need to stick to the veggies. You may want to order a salad.
Vegan Options on the Dessert Menu
Mexican Chocolate Cake
Mexican chocolate cake starts with roasted cacao nibs. Mix these into flour and add some cinnamon, sugar, and chili pepper for a deliciously vegan chocolatey dessert.
Churro recipes typically include flour, water, and sugar- all vegan-friendly ingredients. To make sure the churros you are eating are vegan, ask the server if there are any eggs in them.
What to Order at a Mexican Restaurant Vegan
Now that you know what to look for the next time you go to your local Mexican eatery (and what to avoid), you are all set to enjoy some vegan Mexican food. Just remember to check with your server if you are unsure whether a dish is vegan-friendly or not. Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions. Stick to beans and rice, and pile on the veggies!