Food News

Veg Out: Where to Find 8 Great Vegetarian and Vegan Tacos in Phoenix

CRUjiente’s Crispy Sweet Potato taco is a close to a sonnet as a taco gets.
CRUjiente’s Crispy Sweet Potato taco is a close to a sonnet as a taco gets. Allison Young
Vegetarian and vegan tacos have come a long way from their once bland and boring, often beans-filled origins. Thanks to a new world of inspired chefs and innovative techniques that turn ingredients like mushrooms and jackfruit into magical meat-free morsels, plant-based tacos have moved from a menu afterthought to a sought-after staple. From divinely dippable birria tacos to deeply satisfying sweet potato options, here’s where to get your next veggie fix in Phoenix.

click to enlarge Pachamama's Tacos De Papa are stuffed with creamy garlic potatoes and crunchy slaw. - ALLISON YOUNG
Pachamama's Tacos De Papa are stuffed with creamy garlic potatoes and crunchy slaw.
Allison Young

Pachamama

4115 North 19th Avenue
602-586-3991
Pachamama gets right what so many taco joints get wrong. The vegan restaurant which doubles as a pop-up griddles their corn tortillas, turning the floppy wraps into crispy, crackly shells that give the insides an edge. Tacos De Papa are stuffed with creamy garlic spuds spiked with coconut cream and chiles, plus marinated radishes, cabbage, cilantro, and a sprinkle of almond dust. These colorful crunchers come with a side of smoky almond-arbol salsa. Even crispier are the J’Asada Tacos, a combo of marinated hibiscus “carne asada,” serrano salsa, bright avocado crema, cilantro, onions, and vegan cheese that get a double dose on the grill until the cheese oozes out and adds another layer of shatterable substance.
click to enlarge Tacos Tijuana serves a meaty mushroom taco crisped up with cheese. - ALLISON YOUNG
Tacos Tijuana serves a meaty mushroom taco crisped up with cheese.
Allison Young

Tacos Tijuana

Multiple Locations
Tacos Tijuana uses the same famed adobo sauce that goes into their al pastor tacos to marinade their mushrooms. The family recipe is rich with chili peppers, vinegar, herbs, spices, and a hint of pineapple that transform regular white mushrooms into a melt-in-your-mouth mixture that’s both tender and tantalizing. Handmade tortillas are griddled with cheese for an extra layer of savory flavor and then piled with the mushroom mixture, diced onions, cilantro, whipped guacamole crema, and chunks of steamed pineapple. The fruit topping adds a welcome touch of sweetness to the ample savory filling. You’ll happily scarf down each deeply satisfying bite. Or try the mushroom vampiro, a crisped-up version that verges on tostada.
click to enlarge A note to The Coronado: Please never take the cauliflower tacos off your menu. - JACOB TYLER DUNN
A note to The Coronado: Please never take the cauliflower tacos off your menu.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

The Coronado PHX

2245 North 12th Street
602-767-8133
The vegan Cauliflower Tacos from The Coronado are the kind of ride-or-die dish you could eat for the rest of your life and never get sick of. Three crisped-up corn tortillas are topped with masa and beer-battered cauliflower. The big florets, crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, would make an ample appetizer all on their own, but when topped with creamy avocado dressing, crunchy pepitas, a squeeze of fresh lime, and strips of spinach – and no shortage of any of the above – they become bright bites with layers of crunch that’ll make you smile with each mouthful. Hands down the most popular item on the menu, it's no wonder the cauliflower tacos sold 35,403 plates in 2021 alone, The Coronado reports.
click to enlarge A trio of vegan tacos from Earth Plant Based Cuisine. - ALLISON YOUNG
A trio of vegan tacos from Earth Plant Based Cuisine.
Allison Young

Earth Plant Based Cuisine

1325 Grand Avenue
480-465-2110
There’s much to love about the umami-rich roster of vegan tacos offered at Earth. The Al Pastor tacos are made from house-made seitan meat marinated in adobo sauce and punched up with grilled pineapple and avocado salsa. The Crazy “Shrimp” Tacos come with crispy, beer-battered vegan shrimp laced with pickled onions and a secret Baja sauce. And the Carnitas Tacos, made with grilled-to-perfection marinated baby bella mushrooms, are finished off with onions, cilantro, and housemade avocado salsa. In fact, many are scratch-made from start to finish, from the excellent vegan meat fillings down to the freshly pressed corn tortillas, which make each colorful taco at this vegan hotspot a standout in its own right. Trust us: You’ll want to try them all.

CRUjiente Tacos

3961 East Camelback Road
602-687-7777
Before we get poetic about the Crispy Sweet Potato taco at CRUjiente Tacos, we should warn you: Just one of these veg tacos is $8, and no, it doesn’t come with bottomless chips and salsa. That’s because chef and co-owner Richard Hinojosa doesn’t just stuff tacos, he composes them, only adding sauces, flourishes, drizzles, and accouterments that enhance each element. Sweet potatoes are coated in ancho and guajillo chiles then flash fried, giving the spuds a creamy center and a seared, caramelized shell. Smoky almond ancho salsa, cilantro mojo sauce, buttery black beans, pickled red onion, and crumbles of cotija are added in just the right proportions to turn the blue corn tortilla into a harmonious and perfectly balanced dish. If you’re feeling extra bad and bougie, the Premier CRU Margarita is a must.
click to enlarge Tacos Veganos is a food truck fixture outside Helton Brewing Company. It serves street-style vegan tacos. - ALLISON YOUNG
Tacos Veganos is a food truck fixture outside Helton Brewing Company. It serves street-style vegan tacos.
Allison Young

Tacos Veganos

2144 East Indian School Road
It’s all about the marinade at Tacos Veganos. Chef and owner Jose Bojorquez seasons his vegan asada and polo overnight in a blend of traditional spices. The al pastor is bathed in a spicy adobo sauce spiked with pineapple which turns the textured soy protein into meaty morsels so packed with flavor not even carnivores will complain. But the true star here is the birria taco. Made with jackfruit cooked in red chiles and a blend of herbs and spices for over 20 hours, then grilled with vegan cheese and topped with onions and cilantro, these tacos leave me unsure which is more flavorful: the jackfruit itself or the side of birria broth for dipping – and drinking.
click to enlarge The Tempura Cauliflower Tacos at Dilla Libre are one of many vegan menu items. - ALLISON YOUNG
The Tempura Cauliflower Tacos at Dilla Libre are one of many vegan menu items.
Allison Young

Dilla Libre

1339 East Northern Avenue
602-399-4024
8018 East Thomas Road, Scottsdale
480-947-5100
Dilla Libre makes it easy for vegans. As well as a full menu of meaty tacos and cheesy gourmet quesadillas, this restaurant has a separate menu devoted just to vegan offerings, of which there are plenty. As well as elote, burritos, and bowls, four vegan tacos are stacked and distinctive. The Vegan Papa Verde comes with potatoes, green chiles, pico, and vegan cotija. The Beyond Carne Asada is topped with potatoes, onions, and cilantro. Chickpea Chorizo has potatoes, pico, and Tapatio crema, and our fave, the Tempura Cauliflower tacos are served with pico, house slaw, Tapatio crema, and vegan cheese. The fact that these tacos come with complimentary chips and a sublime charred tomato salsa doesn’t hurt.
click to enlarge Hola Cabrito’s secret adobo sauce recipe is kept under lock and key. - ALLISON YOUNG
Hola Cabrito’s secret adobo sauce recipe is kept under lock and key.
Allison Young

Hola Cabrito

4835 South 16th Street
602-513-8384
What’s Hola Cabrito, a South Phoenix restaurant specializing in traditional birria de chivo, doing on a vegan taco list? Owned by mother and daughter duo Maria and Valerie Lopez, the restaurant added plant-based options only after Valerie convinced her mom to add vegan dishes to accommodate more customers. The result: tacos de jaca, jackfruit tacos marinated in the same top-secret blend of chiles and spices that goes into the famed adobo sauce.

“The recipe is my grandma’s. I can share that the jackfruit is wrapped in banana leaves and it is slow-cooked for a shorter period than our regular goat and beef birria,” Valerie says.

The juicy jackfruit is served on homemade corn tortillas with fresh cilantro, onions, and a side of salsa. Don’t skip the vegan tamales made with dairy-free cheese, corn, green chile, quinoa, and hemp seeds.
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Allison Young has written about food, nutrition, and travel for Sunset, Women’s Health, Oxygen, Clean Eating, Mindbodygreen, and Prevention. Her local jam is food writing, where she happily eats her way across the Valley to discover the best hidden gems, hole-in-the-walls, pizza joints, and the latest Phoenix food trends. She also loves to pick Valley chef’s brains for their favorite food finds. On her website, TheGlitterList.com, she posts one thing she’s looking forward to each day, from food to books and podcasts.
Contact: Allison Young