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How to Make and Where to Buy Vegan Mexican Fast Food, including Raw
Let's Start with Easy at Home Mexican Fast Food
Some of the easiest meals that you can prepare start with a tortilla. These can also be some of the least expensive meals you make. Before the meat industry in the U.S. was government subsidized, you couldn't get meat at the same price as vegetables, with vegetables being lower priced. The meat subsidies flipped that over with meat being the most affordable. Beans are the exception and have always been affordable. Full of protein and fiber, they have long been a staple in many healthy societies. So, let's start with that.
Gluten-Free Rice Tortilla
Hardening or Softening Tortillas
- To harden a soft corn tortilla, I place my tortilla on a thick plate and microwave for one minute.
- Another method would be to fry the tortilla in a non-stick pan (no oil necessary) for about a minute.
- Another method would be to bake the shells. To make a folded taco shell, fold the shell in half over crumpled aluminum foil. Bake at 425 degrees F. for about 15 minutes.
To soften either corn, rice, or wheat tortillas wrap them in a dish towel and microwave for at least a minute. A dry dish towel should work, but if it doesn't, dampen slightly.
- 1 can refried beans, vegetarian
- 1/2 to 1 cup salsa
- 3 tomatoes, plum, chopped
- 2 cups lettuce, shredded
- 1 cup cheese, vegan, shredded (optional)
- 1 pkg. tortillas
- Place the salsa into a frying or sauce pan on medium-high heat. (The quantity will depend on the thickness of the sauce.) Add the can of refried beans and begin stirring. The mixture should become loose, but not runny. Add more sauce as needed.
- Once warmed through, remove from the heat. Spread over the corn tortillas. Top with tomatoes, lettuce, and vegan cheese.
- NOTE: This is also an easy way to make bean burritos, using a wheat or rice tortilla.
A nice variation on the Bean Tostada is the Green Tostada. These are fairly easy to make using your favorite guacamole mix with ripe avocados. Another option would be to mix the mashed avocadas with your favorite salsa. A third option is to make your own guacamole.
Homemade Guacamole Makes 1-2 cups
2-3 ripe avocados (slightly soft), peeled & seeded
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ red or green pepper, minced
½ small onion (prefer Vidalia), minced
1 lemon, squeezed
2 t. chili powder (to taste)
salt, & pepper to taste
Mash the avocados, blend all ingredients, and serve.
Easy Raw Lettuce Tacos
This is the ultimate in easy meal preparation. Using a firm Romaine lettuce leaf, fill with guacamole (using a packet mix, mashed avocado mixed with salsa, or the recipe above) and vegetables of choice. Adzuki bean sprouts could also be added for the beans. Shredded carrots emulates cheddar cheese.
Full Sheet Made for Chips
Raw Chips (dehydrated)
Raw Tacos (dehydrated)
Making the shell raw, takes a little more time and preparation. This recipe requires a dehydrator large enough to make a tortilla. Without that, turn the oven onto the lowest setting, place the trays, lined with parchment paper, onto the oven shelves, and leave the oven door open slightly until the tortilla mix hardens.
Makes 6-12 tortillas; Dehydrate 4-6 hours
4 Roma tomatoes
2 cups corn, fresh
1 cup flax seed, ground
2 fresh, organic carrots, shredded
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor with an S blade. Add water if needed to loosen mixture. Mixture should be loose, like a tomato sauce. Spread thin over a dehydrator sheet, shaped into circles (about 1/3 cup of mix per circle), making 6-12 circles. Heat at 110 degrees in a dehydrator for 4 hours.
Peel off the tortillas and flip onto a screened tray. Dehydrate for an additional 1-2 hours. The end result should be like a thin, soft tortilla.
Fill with guacamole, chopped tomatoes, onions, and lettuce or veggies of choice.
Tacos with (Beef-Style) Crumbles
Prepared Taco Shells
Easy Vegan Tacos
This is another easy meal. This could be made with a hard or soft (wrapped) tortilla shell. (See softening and hardening tortilla shells, above.)
- 1 pkg. taco shells (or tortillas)
- 1 pkg. crumble, vegan (ground beef style)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- oil or margarine for frying
- guacamole (see recipe above)
- vegan sour cream (like Toffutti)
- tomatoes, chopped
- shredded lettuce
- salsa (optional)
- vegan cheese, shredded (optional)
Fry the onions and crumbles in the oil on medium-high to heat. Fill about 2 tablespoons of the crumble mixture into each tortilla or shell. Top with desired toppings and enjoy!
Do you find these recipes helpful?
Beans and Rice--You Hope!
Mexican Restaurant Food is Tricky
Grabbing a quick bite while on the road can be tricky if you are vegetarian and craving Mexican. Even if you are going for a sit-down Mexican restaurant, you should be aware that a typical way to prepare refried beans is with lard. Chicken broth is often used in preparing the rice. To top it off, the waiters don't always know how the food is prepared by the Mexican speaking cooks who can't tell them because of the language barrier. Often, I have found, the waiters/waitresses don't mind lying to you to get your order placed. I have been told, "Yes, the beans are vegan. No meat or meat broth is used." Then, after a few bites, I chomp into a piece of fat or meat. Disgusting!!
It's a Rap!
Best Vegan Fast Food Mexican Restaurants
At the very top of everyone's list should be Taco Bell. Stopping at their chain in many different locations, I have often asked, "What do you have that's vegan or vegetarian?" Their response has always been, "You can choose anything off our menu to be made without meat or dairy." If I had my way, the menu would be made up of vegan choices with the option of adding meat (or, better yet, no meat), but the world in which we (Americans) live is not quite there yet.
Taco Bell has vegan rice, now listed as "seasoned rice", potatoes, salsas, black and refried beans, tortillas, and cinnamon twists. Ask for Bean Burrito Fresco to get tomatoes and onions instead of cheese (tastes much better). Ask for the Tostada without cheese. If you are not sure how to order, just ask the employees who should be able to help you. This is a fast food company that is making an effort to feed vegans more than any other fast food chain.
Second Best Vegan Mexican Fast Food
Chipolte gets my vote for the second best in offering vegan food, including more organic foods. The customer builds his own burrito or taco or bowl or salad. The options include spicy tofu, beans, white or brown rice, fajita veggies, guacamole, chips, and salsa. And, it all tastes delicious!
Mexican Street Food Made Vegan
Other Vegan Mexican Fast Food Options
Freebirds World Burrito offers a new dish called calabacitas that is vegan. You can also get a veggie burrito (or taco, or quesadilla, or salad, or bowl) and cilantro lime rice.
Moe's Southwest Grill offers a vegetarian burrito, stacks and tacos, just hold the cheese and sour cream.
Panchero's Mexican Grill offers a marinated tofu in vegan sauce called Tofusada which can be substituted for meat.
Qdoba Mexican Grill offers making a burrito, taco, or salad bowl with the following vegan ingredients: corn or flour tortillas, black or pinto beans, brown or cilantro-lime rice, fajita vegetables, grilled vegetables, potatoes, guacamole, and most salsas. Also, you can have their tortilla soup.
Benefits of Beans
Vegan Mexican Fast Food Coming of Age
Vegan Mexican meals are easy and healthy. Side options for the above recipes could include corn, rice, potatoes, cornbread, and fried or steamed veggies. To keep the meal as "fast food" you could get most of the side dishes as frozen food that just needs heating. Serve with a fresh fruit drink or herb cold tea for a refreshing lunch or dinner.
Today, Mexican fast food restaurants want to compete for the ever growing vegan population. Taking advantage of what is being offered to us is the best way to ensure that we will have more choices in the future!