A Mexican restaurant may seem like the last place to order vegetarian–ah, but todo lo contrario (quite the contrary). There are many ways to go veg at a Mexican restaurant–and even vegan if you are willing to get creative. Here are some ways to do it.

Start with chips and salsa. Shouldn’t be a problem there. You can also order guacamole or queso (cheese sauce) for dipping, however, make sure the queso is not made with chili con carne (meat). If you’re vegan, of course, skip the cheese.

Choose an appetizer. Black bean and cheese nachos and cheese or vegetable quesadillas are good choices. Also, more and more restaurants are starting to serve lard-free refried beans. If you’re vegan, cheese-less black bean or fat-free refried bean and guacamole nachos are a tasty pick.

Decide on your entree. Veggie fajitas, bean burritos, veggie burritos, tacos or tostadas are all normally good choices (and vegan-friendly if you leave off the cheese and sour cream). If you’re not vegan, add cheese or spinach enchiladas and cheese chili relleno to the list. Most sauces, including the basic red, verde (green) and ranchero are meatless. Mole sauce is often made with chicken broth, but not always.

Pick out a dessert. If you’re not vegan, it’s just a matter of eenie, meenie, minie, moe. But if you are, go for some delicious sopaipillas (sans honey if you’re a strict vegan). Sopaipillas are usually made with vegan-friendly ingredients, including vegetable shortening.

Wash it all down with a refreshing meat-free Margarita or glass of Sangria.


  • It never hurts to check with a server regarding dishes you are uncertain about. If they don’t know the answer, they are normally more than happy to check with the kitchen. Plus, you’d be surprised at what servers know these days, considering there are more vegetarians out there, who may very well have asked the same questions.

  • More and more Mexican restaurants are starting to add vegetarian dishes and even vegetarian sections to their menus.