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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
We all know the appeal, or at least the concession, of a vegetable sandwich. It is as simple as ordering what you always, except without the meat. Sometimes Subway offers avocado to add to the sandwich for the extra … heft? Don’t get me wrong, I have eaten my fair share of veggie sandwiches with Jalapeños and extra mayo from subway but I am going to be honest. A sandwich without meat always leaves me wanting.
I say top-secret because it doesn’t appear anywhere on the menu in the store. You would think right under the Veggie Delight they would have a little asterisk that says “Try our delicious veggie patty.” There is no such asterisk. I spent a fair amount of time trying to find this item on Subway’s online menu, and although I did find it (along with a very impressive variety of vegetarian protein options) on the Indian Subway website it doesn’t seem to appear on the US side. Maybe it is a new item still in testing?
I hope not because the patty was excellent.
The patty is in the shape of a rounded rectangle, and seems to be made specifically for 6″ subway sandwiches. It tastes very much like the Morning Star patty found at Burger King but I can’t be sure if it actually is a Morning Star brand because it seemingly has no documentation. From my personal impression it is a patty made of compressed vegetables rather than a soy compound. There probably are beans involved but it is certainly not a “bean patty.” I am not sure if it is vegan friendly, you could try asking … if the workers even know they have it.
If you have a SubWay near you, ask them if they have veggie patties in stock. The addition of a hot and chewy patty really completes the sandwich experience. Just for fun, take a look at what the 400 Subways in India serve!