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Food & Drink

Every Vegetarian Taco Bell Item, Ranked

I’m a vegetarian. I’ve never tried Taco Bell. Let’s eat!

This is what $62 worth of Taco Bell looks like.
Jessica Armbruster

In my four decades on this earth, I have never had Taco Bell. 

Why? No particular reason. I’m not anti-fast food. I grew up in Columbus, OH, hometown of Wendy’s, so I’ve consumed plenty of fries and Frosties over the years. I’m not against crappy “Mexican” food either. I’ve dined at my fair share of Chi-Chi’s, I went through a Chipotle phase, and in college I lived off of those 25-cent burritos that come with the weird “handled by human hands” warning.  

But somehow, Taco Bell never made its way into my belly. Until now. This week, I went to tacobell.com, added one of every vegetarian item I could find, and DoorDashed my epic order. The whole thing cost around $62, including the tip, and arrived in about 15 minutes. 

For the completionists out there, a few caveats. You know how it’s impossible to receive a correct order from a fast food drive-thru? I suspect that rule also applies to delivery. I tried to order everything on the menu, but when my giant bag o’ food appeared on my apartment’s mailroom floor, some items were missing. However! I also received some duplicate items and a few things I didn’t order. Them’s the breaks with online fast food delivery.

Here’s the rundown:

Credit: Jessica Armbruster

What I ordered

Black Bean Soft Taco

Spicy Potato Soft Taco

Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes

Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme

Black Bean Quesarito

Power Menu Bowl – Veggie

Bean Burrito

Cheesy Bean Bean and Rice Burrito

Cheesy Roll Up

Cheese Quesadilla

Cinnamon Twists

Cinnabon Delights

What I did not get

Black Bean Chalupa Supreme

Veggie Burrito Supreme

Cinnabon Delights (I also wasn’t charged for them—they must have been sold out?)

Stuff I did not order but came in my bag anyway

A Beef Burrito Supreme

An extra bowl of Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes

Bonus freebie since I ordered over $15 of stuff:

An Island Strawberry Freeze: “A sweet strawberry-flavored Freeze blended with a sweet tropical creamer.” All right. Take me on a vacay, Lake Street Taco Bell!

And that’s what we’re working with here, folks. On to the eating! What will I love? What will I hate? What will hate me an hour or so later? (Spoiler alert: I did not suffer any of the digestive issues the Bell is notorious for. This mildly excessive meal got along with my body just fine.)

Oh, and I am grading each item on a scale of one to five tacos, five being the best and one being the worst. 🌮

On to the bean feast!

Credit: Jessica Armbruster

Cheese Quesadilla

Cheese quesadillas are usually the lowest effort food item you can order in a bar, and it’s always gonna be bland. The cheese quesadilla at Taco Bell, however? Not bland! But also? Not good. There’s a weird spice mixed in that I think is supposed to be coriander and/or cumin, but it kinda tastes like dill? After the first bite, I am already drowning this thing with a hot sauce packet. 

Verdict: It’s giving me dill pickle vibes, and I don’t want that. 🌮🌮

Credit: Jessica Armbruster

Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Yes! This is what I wanted. At first you get the crisp crunch of shredded iceberg lettuce and those diced tomato cubes. Then your mouthful softens as your tongue meets the serviceable black bean/sour cream sludge. (Bean sludge can be good! Don’t knock bean sludge!) The fried flour taco hits you last, activating that sweet umami-on-a-budget part of your brain that says, “Hey lady, you just ate something that has been fried. Enjoy!”

Verdict: Bean sludge and fried taco FTW! 🌮🌮🌮🌮

Credit: Jessica Armbruster

Black Bean Quesarito

This thing was a sleeper hit. I had to ease my way into it, but eventually I grew to appreciate it. At first, I thought it tasted burnt, because it was burnt. That outer tortilla is way darker then it should be, right? It also tasted suspiciously like bacon. I was on high alert after finding that random beef burrito, mentioned above, in my bag. However, I just needed to let my senses acclimate. I peeled back the top layer of charred tortilla to lick some plastic cheese. That part was good. Then I came to understand that the insides are laced with chipotle, which adds a nice hint of spice, and gives it a smokey flavor that I misunderstood at first but which eventually eclipsed the burnt outer case. 

Verdict: I see you, Black Bean Quesarito. It took me a few bites, but I get you now. 🌮🌮🌮

Credit: Jessica Armbruster

Cheesy Roll Up

This thing is bullshit. This is what you order when you have a kid or a very drunk person in your car and you don’t want them to make a mess. It’s literally just a flour tortilla with melted cheese. Not even hot sauce can save this sad thing. 

Verdict: No. 🌮

Credit: Jessica Armbruster

Black Bean Soft Taco

Is this you? What have they done with you? I got nothing against you, but your picture doesn’t match your online profile.

Verdict: It’s fine. I’m just kinda confused. 🌮🌮

Credit: Jessica Armbruster

Cheesy Bean Bean and Rice Burrito

I tried dried cat food once as a kid. There’s something about this burrito that reminds me of Friskies. Kinda salty, kinda flavorless. I think the spices in the rice aren’t vibing with the beans and the end result is dirt-flavored.  

Verdict: Are you a cat? This might be the menu item for you. 🌮

Credit: Jessica Armbruster

Bean Burrito

Wow, what a difference! The dry cat food/rice really was messing up the balance in the other burrito. This burrito just hits you with solid bean sludge, dairy-related sludge, and onion chunks. I am here for it.

Verdict: You don’t have to be a cat to enjoy this one. 🌮🌮🌮

Credit: Jessica Armbruster

Spicy Potato Soft Taco

This is a condiment taco. The only thing I taste here is the chipotle sauce. I like that it’s actually spicy and giving me a little bit of heat in the back of my throat. But the potatoes just add mass, not flavor, here. 

Verdict: I love condiments, but I need more than condiments to keep me eating this thing. 🌮🌮

Credit: Jessica Armbruster

Power Menu Bowl – Veggie

Fast food salads are depressing. This one is not horrible, but I also don’t want to eat it. The guacamole is underripe and bitter in the way pre-made guac usually is. The dressing tastes like ranch. Everything here is FINE. But this is not what I want.

Verdict: For $5.69 you can eat much better at a grocery store salad bar. 🌮

Credit: Jessica Armbruster

Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme

This thing looks like a puzzle that you gotta figure out to unlock something. Online, it looks like it’s burger sized; in real life it’s more like a baby frisbee. That said, this thing is bomb. There’s lots of plastic cheese here, earthy black beans, and other fixings. Despite its name, however, it’s not crunchy. I suspect these babies stop crunchin’ about two minutes into lamp time. And that’s okay. 

Verdict: This is my favorite item, with Mr. Gordita right behind it. 🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮

Credit: Jessica Armbruster

Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes

You really can’t fuck up fried cubed potatoes. They’re just guaranteed to be tasty. Plus the plastic cheese and sour cream add a trashy garbage-ness to these greasy starch cubes, making them even better. This is the kind of thing I would order on a whim at a fair or a carnival and enjoy.

Verdict: Potatoes are the patron saint of fast food, even at Taco Bell. 🌮🌮🌮

Credit: Jessica Armbruster

Island Strawberry Freeze

This slushy came free with my order. It’s… kinda tropical? I don’t taste the strawberry, it’s way more coconutty to me. This is a drink that calls for rum, and I’m sure people are adding hard liquor to the thing. As is, it’s pretty undrinkable. It’s so mind-blowingly sweet that after a few sips it starts leaving that potato/sugar aftertaste that cheap booze leaves in your mouth. I can’t get past more than a few sips before I send this thing back down the drain from whence it comes.

Verdict: Seeing this drink’s super bright red color is helping me understand what’s going on with the vomit I sometimes see along Lake Street. First sip: 🌮🌮? Second sip: 🌮! With rum: Maybe 🌮🌮🌮?

Credit: Jessica Armbruster

Cinnamon Twists 

This is the kind of thing a Keebler elf would eat if they are on a diet. It’s basically packing peanuts that have been hit with cinnamon and nothing else. 

Verdict: It’s not trashy enough for Taco Bell. They should start frying these things and dump some icing on them. 🌮