An interesting and irresistible combination of two comfort foods – nacho fries. This savory and spicy appetizer just so happens to be one of Taco Bell’s most raved about vegan menu items. Let’s take a closer look to see if both Taco Bell and homemade nacho fries are vegan.
What are Nacho Fries?
To put it simply, a homemade version of nacho fries is a pile of seasoned fries loaded with nacho toppings and baked to perfection. Is your mouth watering, too? While there is not one specific recipe for nacho fries, there are many variations that include a few core ingredients.
Popularly known for their Nacho Fries, Taco Bell has reintroduced their fan-favorite seasoned fries for a limited time. These fries are only nacho-flavored and don’t include the actual nacho toppings. These “bold seasoned” nacho fries come with a nacho cheese sauce on the side.
Are Nacho Fries Vegan?
The short answer: homemade versions can be! Many recipes online contain meat or dairy, but by making a few vegan tweaks, they can be animal-free in no time. There are so many plant-based ingredients to pile on top of your nacho fries.
Nacho Fries Ingredients
The base of this fun dish is the fries. Typically made with shoestring or crinkle-cut French fries, there really is no right kind of fry to choose here. Use your favorite frozen French fry variety or make your own fresh fries cut from potatoes. The biggest vegan offender here is to make sure the fries you use don’t contain any animal fats.
Time to get creative! The vegan nacho fries’ toppings options are endless. A few classic ingredients to include are:
- Vegan cheese
- Crumbled tofu
- Bell peppers
- Black beans
- Grilled corn
- Black olives
- Pico de Gallo
- Shredded lettuce
- Pickled onions
- Salsa or hot sauce
A few of these ingredients require a little bit of prep before throwing them on top of the pile of goodness. Crumbled tofu can be bought pre-seasoned, or you can marinade it yourself ahead of time. Sauté a pack of tofu with the best nacho fries seasonings (listed below) until it’s mostly cooked.
The corn, along with any of the veggies, can be grilled for some extra flavor, but this step is completely optional. You can also throw them in with the tofu to sauté to cook them a bit.
Don’t forget to season your fries and tofu! Spicing up your vegan nacho fries will tie all the together and maximize flavor with every bite. The best spices to add are:
- Chili Powder
- Onion Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
- Red Chili Flakes
If you can’t handle the heat, you can always skip the cayenne pepper or red chili flakes. A little bit goes a long way!
Get lost in the sauce – just make sure it’s vegan! Grab your favorite vegan queso, hot sauce, or dip to go along with your vegan nacho fries.
What about Taco Bell Nacho Fries?
Great question! Taco Bell can meet your needs if you’re looking for convenient, ready-to-eat nacho fries. While these nacho fries are raved about in the vegan community, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re 100% vegan friendly.
For starters, the nacho cheese sauce definitely contains milk and other milk ingredients. When placing your order, you can request to skip the nacho cheese sauce. Either way, it comes on the side, so you don’t have to worry about ruining your fries if you forget.
The fries themselves are not cooked in animal fat and are mostly vegan-friendly. However, there are a couple of controversial non-vegan ingredients that require a mention. Whether or not you consider Taco Bell’s Nacho Fries good to go will boil down to your personal definition of vegan.
There is sugar listed on the ingredients list in both the seasoning and the fries, and I have a feeling Taco Bell isn’t using organic sugar. Refined cane sugar is made using bone char, which would be considered an animal byproduct and is not vegan friendly. Avoiding foods with non-organic sugar varies individually, so this one’s up to you!
The vague ingredient is in Taco Bell’s nacho fries. Natural flavors can be anything that is FDA approved for use in food, ranging from components of fruit to meat and everything in between. This label makes it impossible to tell based on the ingredients list alone if a product is truly vegan or not.
You may be wondering why manufacturers use natural flavors. It can summarize ingredients lists or to hide their recipe a secret from competitors. Recently, consumers are questioning the transparency of food companies about the details of the ingredients used.
Are Vegan Nacho Fries Healthy?
This fun, shareable appetizer or meal could be viewed on the healthy end of the spectrum, depending on how you dress your French fries. Vegan nacho fries have the potential to be loaded with a ton of veggies on top. In general, at least one cup of vegetables should be included in your diet on a daily basis.
Using tofu on vegan nacho fries is a great source of plant-based protein. Typically lower in calories compared to meat, tofu offers 10 g protein per 3 oz serving. Tofu also has calcium and iron, two essential minerals to get in a plant-based diet.
Are Taco Bell Nacho Fries Healthy?
With convenience, there is usually a sacrifice on how healthy a food item will be. This is the case with Taco Bell’s Nacho Fries. For one order of fries, there are 320 calories, 18 g of fat, and 35 g of carbohydrates. There is only 4 g of protein, as well.
Taco Bell doesn’t add any toppings, like vegetables or tofu, which significantly contribute to the healthiness of homemade vegan nacho fries. These nacho fries are pretty high in fat and don’t have a lot of protein.
Read more about 15 Best Vegan Cities In The U.S.
If you’re looking for healthy vegan-loaded fries, make your own version of nacho fries! There are a ton of healthy toppings to add, like fresh vegetables and crumbled tofu. Taco Bell Nacho Fries are a less healthy option that are mostly vegan friendly.