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The last two years have seen an unprecedented spurt and interest in vegetarianism and the latest fad that threatens not to be a passing fancy but one that is going to stay is – Veganism. No wonder, many global food chains are including vegan options in their menu, and of them is Chili’s and you can find quite many vegan options at Chili’s.
So what is all the fuss about? And why are both Vegetarianism and Veganism on the increase with a growing fan following every day? Before we talk more about vegan options at Chili’s, let us first of all look at what this is, and some of the factors that sparked off this trend.
Vegetarianism has been on the rise for some time in the west after exposure of the western world to eastern and oriental culture and habits, especially food habits. It is estimated that the global vegan food market size was in 2018 valued at USD 12.69 billion. Projections are that from 2019 to 2025, it will expand at a CAGR of 9.6%, which is considered significant growth.
The countries that are increasing in awareness as well as adopting vegan and vegetarian diets and lifestyles are, in particular, North America, Asia Pacific, and the European countries. There are a multiplicity of reasons why veganism is on the increase. Part of the reason is of course, on account of the fact that as Marshall Mc Luhan predicted way back in 1964, the world is becoming more and more of a global village, and trends and inclinations in one part of the globe are bound to affect another because of rapid communication and interchanging lifestyles. So an interest, as well as the adoption of vegan lifestyles, are almost guaranteed to firstly arouse curiosity in the minds of countries unaware or partially aware of this phenomenon, and the next step is to tread along vegan pathways. Veganism first raised its nonviolent head as people became increasingly conscious of the mistreatment of animals everywhere, the unhygienic conditions in which they were reared, and the cruelty that many animals were subject to before they were finally killed. Sympathy led to empathy and then finally to a national consciousness that something needs to be done. Campaigns by celebrities such as Beyonce, Billie Ellish, Kate Perry, and Kim Kardashian along with athletes such as Colin Kaepernick, helped fan the movement towards veganism.
Some Other Noticeable Factors
Other factors contributing to the rapid proliferation of this trend was the need to shift over to a healthy as well as a nutritious diet not based on animal products or spillovers of animal products. Vegan diets are rich in vitamins and roughage and make up for the loss of animal protein by substituting it with plant-based protein. There is also rising concern over antibiotics. Antibiotics are given to farm animals on numerous occasions to combat certain diseases, and if humans consume those very same animals that have been given doses of antibiotics the chances that humans will respond to treatment through antibiotics is slim as they then develop resistance to these drugs, over time.
A report in 2021 states that plant food sales have increased. They have grown nearly three times faster than total food sales from 2018 to 2020.
Total retail market value for vegan foods estimated at seven billion dollars has gone up noticeably from 2019 onwards.
Vegan Options At Chili’s
There are numerous restaurants, dine-ins, and bars in the US that offer exclusively vegan food only. Places like the “Vedge”, “Candle 79” and “Crossroads Kitchen”, to name just a few. But as the vegan movement is gathering momentum, many restaurants and Bar & Grills like Chili’s, for example, not wanting to be left out, also led to vegan options at Chili’s.
This gives rise to the question, why on earth would anyone want to eat vegan food and look for vegan options at Chili’s that specializes in serving up American and Mexican food – primarily fast food? Chili’s is a restaurant set up in Larry Levine of Texas in 1975 and having branches all over the world, approximately 1606 in all, is known for their mouth-watering typical American as well as spicy Mexican fare. They are also known for their comfort, easy ambiance, and polite dealings. And they have a galaxy of scrumptious non-vegetarian dishes. But while non-veg meals may be their forte there are several vegan options at Chili’s too.
They have an allergen matrix on their website so before you visit them, you can know what you are going for. The restaurant has some favorite main as well as side dishes of which perhaps the most famous are the Caribbean Salad without dressing, an absolutely delectable concoction of pineapple, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, red bell peppers, and green onions, and garnished by a little cilantro topped with honey-lime dressing.
Then there is the much-touted bottomless tostada chips and salsa and of course like every Mexican restaurant worth their salsa, they also offer Burritos. While they do not offer a ready-made Burrito meal, they do offer creative do-it-yourself options, where you create your own custom Burritos.
It’s not only Burritos that are offered on a Do it Yourself mode. You can also make your own Fajitas, which you can have with some Mexican Rice and Beans. However, mouth-watering this may all seem, be warned about certain dishes. The black bean patty on the black bean burger offered at Chili’s is certainly not vegan. And also there is the odd chance that some of the fried vegan products may be cooked in the same oil as meat and other dairy products. This is not really an issue since with many vegans the problem is more of a moral one rather than palette related, but amongst the vegan options at Chilli’s this is one dish that is best avoided.
The Succulent Appetizers
To delve deeper into further vegan options at Chili’s, you can begin your gastronomic journey at their Bar & Grill with some truly succulent Appetizers.
Embark on your vegan adventure with Fresh Guacamole & Chips or you can opt for the bottomless Chips and Salsa, an all-time favorite or reach for the fried pickles to spice up the end of a tiring day. The reason they call the dish “Bottomless” is that there is no limit to the amount of relish that you can mix the Chips with. Now that the stomach juices are flowing, you can reach for vegan side dishes such as Mexican Rice and Beans, Side of Guacamole, savor the Roasted Asparagus, or inhale the tempting aroma of the Steamed Broccoli. If your palette is not tickled sufficiently by these dishes that taste just as good as they sound, then you can opt for the French Fries, Corn on the Cob or dip into an aromatic Garlic Dill Pickles. But the story does not end here. There are more vegan options at Chili’s.
For those who insist on Whole Food Plant-Based or WFPB food, Chili’s offers an astonishing range of these types of dishes. Tortillas, Black Beans, Pickles, or Guacamole. No Mexican restaurant or dance bar is complete without mentioning the word “Salsa” and there is plenty to be found here. You can also dig into Corn & Flour Tortillas with or without Original BBQ Sauce or savor the Pico de Gallo or the Citrus Balsamic. Asparagus and Garlic Roasted Tomatoes are another taste bud tickler too. So with all these dishes to choose from you can’t honestly say that the vegan options at Chili’s are limited.
Vegetarian Options At Chili’s
While there are plenty of vegan options at Chili’s, there are numerous options for vegetarians too. In fact, many more, since vegetarians have the advantage of being able to imbibe vegetarian as well as vegan food too! Some truly amazing appetizers that Chili’s offers are:
Awesome Blossom Petals, Crispy Cheddar Bites, and Fried Pickles with Ranch Dressing. Really committed vegans should not opt for Ranch Dressing as this contains dairy products which are a complete no-no for them. Avocado Slices and BBQ sauces are also some relishes that vegans can have without any guilt pangs.
Fajitas have long been a popular dish at Chili’s and some of the vegetarian toppings to add just that extra zing to a hearty meal are Guacamole, Fajita topping, Mexican rice, and beans and Corn or Flour Tortillas. A fresh Mex chipotle bowl (without the protein option) is also a welcome change for the vegetarian regulars at Chili’s. The Mexican rice is particularly popular, which although a little spicy, consumed along with the beans, makes for a dish to quench the most voracious appetite of the diners at Chili’s.
When it comes to salads, which are a favorite for vegans, there are much fewer options for vegans at Chilli’s. Most of the dressings and/or toppings do contain some percentage of animal protein so these are automatically ruled out. They can only probably spice up their salads with citrus-balsamic vinaigrette. The two common salads that vegan customers usually order are Caribbean Salad (without dressing) and House Salad without croutons, cheese, or dressing, which may seem to be a bit bland, but something they have to live with because of the conscious dietary and ethical choices they have made early on. At best they can add some extra flavor and taste to their salad meals with some Steamed Broccoli, Chips, or Fried Pickles.
For vegetarians, there are also burger buns on the menu and quite a few assorted desserts to choose from. These are mostly chocolate cakes in different flavors like the Molten Chocolate Cake or the Skillet Chocolate Chip cookie. Or they can even go in for simple Cheesecake, a common enough dish, but an all-time favorite for most.
Since vegetarians have the luxury of indulging in dairy products as well, they can also try the Loaded Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Street Corn, and Chile-Garlic Toast too. No doubt, they cannot consume the full range of products that non-vegetarians do, but they do have a little more range of choices than those at the table, going through the menu and contemplating the vegan options at Chili’s.
There is a surprisingly long list of sauces to complement your meal to savor up the vegetarian dishes at Chili’s. Some of these are Honey-Mustard Dressing, Santa Fe Dressing, Ranch Dressing, Sour Cream, Honey-Chipotle Sauce and Thousand Island Dressing. However, these tasty and tangy sauces cannot be considered under the vegan options at Chili’s as some of them contain milk, curd, or cheese.
Dissatisfied with the vegan options at Chili’s? Although these admittedly are not too many, they are nevertheless quite sufficient considering the fact that Chili’s is a restaurant offering mixed fare, then download an app like the “VeggL” App which is like a foodies bible to access vegan outlets at airports, stadiums, and restaurants around town. Some of the popular dine-ins on this app are places like Applebee and Olive Garden.
Enough has been said about the vegan options at Chili’s in terms of food. What about drinks? Chilli’s is not lacking in any way in this category either. They serve both alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic drinks and have a variety of flavors from which to choose. Chili’s want their customers to return again and again, a fact well borne out by the constant rush that is there at this popular Bar & Grill. But at present, soups are not an option either for vegans or vegetarians as they are confined to a non-vegetarian menu. However, die-hard vegans are hopeful that this limitation will be removed in the near future, and that many more items will be added to the vegan options at Chili’s.
The Future Of Veganism
The ongoing pandemic has certainly fuelled the fire of veganism. People all across the globe are now monitoring very carefully what they eat and vegan food is not only healthy and nutritious, especially recommended for those with chronic ailments like heart disease, diabetes, or gastric complaints, but also the number of dishes and choices of items, hitherto somewhat limited, is increasing. The green vegetables of which vegan diets abound like Broccoli, Spinach, and other vegetables like Bell Pepper, Mushrooms, and Tomato are known to build up body resistance against infections, increase stamina and reduce the risk of heart disease. Not only that but reducing the intake of animal proteins and dairy products also makes for a lower carbon footprint of a person. It took some time for the concept of Veganism to sink in, but now that it is here, it looks like it is going to remain for a long time!