Taco Bell has long been one of the most vegetarian-friendly fast-food restaurants, and now, the Tex-Mex chain is testing a new plant-based protein as another alternative to meat.
The new seasoned plant-based alternative is a blend of soy and pea protein that’s inspired by classic Taco Bell flavors. It is currently only available at participating locations in Birmingham, Alabama, while supplies last. If the test goes well, however, there’s a chance it could end up on Taco Bell menus nationwide.
Birmingham residents will find the new protein featured in Nachos BellGrande and a new Crispy Melt Taco, which features a white corn shell, a blend of shredded cheddar, mozzarella and Monterey pepper jack cheeses, plus warm nacho cheese sauce. Priced at $2.49, it is then topped with crispy lettuce, even more cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes and reduced-fat sour cream. (Obviously, it is not vegan).
The new Crispy Melt Taco can also be made with ground beef, while the plant-based protein can also be added to any menu item, from a simple taco to a Chalupa and more.
There are a total of 18 items on Taco Bell’s vegetarian menu, including classic items like the Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito and Cheese Quesadilla, plus newer items like the Black Bean Crunch Wrap Supreme and Fiesta Veggie Burrito.
Vegans can also eat at Taco Bell, as some items are marked as containing no animal ingredients. Some restaurants, however, use the same frying oil to prepare menu items that contain animal ingredients, so if you would prefer your food does not even come in contact with animal ingredients, be sure to keep that in mind.
Taco Bell has run other tests of vegetarian items in the past, including a Cravetarian plant-based protein tested in California and the Naked Chalupa in 2021, which had a plant-based shell. The fast-food chain also says it will also have a partnership with the brand Beyond Meat before the end of 2022, but has not said exactly what that means or if the current plant-based protein test is related to that partnership.
If you happen to get your hands on some of Taco Bell’s new plant-based protein, let us know what you think of it on social media!