This month, Mexican-inspired chain Baja Fresh is adding its first plant-based meat option at participating locations nationwide. The chain has partnered with plant-based company Impossible Foods to create three new menu items featuring its plant-based beef.
The Impossible Taco Combo includes three tacos filled with Impossible meat, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, Baja salsa, cotija cheese and stuffed in hot corn tortillas and served with black beans or pinto and cheese. Baja rice. The Fuego Impossible Burrito is made with plant-based beef, dairy-based jack cheese, guacamole, black beans, Diablo salsa, Six Chiles salsa, pico de gallo, marinated jalapenos, shredded lettuce and sour cream. Finally, the Impossible bowl features a base of Baja rice topped with roasted vegetables, Impossible meat, sour cream, avocado, pico de gallo and tortilla strips. All dishes are prepared on shared equipment and dairy-based ingredients can be removed from each of the new offerings.
“We’re thrilled to announce that Impossible Foods is coming to Baja Fresh stores nationwide,” said Aubrey Caruth, senior marketing director for the chain’s parent company, Kahala Brands. “Many of our guests have requested plant-based protein options and we know Impossible is loved by meat eaters and vegans, so it was a natural decision for us to include it on our menu. ”
Founded in 1990, Baja Fresh currently operates approximately 100 franchise stores across the United States. In 2012, the chain briefly tested Gardein’s vegan beef and chicken at two locations in Southern California. Its partnership with Impossible Foods, which puts its plant-based beef on the menu in about 80 locations, marks the first time the chain has offered a plant-based meat option in most of its locations. After the initial deployment, Baja Fresh plans to expand the plant-based meat option to other outposts.
Mexican chains have a vegetal touch
Baja Fresh is joining a growing number of Mexican-inspired fast food chains to add plant-based meat to their menus. One of the first to take the plant-based route was Del Taco who added Beyond Meat Beef Crumbles to their menu at two Los Angeles area locations in 2018. In 2019, Del Taco expanded vegan meat, that featured in two Beyond Taco preparations. , one with cheese and one with avocado — across its 560 branches nationwide and revealed the menu update to be the most successful in Del’s history. Taco, attracting old and new customers.
At QDOBA, Impossible Foods’ vegetable meat has been on the menu at its 730 branches since May 2019. The chain offers two dishes on the menu: the Impossible Bowl (vegan when ordered without cheese) and the Impossible Taco (vegan , as is), as well as the Grilled Fajita Vegan Bowl that the chain launched after the success of its impossible meat products.
In January, Rubio’s Baja Grill, known for its fish tacos, joined the plant-based party with the addition of Impossible Meat in locations in California, Nevada and Arizona. Rubio plant-based meat is seasoned with a proprietary blend of spices and is available as a replacement for chicken or steak in any of its entrees. Rubio’s also offers Impossible Meat in three new menu options: Impossible Taco Salad, Impossible Burrito Especial, and Impossible California Bowl, all of which can be ordered entirely herbal on request.
Taco Bell goes plant-based
Taco Bell also tests herbal waters. While the chain is popular for its vegetarian options, especially late at night, Taco Bell has yet to add some terrific plant-based meat to its menu, which will change soon. After unceremoniously removing seasoned potatoes from its menu in July 2020 (and then quickly reinstating them a few months later), Taco Bell announced that it was working with vegan brand Beyond Meat on a never-before-seen menu addition. . While the world is waiting to hear more about this development, Taco Bell has teased vegans with a few limited-time launches.
In April, Taco Bell tested The Craveterian Taco, a meatless version of their Crunchy Taco Supreme stuffed with ‘boldly seasoned vegetable protein’, shredded cheddar cheese, lettuce, diced tomatoes and sour cream, and served in a crispy corn shell (ordered vegan, omitting dairy).
In June, Taco Bell teased veggie-loving customers again with another limited launch, this time of a taco shell made entirely from vegan chicken. Developed by innovators at Taco Bell’s Test Kitchen, the Vegan Chicken Shell is made from a proprietary blend of breaded and fried pea protein. Taco Bell tested the shell in the limited-time Naked Chalupa with a plant-based crispy shell, a meatless version of their Naked Chicken Chalupa filled with lettuce, cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes and ranch sauce. avocado – ordered vegan without cheese and sauce.
The super limited launches of Cravetarian Taco and Naked Chalupa with a plant-based crispy shell – which were only available in one location for a few days each – allowed Taco Bell to experiment with fun innovations based on plants while exploring a larger, separate launch with Beyond Meat.
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