As meat-free stoners and cheese-centric vegetarians nationwide have long known, Taco Bell is a legitimately good spot to find cheap, veg-friendly junk food. With its beans, potatoes, rice, guac, and tortillas all prepared vegan already, Taco Bell has earned not only the approval of hard-to-please PETA but also the American Vegetarian Association.
In 2019, however, the chain will be making eating meatless even easier. Taco Bell announced in a press release yesterday that it will be testing a dedicated vegetarian menu later this year. For Taco Bell, those options are meant to make ordering “easier and better for vegetarians and flexitarians” and fit into a push towards better quality and sustainability. Currently, it’s not totally clear what this new menu might look like, but some fans are hoping for meat alternatives like Beyond Meat.
These changes come in addition to Taco Bell’s many vegetarian options already. Considering that you can mix and match from the rest of the menu by replacing meat with beans or potatoes, Taco Bell says they currently offer 8 million potential vegetarian combinations. That’s apparently “enough to customize a new meal every day for nearly 20,000 years.” (As my talents lie more in eating and less in math, I’ll take them at their word that one could make that many different treats.)
The very online world of Taco Bell fans on Reddit seems mostly nonplussed by the announcement, but for them, the chain’s friendliness to vegetarians isn’t a surprise. Just last month, one Redditor wrote, “I am a vegan thankful for Taco Bell every day.” The 92 comments, as of this writing, include lots of tips for making the Mexican-inspired mall food meatless—like ordering anything “Fresco-style,” which replaces all dairy with pico de gallo; or getting the Mexican Pizza with black beans instead of meat, a swap that one person calls “actually spectacular.”
Worldwide, it’s becoming easier and easier to get your fill of vegan and vegetarian fast food. A recent Vox article called 2018 “the year of vegan junk food,” mostly because of the growing popularity of Impossible Foods and Beyond Burger. As MUNCHIES UK recently explored, more and more chains are incorporating “chicken” cutlets, non-dairy cheese, barbecue jackfruit, and veggie “sausage” rolls onto their menus as initiatives like Veganuary help animal-free diets grow increasingly more mainstream.
While meatless eaters wait for the new menu’s rollout, I offer this piece of advice: Order everything with potatoes instead of meat—that’s the key to living más and meat-free. Plenty of people will tell you that beans are the best veg swap, but that’s a rookie move.
Get the Quesarito with potatoes and not meat, fill that thing with Fire Sauce, and just give in to that cheesy mess of tortillas, rice, and potatoes. Your drunk self will thank you.