Chuy’s – Mexican Food Can Be Vegan

December 9th, 2009 by NashVeggie Leave a reply »

A new restaurant has popped up in the middle of what used to be restaurant central where Beethoven’s once resided in Coolsprings. Chuy’s serves the standard Tex-Mex in an ambiance that seems like TGI Friday’s crossed with Joe’s Crab Shack. This location is the first one outside of  Texas and has been met with extremely long wait times.

Upon first hearing of their opening I brushed it off thinking there would be nothing vegan, let alone vegetarian, on the menu as most Mexican restaurants fill their beans with meat stocks or lard and chicken stock is a common find in the rice. After a bit of research I found this is actually not the case at Chuy’s and there’s actually a decent selection for vegans and vegetarians.

Chuy's Guacamole Tacos

Chuy's Guacamole Tacos

Our first visit we had the Guacamole Tacos and Veggie Enchiladas. The only specification needed for the enchiladas and the tacos was no cheese. The ranchero sauce served on the enchiladas is vegan. You have a choice of Mexican or Green Chile Rice and Refried or Charro Beans, all vegan. The enchiladas, filled with squash, peppers and onions, were a little small but the sides made up for the lack of filling. They are wrapped in blue corn tortillas but I’m sure you can substitute any of the tortilla selections if you want. The Guacamole Tacos, choice of hard or soft, were larger than expected with two good scoops of guacamole in each shell and topped with lettuce and tomatoes they were quite filling. On our second trip we split these for a late snack.

The Nashville area already has its share of Mexican restaurants but few, if any, can make vegetarian selections, let alone vegan. (Don’t get me started on those Mexican restaurants that have a Vegetarian section on their menu with beans and rice listed that are chocked full of animal juice!)

As for the list of vegetarian and vegan choices at Chuy’s:

VEGETARIAN

Vegetarian Sauces

  • Ranchero
  • Tomatillo
  • Deluxe Tomatillo
  • Boom Boom

Appetizers

  • Chips & Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Nachos
  • Special Nachos
  • Cheese Quesadillas

Salads (all dressings are vegetarian)

  • Guacamole Taco Salad
  • Grilled Chicken Salad (no chicken)
  • Mexi-Cobb Salad (no chicken)
  • Dinner Salad

Sides

  • Flour, Corn, Blue Corn, Wheat Tortillas
  • Mexican Rice
  • Green Chile Rice
  • Refried Beans
  • Charro Beans

Tacos, Sopapillas & Burritos

  • Guacamole Tacos
  • Bean & Cheese Tacos
  • Bean & Cheese Burrito with above sauces
  • Bean & Cheese Sopapilla with above sauces

Chile Rellenos & Enchiladas

  • Cheese Chile Rellenos
  • Veggie Enchiladas
  • Cheese Enchiladas with above sauces

Combinations

  • #3 Taco & Enchilada (sub vegetarian taco & enchilada)
  • #4 Relleno & Enchilada (choose your own vegetarian options)
  • #5 Chalupa & Enchilada (no chicken on chalupa, sub cheese for chicken enchilada)
  • #6 Enchilada, Taco & Chalupa (sub vegetarian enchilada & taco, no chicken on chalupa)
  • #7 Vegetarian Combo

Desserts

  • All desserts are vegetarian but selections can vary by location so ask your server for options.

VEGAN

Vegan Sauces

  • Ranchero
  • Tomatillo

Appetizers

  • Chips & Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Nachos (no cheese)
  • Special Nachos (no cheese)

Salads

  • Guacamole Taco Salad (no cheese)
  • Grilled Chicken Salad (no chicken)
  • Mexi-Cobb Salad (no chicken or cheese)
  • Dinner Salad
  • Dressing: Cilantro Vinaigrette

Sides

  • Flour, Corn, Blue Corn, Wheat Tortillas
  • Mexican Rice
  • Green Chile Rice
  • Refried Beans
  • Charro Beans

Tacos, Sopapillas, Burritos & Enchiladas

  • Guacamole Tacos (no cheese)
  • Bean Tacos (no cheese)
  • Bean & Cheese Burrito (no cheese, with above sauces)
  • Bean & Cheese Sopapilla (no cheese, with above sauces)
  • Veggie Enchiladas (no cheese, with above sauces)

UPDATE 10/11/2013: I regularly request vegan option information from Chuy’s since this post is extremely popular.  With the last reply I received this veg menu from corporate.

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13 comments

  1. Alicia says:

    Wow! Good to know. Thank you for all the research.

  2. Anne says:

    Your blog is featured on the Chuy’s Nashville Facebook page!!!

  3. mrs nashveggie says:

    It was awesome. Cannot wait to try their Texas Martinis next time. (FYI, it’s not a martini, it’s a margarita disguised as a martini)!

  4. NashVeggie says:

    Wow! Being noticed is great! I forgot to mention our server Madawna. She was extremely nice and very helpful with inquiring about vegan items.

  5. Lindsey says:

    I will have to try this place when I go to Nashville!
    Oh how I miss going out to Mexican restaurants!
    It looks WONDERFUL.

  6. dallas dwi lawyer says:

    Love this place. Yum!

  7. TravelingVeg says:

    Thank you so much for this! I’m going there tomorrow and now I know what to order. Much appreciated!

  8. Nashveggie says:

    TravelingVeg…

    You’re welcome! I hope you have a great visit. We’ve become regulars at the Coolsprings location visiting 2-3 times a week. I know that is a lot but the kid loves it. Our favorite lunch has become a side of beans, side of rice, ranchero sauce and tortillas. Munchies for about $3 a person, delicious and very filling.

  9. Rodd says:

    I went to the Chuy’s in Tyler, Texas for dinner tonight with your list in hand. :-) The server informed me that the Tomatillo and Ranchero sauce both have butter in them. :-(
    She said that she had been there over a year and this has come up before. Just an FYI. Next time I will pass on the sauces and cover my veggie enchilada with guacamole. Yum!

    • NashVeggie says:

      Not sure what to tell you. I’ve checked with multiple locations as well as corporate, where that list originates, and been told those are vegan. I can assure you, if it contained butter I wouldn’t make it through dinner without decorating the table, so to speak.

      Perhaps talking to the kitchen manager rather than a server would yield better information. It does for me.

  10. amy says:

    http://veganaustin.org/topic.php?id=423 — They got a response from corporate. Here’s the reply I got from Chuy’s.

    Jamie-
    Thanks for writing. After talking to a few of our operations people, we’ve come up with a couple options for you. After seeing the limited amount of choices, we are considering other alternatives and vegan friendly ways of preparing our vegetarian dishes. For now, we have the following things available:

    Chips, Salsa, Tortillas
    Dinner Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette dressing
    Guacamole Taco w/o cheese

    Love,
    Chuy

    If you look at the thread, it looks like their margarine has whey in it.

  11. Nashveggie says:

    I once again email Chuy’s corporate to inquire about vegan options. I received the same response I have always received as well as another veg menu.

    I have added the menu at the bottom of the post above.

    The response:

    Thanks for writing in. We offer items that do not contain animal products, however all items are prepared on surfaces where traces of animal products can be found. Therefore we no longer feel comfortable passing the attached menu out at the stores, but I’ve gone ahead and attached it so you can at least get an idea of which items are vegan.

    Please keep in mind, you can always talk to the manager on duty about any questions or concerns you might have.

    Thanks and we hope to see you soon.

    Love,

    Chuy


    So, as always there are vegan options which are the same as I have listed but, as with any omni restaurant, cross-contamination is a possibility.

    The knife used to slice your lettuce likely sliced a chicken breast prior.

    It’s always better to eat at home.

    Also, I have been shown exactly what is added to the beans and rice at my local Chuy’s location and it is nothing more than vegetable oil. No whey. No margarine.

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