Here’s Every Vegan Option at On the Border (2021)

Getting vegan Tex-Mex and Mexican food is getting easier and easier. On the Border hasn’t yet followed the lead of Del Taco or Taco Cabana in offering Beyond Meat… But they still offer lots of vegan-friendly options using black beans and portobello mushrooms.

Vegan options at On the Border:

  • Guacamole Quesadillas
  • Vegan Burrito
  • Spicy Avocado Enchilada
  • Fried Portobello Tacos
  • Portobello Mushroom & Vegetable Fajitas
  • Chips with Salsa or Guacamole
  • House Salad (Without Queso)
  • French Fries
  • Black Beans
  • Cilantro Lime Rice
  • Sautéed Vegetables
  • Sauces and Add-Ons
  • Border Blast
  • Beverages

Below, I’ll explain how to order these items vegan, and what you get with each. I’ll also share which menu items are surprisingly NOT vegan. Lastly, I’ll look at the whole-food plant-based options—for the real health nerds out there!

On the Border Vegan Menu

This vegan menu was compiled with the help of the nutritional information on the On the Border website. I also consulted some posts by vegan bloggers.

Restaurant menus change and vary by location. I recommend double checking any important information with staff at your local On the Border.

Note: I don’t consider cross-contamination a reason to count something non-vegan. Often in restaurants, the fries, chips, or other items are cooked in the same oil as meat. If you wish to avoid this, you may want to ask staff about the kitchen setup.

1. Guacamole Quesadillas

These are quesadillas without cheese! Instead, they contain guacamole, poblano peppers, onion, corn, and black beans. And interesting and delicious option.

2. Vegan Burrito

This burrito is bursting with bean beans, pico de gallo, red onion, corn, red bell pepper, avocado, and—yes—French fries! It’s all tied together with chimichurri sauce. And it’s served with cilantro lime rice and roasted red chile sauce.

Be careful to emphasize “Vegan Burrito,” not “Veggie Burrito.” The “Vegetable Burrito” comes standard with cheese. You may want to even specify that you don’t want cheese, sour cream, or any dairy in your burrito—just to be sure.

3. Spicy Avocado Enchilada

Here you’re getting corn tortillas full of avocado and chiles. It’s covered with tomatillo sauce and pico de gallo, and served with black beans and cilantro lime rice.

4. Fried Portobello Tacos

It’s neat when restaurants use portobello mushrooms as a meat-substitute, isn’t it?

With this dish, you get crispy breaded strips of portobello, along with lettuce, guacamole, and pico de gallo in tortillas. And it comes with black beans, cilantro lime rice, and the red chile-tomatillo salsa, to boot!

5. Portobello Mushroom & Vegetable Fajitas

These fajitas are loaded with portobello mushroom, pico de gallo, guacamole, and vegetables in a flour tortilla.

6. Chips with Salsa or Guacamole

Tortilla chips are typically vegan unless they’re cooked with animal fat. At On the Border, we’re in the clear! No lard in these chips. You can get them with the salsa or guacamole—either way is vegan.

You can also get the “Guacamole Live!” option. They actually come and make the guac at your table! Neat.

7. House Salad (Without Queso)

You can get the House Salad made vegan by asking for it without the “Queso Fresco.” You may also want to specify No Croutons, as those are often non-vegan, as well.

Here are your options for vegan salad dressings:

  • Lime Vinaigrette
  • Salsa
  • Smoked Jalapeno Vinaigrette

Note: The Avocado Ranch dressing contains milk. So avoid that.

8. French Fries

French fries are one of the classic restaurant options for vegans—even at mainstream fast-food chains. At On the Border, there are plenty of other vegan options. But you might still just want some fries! (And of course, the ketchup is vegan.)

9. Black Beans

Take note that the Refried Beans at OTB are not vegan or vegetarian. But the Black Beans are good to go. No animal fat or other sketchy ingredients in these.

10. Cilantro Lime Rice

As with the beans, the rice at OTB comes in two versions, with only one of them being vegan. For the rice, the Mexican Rice is the non-vegan choice, and the Cilantro Lime Rice is the vegan option.

11. Sautéed Vegetables

You can get a side of sauteed vegetables to add to any dish. It’ll be made with vegetable oil, not butter or lard—so it’s vegan, as well.

12. Sauces and Add-Ons

Here are some vegan sauces and extras you can add to your dishes:

  • Rachero Sauce
  • Tomatillo Sauce
  • Chimichurri Sauce
  • Guacamole
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Avocado Slices

13. Border Blast

This is a “frozen blended treat” on the kids menu. You can choose Cherry or Blue Raspberry flavor. It’s only around 200 calories, as it’s meant for kids! (source)

14. Beverages

There are plenty of vegan drinks to choose from:

  • Coca-Cola
  • Coffee
  • Coke Zero
  • Diet Coke
  • Dr Pepper
  • Sprite
  • Flavored Ice Tea (Peach or Mango)
  • Juice (Apple, Cranberry, Grapefruit, Orange, Pineapple, Tomato)
  • Iced Tea (Sweet or Unsweet)
  • Lemonade
  • Strawberry Lemonade

On the Border also offers alcoholic drinks, many of which will be vegan. I recommend checking Barnivore.com to learn which alcoholic drinks are vegan.

But What About…

You might assume some of the following items would be vegan, too—but surprisingly, none of them are:

  • The Homemade Flour Tortillas contain milk.
  • The Fried Pickled Jalapeños contain egg and milk.
  • The Avocado Ranch dressing contains milk.
  • The Side of Mexican Rice contains milk and is not vegetarian.
  • The Side of Refried Beans contains milk and is not vegetarian.
  • The Border Bowl with Grilled Portobello comes standard with dairy.
  • The Veggie Chimichanga comes standard with dairy.
  • The Veggie Taco comes standard with dairy.

Now let’s answer some common questions about eating vegan at On the Border.

Does On the Border Have Beyond Meat?

On the Border does not currently have Beyond Meat. However, you can replace meat with portobello mushrooms or black beans in their dishes to make them vegan.

Are On the Border Refried Beans Vegetarian?

On the Border Refried Beans are not vegetarian according to the nutritional information on the OTB website. Likely this is due to containing lard.

Are On the Border Chips Vegan?

On the Border chips are considered vegan. They are fried with vegetable oil, not animal fat.

Is On the Border Salsa Vegan?

On the Border salsa is considered vegan. It doesn’t contain any meat, dairy, or other animal-derived ingredients.

Whole-Food Plant-Based Options

What if you’re not just vegan but also trying to avoid processed foods? Can you get a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) meal at On the Border? Let’s see.

WFPB options at On the Border:

  • House Salad (Without Queso)
  • Black Beans

Are those really the only WFPB options? Well, let’s look at the other potential choices:

  • The Sautéed Vegetables are going to be cooked with oil. So you’d need to at least ask for a customization with those, and I’m not sure if they’d be willing to do it for you.
  • The Cilantro Lime Rice is going to include white rice, which most people would consider too refined to count as a “whole food.”
  • The Portobellos are fried for a lot of these dishes.
  • The flour tortillas include white flour and likely some oil. However, the corn tortillas may actually be WFPB. I don’t have the full ingredients list to confirm, but I’ve seen it before—and the fat content looks low enough that it may be possible.

So, if you want to take a gamble on the corn tortillas—or if you can confirm with staff that they’re oil-free—then you could potentially put together a WFPB meal with corn tortillas, black beans, and veggies. But otherwise, you may have to compromise or go elsewhere.

Two More Recommendations for Your Vegan Journey

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2. This is the best vegan starter kit I know of. It’s a bundle of 9 beautiful e-books that help you transition to a healthy plant-based diet—the right way. The advice is spot-on, and it has print-outs and checklists that make it easy to implement. Read my full review of Nutriciously here.

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