When people think of fast food chain restaurants, the phrases "sustainability," "fresh food" and "veg-friendly" often don't come to mind. Images of highly processed food and few vegan or vegetarian options are common. Vegetarians and vegans looking for ingredient information often find it quite difficult to determine what they are able to order. Chipotle is somewhat of an exception to these common conceptions of fast food restaurants.
What items at Chipotle should be avoided by vegetarians? Vegetarians need to avoid the pinto beans, which are made with small amounts of bacon. And, of course, they should avoid the meat. They say their cheese is not made with animal rennet, and the sour cream is okay for vegetarians too.
What items at Chipotle should be avoided by vegans? Besides the meat and pinto beans, the only other non-vegan items are the cheese, sour cream and the vinaigrette (which contains honey, according to The Vegetarian Resource Group). The tortillas are all vegan, as are the guacamole and salsas. The fajitas are fried in soybean oil.
As an added bonus, guacamole is free on vegetarian burritos and burrito bowls. A typical vegan burrito/bowl could include rice, fajitas, black beans, any combination of the four salsas, guacamole and lettuce. This combination translates to around 800 calories and runs just under $7. For those among us who are not proficient cooks or are looking for a meal on the run from a business we can feel moderately good supporting, Chipotle is a great option.
On their website one will find an easy to find and easy to read charts of common unwanted ingredients and nutritional information, in addition to special mention of what ingredients vegetarians and vegans should avoid. Chipotle has also taken small but concrete steps to support organic and local farming, such as buying 40% of their beans from organic farmers with plans to raise this number to 100% over time, according to their website.
Chipotle locations, along with thousands of other veg-friendly restaurants and places, can be found on VegGuide.org.
CAA would like to thank Chipotle for their generous donation of 8 free vegan burritos for our weekly campus meeting on March 26th!