Isn’t it incredibly exciting when a fast-food restaurant adds a plant-based product? The vegan community can now celebrate not one, but TWO chickenless options available at El Pollo Loco.
While we’re still waiting for KFC to expand their Beyond Fried Chicken beyond California, it’s great to know that at least part of the country can still have a “chicken-less” choice when ordering a Mexican meal.
And, what a meal you can make! Even if El Pollo Loco eliminated their plant-based chicken (we hope they never will!), you could still satisfy your hankering hunger with a meal made only of scrumptious sides. Picture this: a plate filled with plant-based pleasures such as crisp and crackling Tapatio fries, fiber-rich rice and beans, beautifully steamed broccoli, ample avocado, and last but not least, a sizable selection of savory salsas! And that’s not even including the toasty tortilla chips and glorious guacamole.
Lucky for us, this substantial string of restaurants—with more than 500 locations in the Southwestern US—offers an abundance of plant-based options on their menu. You’ll be able to grab a decent amount of food and enough to feel supremely satisfied.
When ordering with an omnivore friend or family member, they won’t even notice that your meal is decidedly different from theirs. They may even ask for a bite of your chickenless taco or burrito! All in all, a very viable vegan option when dining out and totally worth a drive, if you’re not already on the road.
So…what can you order that’s vegan at El Pollo Loco? It’s extraordinarily easy to place your online (or in-person) order. All of the vegan-friendly foods are listed below.
Vegan Options at El Pollo Loco
- Vegan Chickenless Pollo Burrito (confirm no dressing or queso)
- Vegan Chickenless Pollo Taco (confirm no cheese)
- Chips & Guacamole
- Citrus Vinaigrette
- Corn Tortillas
- Flour Tortillas
- Tortilla Chips
- Avocado Salsa
- Black Beans
- House Salsa
- Jalapeno Hot Sauce
- Pico de Gallo Salsa
- Pinto Beans
- Salsa Roja
- Side Salad (no cheese)
- Tapatio Fries
- Bottled Water
- Fountain Sodas
- Fuze Raspberry Iced Tea
- Gold Peak Teas (Mango Passionfruit, Sweetened and Unsweetened)
- Hi C Flash Fruit Punch
- Minute Maid (Lemonade/Strawberry Lemonade)
- Vitamin Water
NOT Vegan at El Pollo Loco
Besides the obvious meat options, be careful of these choices, which are NOT vegan:
- Churros (includes butter)
- Coleslaw (includes mayo)
- Creamy Cilantro Dressing (includes milk)
- Macaroni & Cheese (includes milk and butter)
- Mashed Potatoes & Gravy (includes milk, butter, and beef stock)
- Ranch Dressing (may include milk, sour cream, and mayo)
- Better the BRC Burrito by ordering a vegan-friendly version with no cheese and also adding avocado or guacamole.
- Choose a creamy Chipotle Chicken Avocado Burrito and request no chicken, cheese, or sour cream.
- Satisfy your salad cravings by changing a couple of ingredients in the Classic Tostada: asking for no chicken, cheese, sour cream, or creamy cilantro dressing and adding any sensational salsa, amazing avocado and/or zesty citrus vinaigrette.
- Bring out the BOWLS! You can easily eliminate a few ingredients and enjoy these big bowls to your heart’s content!
- Chicken Black Bean Bowl (no chicken or cheese, add avocado and/or salsa) LIGHTER BOWL
- Grande Avocado Chicken Bowl (no chicken, cheese or sour cream) LARGER BOWL
- Original Pollo Bowl (no chicken, add avocado and/or salsa)
Let’s encourage El Pollo Loco to add even MORE plant-based options by sending them an email, speaking to a manager, and commenting on their social media posts. The more people request better options, the more likely they will be to respond. Like their logo says, “Feed the Flame”—though in our case, we mean feeding the flame of veganism!
Helpful Hints When Ordering Vegan at El Pollo Loco
- Browse the restaurant’s website before ordering.
- Be careful to choose the “chickenless” options when ordering your taco or burrito—the non-vegan listings seem very similar.
- Add a side salad full of fresh greens (but no cheese!) to any chow choice for a more satisfying supper.
How to Order at Other Chains
Have you found any other options to be veganizable? Did you find something amazing that we missed? Send us a message and let us know and tag #worldofvegan and @vegan on Instagram to share your favorite vegan at El Pollo Loco creations with all of us!
Disclaimer: At the time of this article (last updated in July of 2020), all of the foods mentioned above are vegan. Since restaurants constantly update their menus, add or take away items, and reformulate menu items, please keep this in mind when ordering your food. There may be new items that are vegan and not listed above or items listed here as vegan, which are no longer vegan. Take care to double-check. Good luck!