Mexican fast food chain Del Taco is planting a new item on menus at 16 San Diego-area restaurants: tacos filled with something called “Beyond Meat,” which, as the name suggests, isn’t meat at all.
Del Taco announced it would begin testing its “Beyond Tacos” menu items in San Diego locations Thursday – from Oceanside and Vista to Lemon Grove and El Cajon – as well as in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.
The seasoned filling in those tacos, known as “Beyond Meat,” is made entirely out of plant-based protein – with the main ingredient being yellow peas – as well as coconut oil, ancho chili, onion, garlic, lime juice, oregano, and cumin. The recipe does not contain soy. A Los Angeles-based company of the same name creates the protein.
The company said the tacos feed into “a growing demand for vegan and vegetarian options” among patrons. Del Taco said it had successfully pilot-tested the product in Los Angeles and the next logical step was to offer Beyond Tacos across the larger Southern California region.
According to the company, the plant-based option offers “the same amount of protein and flavor as seasoned beef.”
The tacos, for now, include the vegan-friendly “Beyond Avocado Taco,” which includes the plant-based protein crumbles, avocado, lettuce and tomatoes in a crunchy shell. This taco is dairy-free. The other option is the vegetarian-friendly “Beyond Taco,” which includes all of the same ingredients, minus the avocado, plus grated cheddar cheese.
The company said the meat-free filling is not cooked in the restaurants in the same place as animal protein, but the tacos are prepared in the same prep area that does contain animal protein and dairy.
In addition to the tacos, the Beyond Meat option can be ordered as a substitute for any protein in existing items on the Del Taco menu, including burritos and fries, for an additional charge.
The local restaurants testing out the plant-based tacos are:
- 141 Broadway Suite A, El Cajon
- 1605 E. Valley Pkwy, Escondido
- 1270 W. Valley Pkwy, Escondido
- 110 W. El Norte Parkway, Escondido
- 7060 Broadway, Lemon Grove
- 1601 Carmelo Dr, Oceanside
- 1970 College Blvd, Oceanside
- 2269 S. El Camino Real, Oceanside
- 1155 B Street, San Diego
- 3896 Clairemont Dr, San Diego
- 2804 Main St, San Diego
- 7919 Mission Center Road, San Diego
- 3106 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego
- 736 S. Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos
- 9822 N. Magnolia Ave, Santee
- 1037 E. Bobier Dr, Vista
If the test in San Diego is successful, the company will likely look to take the tacos to other markets.
Del Taco was founded in 1964 in Yermo, California, with a menu of 19-cent tacos and other items. Today, the chain operates 560 restaurants across 14 states.