Chilis Vegan Options: Our Favorites

Chili's Restaurant was founded in 1975 and has 1,606 locations around the world. They serve mainly American and Tex-Mex inspired dishes. They are not known for their vegan options, but vegans can still have a substantial meal due Chili's Vegetarian menu. Let's talk about the vegan Chili options.

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All it takes is a little creativity, and a willingness to do a little construction of your meal. Vegans are used to having meals based around rice, beans, and vegetables so this is honestly not the worst place to come. 

If you like to check the menu online before you visit, Chili’s has an allergen matrix on their website.

Caribbean salad without dressing

The Caribbean salad is a good option for health-loving vegans. It comes topped with shrimp or chicken but is vegan without them. You must also ask for it without dressing, as this contains honey. 

Honey is not suitable for those on a vegan diet. The salad contains lettuce, napa cabbage, sesame seeds, spinach, pineapple, mandarin oranges, green onion, cilantro, red bell pepper, and dried cranberries. You can ask for extra lentil.

The citrus balsamic vinaigrette Chili’s uses is vegan-friendly, so you can ask to substitute the dressing for this. 

Bottomless tostada chips and salsa

Tortilla chips and salsa are a crowd-pleasing dish and will always satisfy your salt cravings. Chili’s offers a bottomless option, meaning that you can dip to your heart’s content.

Build your own salad

The side House salad is vegan, provided that you ask for it without shredded cheddar cheese and croutons. The salad is lettuce, diced tomato, red onion, and cucumber.

As above, you could request the salad comes with citrus balsamic vinaigrette. Alternatively, you could request some salsa on the top - it sounds unorthodox but really works! 

You could go further and bulk out your salad. Consider adding some avocado slices, pickles, or garlic dill pickles to spice it up. There are a few other options too, including black beans and vegetables. 

Build your own burrito bowl

Every vegan knows the innate satisfaction of a good burrito bowl. While Chili’s does not offer a ready-made burrito bowl, you can easily make your own. If you like some leaves in your burrito bowl, add a house salad to get this aspect.

The Mexican rice and black beans side dishes are suitable for vegans, so order one (or both) of these and pour on top of your salad. Add some steamed broccoli and roasted asparagus. If you fancy, even add some corn on the cob. Make sure you check the corn on the cob is dairy-free, as some locations may top it with cheese or butter.

You can add avocado slices and pickles or BBQ pickles for an even boujieer bowl. Top with some salsa or guacamole to finish it off. 

Build your own fajitas

To make your own fajitas, you can again order a variety of foods to make a filling meal. Both the corn and flour tortillas at Chili’s are suitable for vegans, so choose whichever is your favorite. 

Order some Mexican rice and beans - individually if you are hungry or the premixed version if your appetite is a little lower. The Mexican rice contains white rice, tomato sauce, onions, and cayenne pepper. 

If you fancy, pop on some vegetables. You could even order the corn on the cob and cut it off at the table to put in. Use some avocado or guacamole to finish the fajita off. 

Make a meal from sides

As well as the salsa with tostadas, the guacamole and chips are suitable for vegans. The guac is made with avocado, corn, lime juice, cilantro, and jalapenos. The fried pickles, ordered without ranch dressing, are vegan. 

Order any combination of the sides we have already covered, and eat until you are satisfied. 

Chili's original BBQ and house BBQ sauce are also vegan if you need something to dip your fries into.

Sweet snacks

You can get some fruit with your meal if you are fancying something sweet. These are found on the kid’s menu, but there’s nothing to say adults can’t have them too. 

The fruits on offer are fresh pineapple and Mandarin oranges. Unfortunately, that’s as close to a dessert that vegans can get at Chili’s. 

Be aware

The black bean patty on the black bean burger sold by Chili's is not vegan. One would think its a vegan burger as its on the vegan menu. It's not. This is because it contains egg and milk, neither of which are allowed to be consumed on a vegan diet.

Be aware that the fried products may be cooked in the same oil as meat and dairy products. Most vegans do not see this as much of an issue as it does not cause direct harm to animals, but some vegans still do not eat food cooked like this. 

As with any other food seller, there is a slight risk of cross-contamination as the kitchens are not entirely vegan. The oil used for frying is soybean, making it vegan friendly.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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