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fast food vegan

Fast Food Vegan: Taco Bell (Updated)

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Taco Bell has been, and will continue to be, one of my favorite fast food spots. The price is right, the variety is great, I love Mexicana and it’s is just a comfort food for me. I go there at LEAST once a week, and every time when I go out to the movies. I actually look forward to my Taco Bell more than the movie itself on movie nights. When I switch to vegetarian and later vegan, I was afraid of cutting Taco Bell out of my life.

I always knew Taco Bell had bean burritos which tasted “pretty ok.” I knew this because I had several vegetarian friends in high school. I never cared much about how good they tasted or what else was available for vegetarians at the time. But now, I really hoped they tasted better than just ok. So I went to Taco Bell, as a vegetarian, to explore my options.

Taco Bell Burritos
Taco bell sides

I spoke to my regular server, Danny. Me and Danny go way back. I show up at his Taco Bell at 10:30pm most friday nights. I started asking him some questions about substituting other things for meat in tacos and burritos. It turns out there are many things you can sub for meat! The classic refried beans are there but there are also black beans, guacamole, fiesta potatoes and rice. I found that fiesta potatoes offered the best element of heartiness and saltiness that I have grown accustomed to with beef and chicken. However, if you plan on replacing protein with protein then beans are probably the best choice. Or you can mix and match!

Taco Bell also has a magic phrase “Fresco Style.” Saying Fresco Style will replace all cheeses, creams, and guacamole with pico. Usually I tell them to leave the guac on when it’s relevant. Here are go-to items to order after years of experience.

  • Mexican Pizza, fresco style, sub beef for rice, add guac (or side of guac)
  • Cheese quesadilla, sub refried beans for cheese, add rice, add red sauce
  • Bean burrito, fresco style, add rice, add potatoes, add guac

The bean burrito is especially amazing because you can refrigerate and then reheat it later (if this is your plan I suggest keeping the guac off). I often order 4 of these at a time and keep 2 for later, or the next day. Let me know what you come up with!

fast food vegan

Fast Food Vegan: Noodles & Company (Updated)

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Hey guys thanks for reading! I want to let everyone now that since writing this series I have officially become a full-fledged vegan. Going forward, this series will be called Fast Food Vegan. I will amend all of the previous article toward a more vegan focus. Obviously vegetarians are still welcome. Stay awhile!

Alex Krasny
Alex KrasnyCEO

Often when trying to think of a good vegan eatery it’s easy to lose track of places that don’t even need to try that hard. Pasta is a food that lends itself very well to vegan cuisine because even omnivores usually don’t complain about a lack of meat when sitting in front of a hearty bowl of noodles.

Unfortunately most of the sauces are cream based such as Alfredo and the creamy pesto they use. But they do offer traditional marinara as well as a variety of peanut-based asian selections.

noodles-menu-items

It gets even better, Noodles carries marinated tofu as a meat alternative and of course you can add additional vegetables to your meal like mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, whatever. They also have salads, soups, and breads to round out the meal.

I am actually surprised with myself for taking so long to realize that Noodles is one of the best places for me to go! At Burger King, Taco Bell and Subway I always feel like I am being “weird” for modifying the standard food with vegetarian substitutes but not at Noodles. I can order my Japanese Pan Noodles with confidence.

Recently Noodles added something called “Buff Bowls” to the menu. These dishes contain double the normal amount of vegetables and lay them over a bed of spinach instead of noodles. If you are afraid of carbs, have a gluten problem, or simply LOVE vegetables, check them out! My wife and I had some and we are sold.

noodles-buff-bowl