Vegan Mexican Food

The Gaslamp has lots of great restaurants. Hotel rooms around here can be loud due to the police station. Also, there are Seaworld fireworks in the bay on summer weekend nights, which is strange to me because they are so loud I think it will disturb the marine life at the theme park and in the sea. If you are sensitive to noise then stay a few roads out if you need to be in the downtown area. Please don’t support named theme park. Read “War of the Whales” by Joshua Horwitz to see how marine mammals are captured and sold. Pic by M.C.

Someone was asking me where to find good, authentic Mexican food, but vegan. I recently had a cucumber and jalapeño margarita in Oregon. I guess that’s the trend. It was okay. So this is what prompted me to share my vegan, Mexican recipes—some old, some new.

Lucky for me, anytime I have eaten Mexican food in the southwest it has been good. Since I’m in California I can say most of the time the Mexican restaurants are pretty good up and down the state. I think you could throw a rock in San Diego and find a good Mexican restaurant. Just pick a mom and pop place not a franchise. If you can’t get to California then look at Rick Bayless’ recipes for margaritas, salsas, and main courses. Typically, his recipes aren’t vegan, but some of them can be veganized.

Options are limited when it comes to eating out, being vegan and gluten free, but not bad. The last time I ate at a Mexican restaurant I had a salad with avocado and vinaigrette at El Adobe de Capistrano. They also have veggie fajitas with corn tortillas. El Adobe has the best service and they have a banquet area for weddings where I have seen a harpist playing for a reception. So beautiful. Another great place that is out of the way is El Jardin in Fallbrook, North County San Diego. They have great fajitas and a margarita pitcher. I did look for vegan Mexican restaurants on Yelp. It looks like there are some in San Diego. Another thing that we used to do was go to a drive-thru hole-in-the-wall and ask for frijoles de la olla—boiled beans—and hoped to get beans cooked in water, salt, and onion not with pork bones. My dad taught us how to ask for simple beans. You know when the beans aren’t vegan—they taste super salty. When Oscar De La Hoya was fighting, Renaissance Man would ask for beans Oscar De La Hoya and get a smirk from the guy at the counter. I have also recommended El Indio on India Street that is near Old Town and not far from the San Diego airport. I’ve always loved their chips and salsa. They sell the chips by the bag. El Indio has a potato taco. I have noticed that the potato taco is trending in brewery restaurants for a vegan option. Whether the fried potato is gluten free I’m not sure. And of course there is always the slew of restaurants in Old Town San Diego not far from El Indio.

But in the end I enjoy home-cooked food. In future posts, I will share recipes of my family’s version of vegan Mexican food.

Happy Vegan!

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Copyright 2022 Melissa Crismon

8 thoughts on “Vegan Mexican Food

  1. I absolutely love vegan Mexican food but I do prefer it homemade. I rarely get Mexican food from restaurants. The places you mentioned do sound good though and that’s a good hack with the beans.

    1. There is so much good food in San Diego and SoCal. The list could go on and on.

      1. That’s true. Level 24 in Nairobi looks like a gem. You got that.

      2. It’s amazing but unfortunately the vegan options are limited. I’m still lucky to have some vegan options though they’re very good.

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