Following Plant-Based Meat, Taco Bell Is Testing a Vegan Chalupa Shell

The chain is dedicated to appealing to flexitarian eaters by adding more vegan options to its menu.

June 23, 2021

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

As more and more people across the globe embrace plant-based and flexitarian diets, Taco Bell is hoping to provide customers with several tasty vegan and vegetarian options. The popular fast-food chain recently announced that it is currently in the process of testing a new menu item it has dubbed the Naked Chalupa with a Crispy Plant-Based Shell.

The vegetarian menu item is currently being trialed at only one Taco Bell location in Irvine, California — 2222 Barranca Parkway — until June 27, while supplies last. It was crafted by the dedicated foodies inside the Taco Bell Test Kitchen, and features the new shell, which is made with a pea protein-based proprietary blend that's breaded, shaped into the unique Chalupa form and then crisped to order. Inside the vegan shell you’ll find lettuce, cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes and an avocado ranch sauce.

Customers looking for a completely vegan dish can easily customize their order to remove the ingredients containing dairy or egg. The new menu item is priced at $3.49 plus tax, and is currently only available for a limited time.

As Taco Bell fans may know, this vegetarian version of the Chalupa comes shortly after the popular chain unveiled the Naked Chicken Chalupa earlier this month.

“We've long been a food disruptor, and this time is no different,” Liz Matthews, Taco Bell's Global Chief Food Innovation Officer, said in a press release. “We’ve seen our industry follow patterns of sameness, but we understand that consumers are looking for creativity and craveability in this space. So whether someone is craving plant-based protein or crispy chicken or gooey cheesiness, we have something that's not only flavorful, but also uniquely Taco Bell.”

While Taco Bell is seemingly always testing new dishes, many of which often find their way onto the chain’s permanent menu, this is the second time in as many months that the chain has unveiled a plant-based item.

Back in April, Taco Bell created its own proprietary vegan meat that was tested in California as part of a new vegetarian menu item called the Cravetarian Taco. Additionally, the restaurant’s parent company, Yum Brands! entered into a partnership with Beyond Meat earlier this year, so there’s another vegan meat alternative in the works.

Props to Taco Bell for doing the work to appeal to people who follow a number of different diets!

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