When it comes to the popularity of non-American foods in the US, no cuisine can even come close to Mexican food.
And I can’t complain. It’s easier to make, easily available at restaurants, packed with many flavors and textures, filling, and, above all, customizable. What more can one ask for?
While we (vegans) had long thought that Mexican food couldn’t get any better for us, Qdoba proved us wrong.
Read on to find out what change this Mexican restaurant brought in the vegan food industry, how it stands out from the country’s other similar Mexican food chains, and Qdoba vegan options.
Eating Vegan at Qdoba – How Is It Different?
Qdoba Mexican Eats is one of the country’s most reliable fast-casual chains for vegans for several reasons.
Not only does the restaurant provide a fully customizable menu, but it also offers vegan options in its standard menu, making it easier for plant-eaters to order food without having to give detailed instructions.
Moreover, Qdoba’s menu is free of animal ingredients that often sneak into otherwise plant-based foods at many restaurants, such as lard.
While these were enough reasons for vegans to love Qdoba, the restaurant chain won our hearts all over again by incorporating plant-based meat into its menu.
The legendary decision was implemented in the beginning of 2019 with a small test campaign quickly followed by the nationwide launch of Impossible vegan meat at Qdoba.
Initially, the plant-based meat was only available for tacos and bowls, but it was also made available for burritos by the end of the year.
The availability of vegan meat makes Qdoba Mexican Eats stand out from its competitors. When eating here, you don’t have to settle for veggie meals just because you don’t have any other option.
As if this wasn’t enough to make vegans fall in love with this place, Qdoba made sure that plant-eaters didn’t have to pay more for their different food choices.
Unlike many other places, this Mexican restaurant chain doesn’t charge you extra for swapping regular meat with its vegan alternative. Moreover, they offer 10% discount if you choose to skip the meat completely. Can you think of any other place that does so? I can’t!
What are the Vegan Options at Qdoba?
Now that we know what makes this Mexican restaurant so popular in the community of plant-eaters, let’s take a look at what exactly it has to offer us.
Qdoba vegan options include:
- Impossible Taco Salad – requires customization
- Chips with Guac or Salsa
- Tortilla Soup
- Impossible Fajita Bowl
- Impossible Fajita Burrito
- Fajita Vegan Bowl
- Create Your Own Entrée
- Apple Sauce
Qdoba’s vegan menu may look smaller, but with “Create Your Own Entrée” option, your choices are endless. It also saves you from the hassle of reading the entire menu to figure out what foods you can get customized according to your vegan diet and how.
Keep reading to learn how to order vegan at Qdobaand get answers to the most common questions about Qdoba’s vegan menu.
Qdoba Vegan Options – A Detailed Breakdown
Here’s all that vegans can eat at Qdoba:
▪ Impossible Taco Salad
Contrary to what the name may suggest, this salad doesn’t come standard as vegan-friendly. However, it’s easier to customize. All you have to do is to order it without the cheese.
Your vegan taco salad at Qdoba will be a delicious and healthy mix of seasoned vegan meat, romaine lettuce, and pinto beans topped with roasted tomato salsa, pico, and freshly cooked crisp and crunchy tortilla strips.
Tip: You can also add a vegan dressing to your salad to further enhance the flavor (options listed below).
▪ Chips with Guac or Salsa
What’s a Mexican meal without chips and dip?
Get yourself this classic Mexican appetizer when eating at Qdoba because it’s vegan-friendly. The chips are cooked fresh in soybean oil, seasoned with salt and lime, and served with fresh, house-made salsa and hand-smashed guacamole.
All the components are free of animal ingredients and are categorized as vegan-friendly by the restaurant. But, as per Qdoba’s allergen menu, their foods may come in contact with various allergens during the preparation and/or cooking process.
This might mean that they use shared equipment or fryer. But it’s not confirmed.
If you’re concerned about cross-contamination and want to make sure that the tortilla chips aren’t cooked in the same fryer that is used for meat products, ask your server or speak to your local Qdoba’s management, as recommended by the restaurant itself.
Salsa and guac are confirmed vegan.
▪ Impossible Fajita Bowl
It was one fine day in October 2019 when Qdoba delighted its plant-based customers by announcing the launch of Impossible Fajita Bowls and Burritos nationwide.
The big, hearty, and flavorful vegan fajita bowl features cilantro-lime rice, seasoned black beans, smoked chiles, red onion, tomatoes, corn salsa, and salsa verde with Impossible meat that is seasoned in-house with tomatoes, paprika, and garlic to provide a stronger burst of flavor.
All these ingredients are topped with oregano-seasoned red onions and sautéed bell peppers. Isn’t your mouth watering yet?
Qdoba’s Impossible Fajita Bowl offers a great combination of flavors and textures. It’s delicious, filling, and comes standard as vegan, making it a great vegan entrée option at Qdoba.
▪ Impossible Fajita Burrito
As you could perhaps guess by the name, this is the burrito version of Qdoba’s Impossible Fajita Bowl. It has all the same ingredients as the fajita bowl, but they all come wrapped in a flour tortilla.
The vegan burrito makes an ideal option for a grab-and-go meal and can be a life-savor on those busy days when you don’t have time to sit down and eat.
▪ Fajita Vegan Bowl
This is the meatless and healthier version of Impossible Fajita Bowl. If you do not have a palate for plant-based meats or prefer to avoid processed foods in general, this makes a great vegan entrée option at Qdoba.
Qdoba’s Fajita Vegan Bowl contains seasoned brown rice topped and black beans topped with fajita vegetables, salsa verde, corn salsa, pico, and Qdoba’s signature hand-smashed guacamole.
Honorable Mention – Tortilla Soup
If you have ever eaten at Qdoba, you would know that their tortilla soup was an absolute hit. And rightly so! It was pure comfort food in a bowl and, most importantly, could be ordered vegan.
The restaurant, however, took its customers (vegans and non-vegans alike) by surprise earlier this year by announcing that they were taking it off the menu. It left many sad and disappointed and several others angry.
It seems the restaurant has listened to its customers’ continuous demands for bringing it back. Qdoba Mexican Eats has brought back its famous tortilla soup, only for a limited time though.
The soup is now on the restaurant’s seasonal menu and will only be available during the winter season.
If you’ve been a fan of Qdoba’s tortilla soup, head to your nearest location and grab some while it’s available. If you have never tried it, you should do it now!
Appearing on the menu as Loaded Tortilla Soup, it comes with a vegan-friendly soup base loaded with your choice of toppings from proteins, beans, rice, veggies, salsas and sauces.
You can also choose how you want it to be served – in a bowl or an edible crunchy tortilla shell. When eating vegan, you can get it with just veggies or with the Impossible plant-based meat.
▪ Create Your Own Entrée
If the vegan options on Qdoba’s menu aren’t your preferred Mexican food choices, you’re not in the mood for them or have got tired of eating them on every visit; the restaurant allows you to create your own Mexican vegan dish.
Here are all the vegan ingredients you can use to build your own entrée, along with a quick step-by-step guide on how to go about it:
Step 1 – Choose Your Entrée Base or Core Ingredient
- Flour Tortilla
- Whole Wheat Flour Tortilla
- Soft Corn Tortilla
- Crunchy Tortilla Shell
- Crispy Taco Shell
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Seasoned Brown Rice
Step 2 – Choose Your Protein
- Impossible Meat (seasoned in-house to further enhance the flavor profile)
Step 3 – Choose Additional Ingredients
- Black Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Seasoned Brown Rice
- Grilled Fajita Veggies
- Seasoned Potatoes
- Romaine Lettuce
- Pickled Red Onions
- Chopped Onions
- Pickled Jalapenos
- Tortilla Strips
Step 4 – Choose Sauces and Salsa
- Hand-Smashed Guacamole
- Pico De Gallo
- Salsa Verde
- Salsa Roja
- Habanero Salsa
- Roasted Tomato Salsa
- Chile Corn Salsa
▪ Apple Sauce
Apple sauce is a popular kids’ menu item. While you may not want to order it, unless you have a baby with you or you are badly craving something sweet (as most restaurant chains do not have vegan dessert options), I am listing it here because it is a vegan option at Qdoba.
▪ Vegan Salad Dressings at Qdoba
There is only one vegan-friendly salad dressing available at Qdoba (the restaurant doesn’t have many dressing options anyways). It is Citrus-Lime Vinaigrette.
To be honest, you don’t really need a dressing with all the delicious Mexican salsas and guacamole. But, if you still feel like adding some to your vegan taco salad available at Qdoba, you can get the lime vinaigrette.
▪ Vegan Beverages at Qdoba
Qdoba offers quite a lot of vegan drinks options to choose from. These include:
- Coca-Cola Zero
- Diet Coke
- Diet Coke – Caffeine-free
- Coca-Cola – Cherry
- Mexican Coke
- Fanta Orange
- Mexican Sprite
- Simply Orange Juice
- Barq’s Root Beer
- Minute Maid Lemonade
- Minute Maid Light Lemonade
- Minute Maid Apple Juice – on kids’ menu
- Mello Yello
- Hi-C Flashin Fruit Punch
- Vitamin Water
- Jarritos Soda
- Powerade Mountain Berry Blast
- Gold Peak Raspberry Iced Tea
- Gold Peak Lemon Iced Tea
- Honest Tea Honey Green Tea
- Honest Tea Organic Peace Tea
- Honest Tea Half and Half
- Gold Peak Classic Blend Tea
- Gold Peak Classic Sweet Tea
- Gold Peak Southern Tea
- Fuze Raspberry Tea
Qdoba Menu Items That May Look Vegan, But Are Not
There are a couple of ingredients on Qdoba’s menu that you may think would be vegan-friendly, but they actually contain non-vegan ingredients. Therefore, it’s important that you know about them. These are:
Qdoba Vegan Menu FAQs
Let’s answer a few common questions people ask when ordering vegan at Qdoba to give all the plant-eaters out there a clear idea of what they can and cannot eat at the Mexican chain.
▪ Does Qdoba have vegan cheese?
Even though an increasing number of restaurants are adding vegan options to their menu, many still lag behind when it comes to vegan cheese. Sadly, Qdoba Mexican Eats is also one of them. The Mexican restaurant chain does not offer vegan cheese yet.
This means the queso that you get at Qdoba is not vegan-friendly.
▪ Are Qdoba beans vegan?
Qdoba offers two varieties of beans – seasoned black beans and pinto beans. Fortunately, both of them are free of animal ingredients and are vegan-friendly.
▪ Is the Tortilla Soup at Qdoba vegan?
The Tortilla Soup at Qdobo comes with your choice of ingredients, so it’s easy to be ordered vegan. The soup base if vegan-friendly.
Refer to the article above to learn more about this vegan item on Qdoba’s menu.
▪ Are Qdoba chips vegan?
The tortilla chips available at Qdoba do not contain any animal ingredients. They are also fried in soybean oil. However, they may be cooked in shared fryers. If this is something you’re concerned about, ask your server to confirm at the time of ordering.
Conclusion – Is Qdoba Vegan-Friendly?
Mexican restaurant chains in the US are generally known for being fairly vegan-friendly. But, Qdoba takes the lead by offering a fully customizable menu and plant-based meat. No other popular Mexican chain in the country offers vegan meat.
In addition to this, Qdoba also has a few vegan-friendly options that you can order right off the menu (another point for Qdoba). The restaurant also refrains from using lard or animal fat, common non-vegan culprits in beans and fried items.
All these factors make Qdoba Mexican Eats a good place for vegan diners. The only thing that could be of concern for some vegans is using shared equipment.
While the restaurant doesn’t explicitly state it, it does mention that their foods may come in contact with various allergens. We also don’t know if this applies to all the food items on their menu or fried items only.
If you’re concerned about non-vegan ingredients sneaking into your vegan food through cross-contamination, confirm at your local Qdoba at the time of ordering.
But, if this isn’t something that bothers you, go ahead and order yourself a big, fat, delicious vegan meal at Qdoba Mexican Eats.
Are you a big Mexican food lover and want to know about all that the leading Mexican chains in the country have for their vegan customers? Check out my article Vegan Options at Taco Bell to find out what all you can eat there as a vegan.