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Leon Kaye headshot

Chipotle Spices Up the New Year with Vegan Chorizo

For those craving spice but want to avoid animal products, Chipotle is now offering a vegan chorizo option at more of its locations.
By Leon Kaye

Mexican chorizo is among the ingredients that together add to the richness of the cuisine south of the border; it’s just most of us would prefer to not know what’s in it. For fans of Chipotle's menu who enjoy the spice but want to avoid animal products, the fast-casual restaurant chain Chipotle is now offering a vegan option at more of its locations.

The plant-based versions of chorizo that are available at some supermarkets more than hold their own if you’re looking for something to wrap in a tortilla or like to scramble with (chicken- or plant-based) eggs. But if you’re not up for cooking or would rather not deal with the mess (cooking with any version of chorizo is not for the faint-hearted in the kitchen), Chipotle has rolled out some new menu ideas to try out.

Today’s launch follows what the company says was a successful test run at more than 100 locations in Denver, Indianapolis and Orange County last summer. Participating restaurants will offer this filling in its popular bowls. The chorizo is soy-free and is made from peas blended with chipotle pepper, garlic, olive oil, paprika and tomato paste.

As part of encouraging customers to try out the vegan chorizo, Chipotle is offering free delivery for its plant-based chorizo orders through January 9.

The nationwide chorizo rollout comes on the heels of the success Chipotle has long had with its “sofritas.” First introduced almost a decade ago, the spicy braised Hodo soy tofu has become a mainstay, with at least one source verifying that the company sold 7.5 million pounds of the filling in 2018 alone.

So, vegetarians and vegans who have long felt they were limited to bean-and-cheese burritos while their pals scarfed down meaty options within their tacos and tortas have another choice.

This vegan chorizo joins a list of more meat-free options available at Chipotle and its competitors, including the Beyond Meat menu at Del Taco as well as the more conventional potato- and bean-based options at Taco Bell.

"Creating a delicious plant-based protein that sizzles on the grill with the robust flavor and texture profile chorizo-lovers expect was a real challenge," said Nevielle Panthaky of Chipotle in a public statement. "Our culinary team has worked relentlessly for years to develop this breakthrough Plant-Based Chorizo recipe that is uniquely Chipotle and aligns with the brand's industry-leading Food with Integrity standards."

Image credit via Chipotle media relations site

Leon Kaye headshot

Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.

Read more stories by Leon Kaye