For those looking for vegetarian and vegan Mexican foods in metro Phoenix, there’s a growing number of options at restaurants, food trucks and pop-up stands.
Some spots are totally vegan, while others serve omnivores and vegans alike with particularly good offerings for the latter. Some exclusively serve Mexican cuisine, while others offer a variety of plant-forward dishes.
Favorites include burritos, tacos de birria and Sonoran hot dogs made using mock meats or plant-based meat alternatives that are made inhouse. Others popular dishes let vegetables like calabacitas and nopales shine.
Keyla Aguilar, owner of Earth Plant Based Cuisine, says that eating vegan is more than “just eating grass,” and these 10 Mexican vegan options around metro Phoenix prove it.
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Earth Plant Based Cuisine
Keyla Aguilar opened Earth Plant Based Cuisine in 2019 when she was just 22 years old. The restaurant offers a 100% vegan menu that features riffs on some of her favorite dishes. The tacos al pastor are made with grilled seitan marinated in adobada sauce and the carnitas feature shredded mushrooms. The crispy, beer-battered “shrimp” are made from a mixture of seasoned root vegetables. The restaurant also offers dairy-free milkshakes and a churro ice cream sandwich.
Details: 1325 NW Grand Ave, #7, Phoenix. 480-465-2110, earthplantbased.com.
Anna Salazar’s family has operated restaurants in Phoenix since 1964, including La Canasta and Garcia’s Las Avenidas. In 2015, Salazar started Raul’s Cocina as a hot sauce and salsa shop. The business has since added a menu of vegan dishes like green corn tamales and jalapeño chickpea salad. Raul’s Cocina also offers vegan menudo and enchiladas. Wash them down with a vegan horchata or agua de piña.
In 2020, Kevin and Maria Lebron turned their farmers market stand into a brick-and-mortar restaurant. The restaurant’s all vegan menu offers a variety of plant-based dishes with Mexican and Latin influences, like heart of palm ceviche and tacos de papa made with a chile-garlic mash. The Mexiyaki is a Mexican-Japanese fusion dish featuring an okonomiyaki made from hash browns, rice and coconut milk batter topped with avocado pico de gallo.
Details: 4115 N. 19th Ave., Phoenix. 602-586-3991, pachamamaphx.com.
José Bojórquez started his taquería in 2020, serving tacos al pastor and carne asada using textured soy protein and jackfruit for birria. Bojórquez said that when he transitioned to a vegan diet, he wanted to continue eating the foods he enjoyed. His food truck is typically parked at Helton Brewing Co. in Phoenix from Tuesday to Saturday. Tacos Veganos also offers breakfast burritos.
Details: Helton Brewing Co., 2144 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. instagram.com/aztacosveganos.
El Guero Vegano
Not to be mistaken with El Güero Canelo, the famous Sonoran hot dog shop in Tucson, El Guero Vegano is a pop-up stand in Phoenix that offers vegan dogos tucked in a bolillo bun that are served with a roasted chile güero. Pair one with a coconut horchata.
Details: Follow instagram.com/elguero_vegano for info on the next pop-up.
This popular vegan restaurant, bar and coffee shop is known for its all-day breakfast and dog-friendly patio. For breakfast try the chilaquiles featuring refried black beans and corn tortilla chips smothered in red sauce and topped with a tofu scramble, pickled onions and crema. Other Mexican-influenced menu items include the red bean quesadilla and the tacos with masa-battered fried cauliflower.
Details: 2245 N. 12th St., Phoenix. thecoronadophx.com.
Open since 2002, this long-standing restaurant from Silvana Salcido Esparza offers southern Mexican cuisine. Not every vegan item is labeled as such, so best to ask. Plant-based menu items include the enchiladas de papa y calabacitas, featuring corn tortillas filled with shallot and potato served with salsa verde and squash. Botanas include the camotitos ahumados, smoked yams glazed with piloncillo honey and topped with walnuts.
Details: 2814 N. 16th St., #1205, Phoenix. 602-636-0240, barriocafe.com.
Testal Mexican Kitchen
This Grand Avenue restaurant from Fernando Hernández serves Chihuahua-style burritos. Many of the burritos have a vegan option, such as the burrito de colorado featuring vegan beef in chile colorado. The burrito de frijol keeps it simple with vegan cheese and beans. The counter-serve restaurant also sells bottled drinks like fresco de cebade, a malted barley beverage, pinole, a roasted ground maize drink and iskiate made with chia seeds and lime juice.
Details: 1325 NW Grand Ave., #1, Phoenix. 602-384-9993, testalphx.com.
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Felipe Guzmán and Cristina Meillon de Guzmán serve an extensive selection of tacos and other Mexican dishes at their restaurant. Vegetarian tacos (ask them to hold the cheese to make them vegan) include black mole cauliflower and a guisado featuring mushrooms, cactus and potato in a guajillo red salsa. There’s also the Mexica Ahuacatl made with beer-battered cactus topped with cabbage, pico de gallo and salsa de cilantro.
Details: 4117 N. 16th St., Phoenix. 602-254-6330, lasantisimagourmet.com. Also at 5932 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale. 623-939-3292.
Wait, what is a birria restaurant doing on this list? Despite the name, you don’t have to eat goat at Hola Cabrito. This south Phoenix restaurant run by mother and daughter Maria and Valerie Lopez specializes in traditional birria de chivo, but they also offer tacos de jaca, or jackfruit birria. The restaurant also makes vegan tamales with dairy-free cheese, corn, green chile, quinoa and hemp seeds.
Details: 4835 S. 16th St., Phoenix. 602-513-8384, holacabrito.com.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: 10 Phoenix restaurants serving great vegan Mexican food