Everything That’s Vegan at Chili’s: Hacks for Plant-Based Diners
Welcome to Chili's! Hungry Americans everywhere will recognize the catchy advertising jingle which brings to mind family-oriented commercials highlighting its classic fast-casual dining experience, affordable cocktails, and baby back ribs. Chili's Grill & Bar's welcoming attitude isn't very inclusive to its plant-based customers. But there's no need to worry because ordering vegan at Chili's can be easy with a little guidance. Here, we break down exactly how to eat vegan at Chili's.
Chili's serves approximately 281 million customers every year, dishing up millions of pounds of meat every single year. Even though the menu highlights its ribs and burgers, Chili's menu features several plant-based meals including salads and one fajita entree. Also, there's nothing wrong with ordering a full dinner plate made up of the fast-casual restaurant's tasty side items. Unfortunately, the black bean burger contains egg and dairy ingredients, making it not friendly for vegan diners.
Although ordering vegan at Chili's seems tricky at first, there are plenty of filling menu items to choose from. And with competitors including Applebee's and Panera releasing plant-based menu items, Chili's could follow suit, to truly welcome its plant-based customers to the restaurant.
Everything That's Vegan at Chili's
Similar to other fast-casual restaurants, Chili's notes that some menu items may be subject to cross-contamination from using the same kitchen appliances for animal-based products.
Vegan Appetizers at Chili's
- Bottomless Chips & Salsa: Enjoy endless chips and salsa over affordable happy hour cocktails!
- Guacamole & Chips: When chips & salsa won't cut it, Chili's offers an addicting guacamole dip made fresh daily!
- Fried Pickles: These fried pickles make a perfect gameday snack or appetizer for the family!
- Black Bean & Veggie Fajita with Avocado: This fajita plate can be ordered vegan with a few slight substitutions. Order without chipotle butter, cream, cheese, or the black bean patty. Instead ask your server to add Mexican rice, black beans, and veggies. The fajita plate comes with black beans, Mexican rice, pico de Gallo, salsa, avocado, and flour tortillas. Pro tip: Add some guacamole!
Plant-Based Salads at Chili's
- Caribbean Salad: This salad is packed with greens, pineapple, mandarin orange, cranberries, red bell peppers, green onion, and cilantro. Make sure you order with Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette. Ask for no chicken or shrimp!
- House Salad with Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette: Order this salad with no croutons or cheese. Add avocado instead to complete this salad featuring greens, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and Chili's Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette.
- Sante Fe Salad: Make sure to order without the chicken and ranch dressing. This salad contains avocado, cilantro, tortilla strips, pico de Gallo, and greens. Add Mexican rice and black beans for a little extra protein!
Dairy-Free Dressings at Chili's
- Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette
Vegan Sides at Chili's
Even though most of Chili's vegan food is found in the side section, these small plates can be ordered together to create a filling meal. Mix and match these side items to your liking and you won't be disappointed!
- All-Natural Corn Tortilla
- Black Beans
- Corn on the Cob
- Flour Tortilla
- French Fries
- Garlic Dill Pickles
- Mandarin Oranges
- Mexican Rice & Beans
- Roasted Asparagus
- Side Salad
- Steamed Broccoli
Dairy-Free Sauces at Chili's
- Housemade BBQ Sauce
- BBQ Sauce
- Pico de Gallo
Eating Plant-Based to Improve Your Health
Even though ordering vegan at Chili's might seem hard, the health benefits of choosing plant-based are substantial. Eating a plant-based diet at an early age can prolong your life expectancy by over 10 years, whereas those who eat red or processed meat are at a higher risk of early death.
Eating more plant-based––especially a diet high in lentils, beans, and legumes––helps improve your gut microbiome, lowering your risk of disease and improving your general well-being. Picking out a few plant-based substitutions can offer a cascade of health benefits, leaving you feeling better for longer.
Next time you find yourself at Chili's, try eating a little plant-based. Ask for one of the fast-casual restaurant's specialty salads. Eating a little plant-based is better than not eating plant-based at all. And chains such as Chili's and its fast-casual competitors make substituting easy so that vegan and plant-based customers can choose to eat a little healthier.
For more plant-based fare near you, visit The Beet's Find Vegan Near Me articles.