Chipotle rose from a tiny restaurant in 1993, but it took about a decade for America to really catch on to its genius. Nowhere else can you get a burrito the size of a mortar shell. Today, we’re going to dive deep into Chipotle’s menu to figure out if they have tofu.
Chipotle has recently started offering tofu as an option on their menu. These include the vegan sofrita, which is a favorite among the chain’s vegan regulars. Chipotle’s tofu option has been available in their stores since at least 2014.
In this blog, we’ll tell you about some popular items for vegans on the Chipotle menu, as well as talk about some of the health benefits of choosing them.
Does Chipotle Have Tofu?
If you asked the question if Chipotle had tofu before 2014, the answer would have disappointed you. For far too long, vegans were left out. It was a relief when they finally had some alternatives like most restaurants.
It was a decision made surprisingly ahead of its time. Last year, veganism in restaurants saw a growth of 11.4 percent. Over half of all restaurants in America have some sort of vegan alternative. It’s a sign of changing attitudes towards health as it is a lifestyle choice. More and more, people are realizing eating healthier leads to a better life.
Chipotle is one of the most extensive vegan menus of a fast-food chain, with hearty, filling burritos, vegan guacamole and, of course, the chips. Here are some of the most popular vegan items.
Vegan Sofrita: The sofrita was the first vegan option available, so opinions on them are still somewhat mixed. Essentially, it’s a bowl of shredded and braised tofu with chipotle chilies, spices and roasted poblanos. While the overall opinion has been positive, there is the odd negative word.
The taste has been described as a little too salty. The salt overwhelms the subtle flavors in the tofu. However, the tofu aspect of the dish – what makes it vegan – has been praised for its robust flavor. Another complaint, though, is the appearance. The shredded tofu doesn’t look appetizing, but it’s more about the taste.
Tacos and Shells: The flour and crispy corn tortillas are made vegan, which means that vegans won’t be left out of the experience of enjoying Chipotle with their hands.
All Salsas: All salsas at Chipotle are prepared vegan, and have been one of the main draws of the chain since its inception. Salsas that are tomato-based are particularly popular and provide a good deal of Vitamin C.
In all the meals at Chipotle, it’s somewhat astonishing that there are only 53 ingredients used in total. Out of at least 44 of those 53, only nine are not things that vegans are able to enjoy. It’s that commitment to diversity of diet that’s made Chipotle one of the biggest chains in the country.
Are There Health Benefits to Ordering Tofu at Chipotle?
It’s always interesting to think of health benefits when you’re at a fast-food restaurant. It would seem the two were largely incompatible, and though they’ve made some improvements in nutritional value in recent years, it’s not always the ideal choice.
Fast food is advantageous more for its convenience, not health benefits. For more optimal healthy choices, you might want to consider foreign delicacies such as soba noodles or miso soup. That being said, having tofu changes things somewhat.
Apart from not even necessarily needing to be cooked, tofu has more benefits than just convenience. Adding tofu instead of meat to foreign foods like gyoza can be healthier, and it can add the same nutrition to Chipotle’s meals.
It should be said that tofu is almost always a healthier option, provided you aren’t allergic to soy or have other dietary issues. It’s a great source of protein, it reduces your overall appetite, promotes brain health and supports your liver. That’s not even all of the health benefits of tofu, which can even be healthier when fermented.
Here are some other benefits of tofu.
Improves Blood Glucose
Tofu improves the levels of blood glucose in the body, which is especially helpful for those with diabetes. Diabetics who regularly eat tofu as part of their diet have shown improvement in their insulin levels.
Tofu is loaded with saponins, which not only are responsible for lowering cholesterol, it’s also been tied to some of the other benefits previously listed. Saponins take bile out of stomach acid, which allows the body to use its blood lipids more.
It does matter, however, how the tofu is prepared. Unfortunately, though Chipotle is one of the healthier chains out there, it still qualifies as fast food. The easiest way to add fat to tofu is to cook it in fatty cooking oils like the ones used in fast-food chains.
Still, the calories added are still often considerably less than traditional meats. It’s ultimately about a lifestyle choice, though more often people are realizing that it’s just better to eat healthier. So while Chipotle still isn’t the healthiest thing you can eat, it’s far better than its competition.