I've been toying recently with the idea of eating vegan. And I haven't decided one way or another, but something that's been really encouraging me to take the plunge is the surprisingly diverse range of vegan options within my favorite cuisines. A vegan diet shouldn't (and wouldn't) stop me from eating out at my favorite places.

Included in this list, of course, would be vegan Mexican food (as evidenced by my latest article on tacos). And it's a lot easier than you'd think. Here are all the best vegan things to order at a Mexican restaurant. 

1. Tamales

jackfruit, fish, sweet, tamale, vegetable
Amanda Shulman

Tamales are one of my favorite dishes, vegan or not. Luckily, they are vegan, or at least generally can be ordered as such. Tamales are made from a corn dough called masa that is combined with vegetable shortening, wrapped in a corn husk, and steamed. A filled tamale often contains pork or chicken, but the plain version is deliciously vegan.

#SpoonTip: To be safe, confirm with your server that the masa dough is made with vegetable shortening and not lard.

2. Nopales

Nopales is a catch-all term for dishes made with cacti. The most traditional form of serving the cactus is just to roast the pepper, but nopales are often thrown into salads or added to top other dishes.  As a side dish of their own, nopales are definitely vegan.

3. Chips w/ Guacamole or Salsa

avocado, herb, vegetable, guacamole
Jocelyn Hsu

I mean, this one seems pretty self-explanatory. Guacamole and salsa are essentials, and as long as the chips are fried in vegetable oil (which restaurant-made chips usually are), you're eating vegan.

4. Tacos

lettuce, tomato, bread, chili, vegetable, tacos
Katherine Baker

Tacos can be pretty easily made vegan. Think cauliflower, mushroom, tofu, black bean or even nopales filling instead of the typical meat. Just make sure that the tortillas aren't fried in lard, and that they don't throw cheese or sour cream on top.

5. Fajitas

Although the name fajita comes from the steak cut used in the classic form of the dish, fajitas are often some of the easiest dishes to make vegan at a restaurant because they're so frequently served as make-your-own. Play chef and craft your own vegan masterpiece.

6. Black bean soup

Black bean soup is one of my go-to comfort food dishes.  It's warm, versatile, and so easy to build on. When eating out, check that the broth is not made with chicken stock, and hold the crema on top.

7. Molletes

Think beans on toast, the Mexican way. Or better yet, avocado toast with refried beans. Regardless of your mental comparison, this breakfast staple boasts a vegan base of bollilos (Mexican rolls) and refried beans. Served open-face, molletes generally have to be built one at a time. So go ahead and ask for just the avocado and pepper toppings if you want.

8. Churros

pastry, bread, churros, sweet
Arden Sarner

Yes, even vegans get to indulge in this gem. Churros are made primarily from flour, water, and sugar, so they are generally safe for vegans to eat—no need to skip out on dessert. But do check to make sure the chef hasn't included eggs in the recipe.

9. Mexican Chocolate Cake

candy, coffee, cream, sweet, cake, chocolate
Helena Lin

Mexican chocolate is made with roasted and ground cacao nibs, sugar, and cinnamon. These flavors are often combined with flour and chili pepper to create an exciting (and usually vegan) take on chocolate cake.

Going vegan shouldn't deprive you of some of your favorite foods. But if you feel like staying in, or don't have the cash to blow on a night out, its always going to be easiest to prepare vegan food yourself. If you're feeling a little adventurous in the kitchen, try preparing this 30-minute vegan taco meat to add to your vegan Mexican cooking. But otherwise, don't be afraid to order out. Sometimes you just need the free chips and salsa.