Vegan Mexican Food On the Road
Okay, we'll confess it. The real reason we sold everything and moved into an RV is so we could eat all the excellent vegan Mexican food. And for the most part, you need to go west to find it.
Now, not everything on this list is entirely authentic. You'll find plenty of Americanized options here. But we've also avoided fusion spots that only have Korean tacos, etc. Not that there's anything wrong with that. You won't find it on this list.
We've arranged these vegan Mexican spots into categories that will help you plan your visit: entirely vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore. We've also tacked on an events category because we attended an amazing one and just had to tell you about it.
Before you start sending us messages that X, Y, or Z should be on the list, these are all places we visited. And we will be adding to it as we continue to travel. So if you have any recommendations, please drop them in the comments for us and everyone else to see!
Where do we find these places?
Our number one resource for finding vegan and veg-friendly restaurants on the road is Happy Cow. They have an app, or you can look up places on their website. It's especially useful for finding vegan-friendly spots that also serve meat for those times when you're dining out in mixed company.
And then, once you're in a local vegan spot, ask the staff where else you need to go. Happy Cow doesn't always list places that have that one amazing vegan dish you have to try, but the rest of the restaurant isn't even vegetarian. Locals will know about these and will give you the lowdown.
Finally, social media can be your friend. Ask your contacts for recommendations. Use social media, especially Instagram, to research tasty looking spots.
Fully Vegan Mexican Restaurants
An actual Mexican has told us that Pancho’s Vegan Tacos in Las Vegas is some of the most authentic Mexican food she’s had in the U.S., vegan or otherwise. All we know is that it’s delicious. It’s so good that we know omnivores that go on their own because they like it that much.
Pancho’s uses TVP to make most of their vegan meats in-house. And the cheese they use is Culinary Co., not Daiya, in case you’re a Daiya hater. Side note: we’ve found this cheese at Grocery Outlet, but that’s the only place we’ve seen it so far.
One reason Pancho’s appeals to us is the range of food that they offer. If you want to be a junk food vegan, you can get something deep fried and covered in cheese and sour cream. If you’d like a healthier option, the tacos aren’t at all greasy, and the posole is fantastic.
While we were in Toronto, we hit up the Doomie’s Home Cookin’ there for their famous burgers. And it just so happened that Doomie was in town! We got to chat with him a bit, and he let us know about his upcoming vegan Mexican spot #NextMex, so we put it on our stomach’s todo list for Los Angeles.
Fast forward about six months, and we finally got to check it out! We had #NextMex for lunch and then came back to Doomie’s Home Cookin’ for dinner because of course, we did.
At #NextMex, you walk up to the counter and place your order on a tablet. Don’t worry; there’s someone available to answer questions if you have them.
Before you start calling us fat, we split this food among four people. Okay, it’s still a lot of food, but it’s so hard to narrow down what to order!
Tacos and a taco combo!
And this is the must order item – a wet burrito. Kevin also made it a chimichanga, naturally.
Did you leave room for dessert? Pictured below is the fried capirotada.
To be fair, we didn’t finish all of this food. There were leftovers. If you’re trying to avoid fried food, the tacos are your best bet. The meats aren’t very oily. Everything was as good as it looks.
For being such a small town, Bisbee is surprisingly vegan-friendly. I mean, they have POCO, an all-vegan spot serving Mexican inspired food.
Here you’ll find chimichangas, nachos, crunchwraps, quesadillas, tacos and the sort. But plan your Bisbee visit wisely! POCO is only open for lunch Friday – Sunday.
POCO is pretty popular with everyone, not just vegans, so bring some patience as it might be busy. But it’s worth the wait!
As a vegan, you can’t go to San Francisco without eating at Gracias Madre. Their focus is organic, non-GMO ingredients many of which come from their Be Love Farm.
We popped in there with The Motorhome Experiment after a long day of sightseeing. In additional to the regular menu, they have happy hour snacks and specials. So we selected an assortment of things.
Can’t go wrong with nachos, right?
I got the enchiladas con mole. They stuffed it with potato and zucchini. And that pile of kale was massive! It’s not always easy eating heart-healthy at a restaurant. Even though there was oil here, it wasn’t overly oily, and nothing was deep fried.
Kevin’s flautas came with beans and some lovely vegetables.
He also tried one of the tacos off of the happy hour menu.
Lorena got the flan but thought the texture didn’t match the non-vegan version.
Kevin’s chocolate cake was decadent.
And Paul destroyed his apple cobbler in no time flat.
I’d be curious to see how the menu changes throughout the year based on produce available from their farm. I bet mid-summer is fantastic! Don’t pass by this higher-end take on vegan Mexican food.
We were only in Monterey for one night, but that was plenty long enough to open up Happy Cow and see that there was an all-vegan Mexican spot there, El Cantaro. And it’s conveniently located just a couple of blocks from Cannery Row.
Their chicken is pretty good, but the steak will rock your world. I had this steak taco, and it was sooo good!
Vegan tacos and burritos are easy to find, but whenever I see a vegan posole, I have to order it. This one didn’t disappoint.
Kevin got a combo plate. It’s the best way to try a bit of everything. And he agreed with me that the steak is outstanding.
El Cantaro closes early on Fridays and is closed on Saturdays so keep that in mind if you’re trying to visit.
Not all of these are out west. Taco Party operates a food truck that roams Boston and has a brick and mortar spot in Somerville – a super cute place, too!
The menu is small but still gives you a bunch of different tastes to try.
And we did our best to try them all, but still fell a bit short.
The house-made cashew cream and sunflower cheese are amazing! We love it when restaurants DIY rather than rely on commercial products. They usually taste better and are better for you.
Vegetarian Mexican Restaurants
Tumerico in Tucson almost belongs in the all-vegan category. The owner is vegan, and most items are vegan by default. But they do serve eggs for breakfast. And I think you can get dairy cheese.
I covered Tumerico in my Eating Vegan in Tucson post, so I’ll refer you there for details.
But I will tell you that your number one goal here is to get the jackfruit. It is hands down the best jackfruit we’ve had. It has so much more flavor than any other we’ve tried!
Omnivorous restaurants with excellent vegan options
Would you like a chimichanga the size of your forearm? Burrito Perdido in Chesapeake, Virginia has got you! They don’t have meat analogs here but do carry vegan cheese and sour cream and have a “no can” policy which we totally back. See more of their offerings on our post from the area.
Tucson has another awesome vegan Mexican option – Tania’s 33. Again, I’ve got details about this one in the Eating Vegan in Tucson post, but this is the place for cheap, tasty eats that don’t consider vegans an afterthought.
And don’t forget to take home a bag of tortillas. They make them on site!
When we arrived, they had a menu card for vegetarian and gluten-free with your options.
Avocado stuffed Chile Rellenos? Oh yeah! And holy moly they were good! No cheese required!
Also, vegan sopapillas? Done!
Sorry for the takeout pics but everything was delicious even after a 30-minute car ride.
Taco Bus got its start serving Mexican food out of a converted school bus. Now they’ve got about a dozen locations in the Tampa, Florida area.
Think of Taco Bus as fast food with vegan options. They’ve got vegan meats, vegan cheese, and tofu.
It’s not fancy, but it’s good quick food. The steak was delicious.
Taco Shack always has vegetarian tacos on the menu, and they’re happy to make them vegan as well. We loved the roasted cauliflower and the Thai brussels sprout taco. If you want it, they do have Daiya cheese. And the owner is a hoot if you get a chance to talk to her.
Elmyr is a dive bar in the Little 5 Points area of Atlanta. Elmyr is the place you go for drinks and food before or after a show.
They’ve been open forever and a day and have always had a tofu option on the menu. If you’re hungry, do a burrito. For me, the taco is enough. It’s served in big tortillas and has less stuff in it than the burrito. Unless there’s been a recent change, they do not have vegan cheese.
Do look inside your food before you eat it though. Occasionally the staff is high as fuck and messes up the order.
In Atlanta’s Kirkwood neighborhood, Elmyriachi is like Elmyr except it’s filled with families instead of smoke. If you aren’t into screeching children, avoid during peak hours.
The menu is similar to Elmyr but not the same. You’ll find a few more options here.
And on weekends sometimes you’ll find vegan brunch options. Like this tofu rancheros.
Los Gorditos has a few locations in Portland, Oregon including one food truck that’s completely vegan. We were with non-vegans, so we went to one of the other places. They were still super vegan-friendly.
It’s like your standard Mexican restaurant but with excellent vegan meat and cheese options.
Mercado Vegano Earth Day
We were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to attend Mercado Vegan Earth Day in Ontario, California. Loads of vendors were slinging delicious food and vegan products at Guasave Roll. And it was packed out!
We tried hard to eat all the things, but there were so many we ran out of stomach space.
Pie for later!
These Mercado Vegan markets happen throughout the year. To find out when one is coming up, follow MexVegana on Instagram. If you can swing it, you want to go. I promise. And get there early because the vendors do run out.
Wow, I can’t believe how extensive this listing of vegan Mexican food we’ve found on the road is! And we haven’t even been everywhere! It’s just getting more accessible and easier to find tasty vegan food.
Do you have a suggestion for vegan Mexican food we’ve missed? We’re not above traveling somewhere to eat food.
About the Author
vegan. digital nomad. cycling. scuba. intj. former vegan bakery owner.