Chili’s looks like a great place where vegans can eat their hearts out. While most of the restaurant’s entrees have yet to be made approved for vegan consumption, it’s not a big deal as many of their appetizers and salads are not only delicious and filling but can be made vegan as well.
Here are the rest of Chili’s vegan options.
What is Chili’s?
Chili’s Grill and Bar, more commonly known as Chili’s, is a casual American dining chain. It’s most famous for its infusion of Tex-Mex cuisine and American food.
Larry Levine first founded the restaurant in 1975 in Dallas, Texas. However, he sold it in 1983 to a restaurant executive named Norman E. Brinker of Brinker International, who still owns and operates it up to this date.
Lavine’s direction for Chili’s was to have a full-service dining restaurant with a casual, informal feel -- sort of like a chill, hangout spot.
Their first menu consisted of different hamburgers at a highly affordable rate. His business concept proved to be successful because, by the ‘80s, he had opened 27 other locations across the region.
As of 2017, there are a total of 1,606 Chili’s locations all over the world.
6 Vegan Options at Chili’s
1. Vegan Appetizers
Vegans, you’re in luck -- most of the appetizers at Chili’s are vegan items!
Chili’s iconic bottomless tostada chips and salsa are yours for taking. The bottomless chips have absolutely no dairy and are made fresh every single day.
If you want something creamy, try Chili’s chips and guacamole! Chili’s guacamole is vegan.
And just like with other restaurants, Chili French fries are also A-okay for vegans. Take note, though, that all their fried food is cooked in the same shared equipment as all their other meats, which poses a risk for cross-contamination.
2. Main Course
Chili’s has yet to offer 100 percent vegan options in their main course, but they have a wide range of vegetarian dishes easily customizable to fit a vegan diet.
One of the vegetarian options at Chili’s, Chili’s Black Beans and Veggie Fajitas, contain high amounts of milk. Our pro tip is to order the Mexican Rice Beans instead. You can also choose to add some more veggies, such as grilled asparagus, corn on the cob, and steamed broccoli. If you wrap everything up in corn tortillas, you’ll have built yourself a Vegan Burrito!
The Caribbean Salad is a zingy salad made with fresh pineapple, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, and red bell peppers. The Caribbean Salad is drizzled with honey-lime dressing (a non-vegan dressing), but you can request the staff to substitute dressing with one of their vegan salad dressing options, like citrus balsamic vinaigrette.
Chili’s Side House Salad can be made vegan by removing the croutons, cheese, and non-vegan sauce. What you’ll have left are tomatoes, red onions, and cucumbers. And you know we hate dry salads as much as the next person, so go season this healthy salad with the citrus balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Add steamed broccoli if you wish!
4. Salad Dressings & Sauces
Chili’s offers a wide range of vegan sauces and salad dressings to compliment your vegan eats! Here is the full list of options:
- Avocado Slices
- BBQ Sauce
- Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette
- House BBQ Sauce
- Regular or Garlic Dill Pickles
- Green Onions
5. Side Options
Chili’s signature Fried Pickles is distinctly crunchy and tangy. They are served with ranch dressing by default, but you can substitute the ranch dressing with any of Chili’s vegan-friendly sauces instead.
Here are the rest of the vegan sides at Chili’s:
- Mexican Rice Beans
- Flour Tortillas
- Corn Tortillas
- Fresh Pineapple
- Mandarin Oranges
- Fresh Guacamole
- Steamed Broccoli
- Sweet Corn On The Cob (no butter)
- Salsa Chips
- Fried Pickles
- Side House Salad
- Black Beans
- Roasted Asparagus
- French Fries
- Mexican Rice
- Avocado Slices
- Regular or Garlic Dill Pickles
Chili’s carries both alcoholic and non-alcoholic vegan menu items for beverages. For alcoholic drinks, you have fountain sodas, fruit juices, and coffee. Alcoholic options include wine and beer, which are more often than not vegan.
Chili’s Vegan Burgers
Is Chili’s Veggie Burger vegan friendly? While it does sound safe for vegan consumption, the black bean patty contains both milk and egg. Chili’s Black Bean Burger is made with a black bean veggie patty and bound with dairy ingredients.
The Veggie Burger is a great option for vegetarians, but unfortunately, the same does not hold for vegans. You can try this vegan beet burger instead!
Chili’s soups are not vegan, as they are all made from chicken or beef stock.
Not really. Some food items on Chili’s menu are dairy-free. Aside from their tostadas, salsa, and guacamole, their fried pickles and chicken crispers are also dairy-free. However, all of Chili’s fried chicken wings contain dairy products like milk.
We sincerely think that all vegans will have a good time should they decide to visit Chili’s, as the restaurant carries good vegan and vegetarian options! And even if you do visit with your non-vegan friends, we’re sure you’ll walk away just as full and satisfied as them.