Eating Vegetarian in Mexico
Admittedly, Mexico is not the easiest place for vegetarians. It is a meat heavy cuisine, and many times even the potato dishes will have ground sausage added. Still, there are a variety of delicious Mexican ingredients for vegetarians, and since food is made to order, the cooks will be happy to customize your orders for you. We hope you enjoy our guide to eating vegetarian in Mexico.
Combine this article with our ‘Beginner’s Guide to Eating in Mexico’ and you will be ordering delicious fresh Mexican food in no time! Before we begin, a few useful and simple phrases that will help you be understood.
Begin by saying ‘Soy vegetariana, no come carne’ ‘I am vegetarian, I don’t eat meat.’
Once you decide what you want, you can specify by using the words ‘con’ (with) and ‘sin’ (without). For example: ‘Quisiero los tacos sin carne, con frijoles y aguacantes’ ‘I’d like the tacos without meat, with beans and avocados.’
Just this little bit of Spanish will be enough to be understood when ordering. Once you have chosen your vessel, be it tacos, enchiladas or something more exotic like huaraches or panuchos, ask for any of the following fillings.
Frijoles (refried beans) – No matter what, if none of the ingredients listed below are available, you can always order your dish with beans. They are everywhere and are good with everything. Most places also have arroz (rice) as well which can be added for a bit more substance. Unfortunately, the beans are almost always cooked with lard, so if you are a really strict vegetarian, you will have to cross these off your list as well.
Queso (cheese) – Paired with some beans and topped with the fresh vegetables, salsa and avocados, you can make almost anything a delicious Mexican meal.
Aguacates (avocados) – They are available almost everywhere and are quite cheap. For some reason, we are surprised to see guacamole is quite expensive even at cheap restaurants, but some sliced avocados can often be added for only about 10 pesos, or substituted for meat free of charge.
Papas (potato) – be careful as potato fillings in Mexico are often accompanied by ground chorizo (papas con chorizo). Make sure to specify ‘es vegetariana?’
Rajas (grilled poblano strips) – These are widely available, often grilled and crispy but sometimes charred and skinned, giving them more of a stewed consistency. Always a delicious choice paired with queso cheese.
Champiñones (mushroom) – not as common as some of the other toppings, but still quite widely available in restaurants. Less common at street stalls.
Flor de Calabaza (squash blossom) – You will rarely find this on the street, but many restaurants will use these to make quesadillas, and so you can request them as your topping.
Nopales (cactus) – This is a really interesting and widely found ingredient, however our team’s vegetarian was not a fan. She described them as mushy and gooey and she would not be ordering them again. Try it for yourself though!
Salsas – The salsas are always fresh and vegetarian. Don’t worry about ordering them, they will always be brought directly to you.
We hope you enjoyed our simple guide to vegetarian eating in Mexico. Do you know of some other great ingredients for vegetarians in Mexico? Let us know in the comments section. Need a good drink after all that food? Make sure to check out our guide on ‘What to Drink in Mexico’