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Vegans are not robots. We don’t make the conscious decision to become vegan & suddenly we stop craving things like cheese or cheeseburgers. Yes, it’s true! And I am not immune to the occasional craving (read: loud whining for) greasy pepperoni pizza & hot wings.

Recently, I was in the car with Friand and his two sons when they all declared they wanted to stop for Taco Bell. Memories of the gooey Mexi-melts from my teen years came flooding back. The last time I had a Taco Bell bean & cheese burrito was in 2006 when I was still a lacto-vegetarian. As they all sat in the car reading the drive-thru menu with joie de vivre, I sat in obvious enviousness. But apparently it’s been long enough since I’ve been there that I didn’t know about the Fresco Menu!! Dost mine eyes deceive me? Are those dairy-less options?? Some do have meat in them, but there is bean burrito on that menu!! If I had been quick thinking enough, I would have ordered one, gone to my local Whole Foods & picked up a pack of shredded Daiya Cheddar…

This trip inspired me to do a little research. I deny my son fast food partly because I can’t eat there but mostly because I don’t want him to join the ranks of overweight kids who can’t ride their bike the 1/4 mile to school without panting like a St Bernard on the equator. Wouldn’t it be nice to stop at the drive-thru on the way to Vegas and stuff a burrito in my face as I swerve through traffic? Yes! Bring on the half-assed research!!


If you have any information or reviews you’d like to post here, or another fast food restaurant other than what I consider “The Big 4”, please let me know! I’m happy to post as much information as I can here!!

 TACO BELL

Bean & Cheese Burrito
Fresca Bean Burrito (no dairy)

Nutrition Info Page

Ingredients

Allergens

The most important thing to note is that the Fresca Menu contains no dairy, but 6 items contain meat. I’ll be trying the Fresca Bean Burrito soon, though! Taco Bell Beans do not contain dairy or lard. The best part of all is the Cinnamon Twists are vegan!

Vegans, read through the ingredient page & you’ll find the following items appear to be appropriate for our diet:
*denotes items that may be appropriate for lacto-ovo vegetarians

Starches:

  • Tortillas
  • Taco shells & red taco shell
  • Taco salad shell
  • Tostada shells
  • Pizza shell
  • Nacho chips
  • Express nacho chips
  • Chalupa shells
  • Rice
  • Red Strips

Sauces:

  • Avocado Ranch Dressing*
  • Border Sauce: Fire, Hot, Mild
  • Cheddar Cheese*
  • Chipotle Sauce*
  • Cilantro
  • Creamy Jalapeño Sauce*
  • Fiesta Salsa
  • Fire Roasted Salsa
  • Green Tomatillo Sauce
  • Jalapeños
  • Lava Sauce*
  • Pepper Jack Sauce*
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Red Sauce
  • Reduced Fat Sour Cream*
  • Salsa Roja*
  • Salsa Verde

There are a couple items which I noticed contain Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, an additive that may or may not be animal based. I always steer clear of any ingredient called “stearoyl”. It is not specified in this ingredient list as “plant based”.

Items which appear vegetarian but containing this ingredient are:

  • Flatbread
  • Nacho Cheese Sauce

Allergens: Those with a gluten intolerance will find this all very difficult to navigate. Even items like the nacho chips, which do not contain wheat proteins, are fried in the same oil as other items which contain wheat.  On the allergen page, you see you’re limited to drinks, condiments, Nachos (if you choose to brave the shared equipment factor), Mexican Rice, Pinto N’cheese, and Tostadas.

Follow my progress as I dig deep into the burger & chicken world… More installments to follow!

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4 thoughts on “Fast Food Nation – Taco Bell

  1. In my short time as a vegan (and my many years as a lacto-ovo vegetarian), I've found that chain restaurants are often the easiest places to eat, because they're usually VERY clear about their ingredients. Smaller places change things up, don't know, or worse lie to you about it. Sad but true. Del Taco's offerings are similar to Taco Bell's in terms of what's vegan and what's not. And both restaurants make everything to order, so you can always go custom.

  2. I was lacto-ovo vegetarian in high school, so I lived on those bean & cheese burritos, and the long ago abandoned cheese mexi-melt. I stopped eating there after 2006, when I went vegan. Thanks for the tip on the chains being easier to eat at! I admit I was a little cynical, thinking that their servers were probably disinterested & under-trained when it came to food lifestyles & allergens, which would therefore make it harder to eat there. But apparently not! The sodium of the bean burrito is frightening, but I eat so little salt throughout the day (literally 1 TBSP soy sauce with dinner each night) that I wouldn't feel too guilty for one burrito!Thanks for the info!!

  3. Thanks for this article! I try to stay away from fast food but when I do splurge I get a bean burrito at taco bell with no cheese and add red sauce. I didnt know about the Fresco menu so I will definitly check it out!

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