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Are Tortillas Vegan? Everything you Need to Know About Tortillas

Posted by Aaron Seminoff on


Most vegans and vegetarians ask the same questions when it comes to tortillas. Are tortillas vegan, are Chipotle tortillas vegan, are flour tortillas vegan and are mission tortillas vegan? I won't bury the lede. Generally, tortillas are vegan. However, prior to the 1990's wheat flour tortillas were sometimes not vegan because they contained lard as one of their ingredients. This is usually not the case today due to a rise in health concerns. However, many animal derived ingredients find their way into various processed foods today. You may still come across some wheat flour tortillas that contain lard but it is far less likely because the majority of tortilla companies now use vegetable oil. In addition to this, corn flour tortillas are made without oil so they are generally vegan and vegetarian.

To be cautious, if you are visiting a traditional, authentic Mexican restaurant, you may want to inquire as to whether they still use lard or not. Many Mexican restaurants today have tortillas that are safe for vegan and vegetarian diets. Other ingredients you may want to look out for include, animal derived vitamin D, which is present in some tortilla brands, Mono- and diglycerides and glycerin. In addition to the aforementioned culprits, some vegans are concerned with the use of enzymes which is a common practice among tortilla companies.

Completely Vegan Tortillas

As is the case with most other foods, you can always find vegan alternatives. This is one of the positive aspects of veganism. It is a common misconception that you have to give up most of your favorite foods when transitioning to veganism. However, many grocery stores offer healthy alternatives. When searching for completely vegan tortillas you may want to do a bit of research into the brands you currently consume regularly.

Brands that sell vegan tortillas include Food For Life Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Tortillas, 365 brand Whole Wheat Tortillas, Rudis Gluten Free Fiesta Tortillas, WrawP Original Wraps, Engine 2 Sprouted Grain Wraps and Raw Wraps Vegan Spinach Wraps.

Are Chipotle Tortillas Vegan

Typically, a Standard Tortilla Includes the Following Ingredients

  • Wheat Flour
  • Water
  • Vegetable Shortening
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Leavening

The above ingredients listed were from a common tortilla manufacturer. In addition to the listed ingredients there were also several additives which are common among most commercial tortilla companies. If you want to make your own tortillas, you can easily do some from home with a few simple ingredients. You will need flour, salt, baking powder, water and vegetable oil. You simply whisk all of the ingredients together then roll the dough into a ball. Once you have done this, flatten the dough and place into a pan. Lastly, you fry evenly on both sides. Making your own tortillas is one way to ensure that you are eating vegan tortillas.

Another useful tip would be to search the brand’s website to check if their tortillas contain any animal ingredients. If you don’t have access to the company’s website, you can also check the ingredients list. A quick way to tell if a food item contains animal products is to check the bottom of the ingredients list. You should see a list that says whether the food contains wheat and milk. This is there to warn people who have food allergies. Occasionally, you may need to look deeper and read the entire ingredients list. Often, animal ingredients may be listed under obscure names so, you will need to familiarize yourself on what common food additives aren’t vegan. This will allow you to spot them easily and avoid accidentally ingesting food items that contain animal products.

It can be a very time extensive task to completely remove all animal products from your diet. This is because many items you would assume would be vegan, technically aren’t.  Often, many foods will contain gelatin which is derived from animals. Another additive that is in a lot of foods is casein, which comes from dairy. In addition to these examples, you should also be on the lookout for artificial dyes because some contain animal products. This is why it is important to inform yourself on common ingredients in food. You should attempt to learn the source of most additives, so you know which are safe and which to avoid.

Should Companies Appeal to Vegan Consumers?

Being vegan can seem like a daunting task. At first, it usually is. However, most people adapt to it fairly quickly. There is a wealth of knowledge readily available online that can assist vegans and vegetarians. With the internet so accessible to nearly everyone, anyone who is interested in adopting this lifestyle can do so more easily than ever. It is also very important that companies recognize their customers who live a plant based life style. More companies should consider transitioning into offering more foods free of animal based ingredients, especially when they are not necessarily beneficial to the overall quality of the food, such is the case with tortillas.

You can successfully make tortillas without the use of lard, so in some instances it may help a business’s overall sales to drop the animal products. I believe this was an intelligent business decision overall that has benefited many vegetarians and vegans throughout the world by allowing them to consume Mexican food with more convenience.

Common Questions Vegans Ask Concerning Tortillas

Are Tortillas Vegan?

Yes, typically tortillas are appropriate for vegan and vegetarian diets because they usually contain no animal ingredients but keep in mind this isn't always the case. Some processed tortillas contained additives derived from animal sources such as vitamin D and glycerin. In addition to this some authentic Mexican restaurants may still use lard, even though this is an outdated practice.

Are Chipotle Tortillas Vegan?

Yes, according to Chipotle’s website, their tortillas are indeed vegan. They also claim that many of their other products are appropriate for vegans including their vegetables, rice, beans, salsas, chips and guacamole. One benefit of eating at Chipotle is that they offer a vegan meat substitute called Sofritas. It is very similar to classic vegetarian meatless crumbles that you can find in your local grocery store.

Are Flour Tortillas Vegan?

Many flour tortillas contain no animal products, however, you need to research the ingredients to be sure.

Are Mission Tortillas Vegan?

According to Mission’s website, their tortillas are free of animal products, unless you are concerned with the use of enzymes, which is an ingredient found in their tortillas. Many vegans avoid enzymes, so it is up to the consumer.

The Answers We Get

Tortillas are an excellent staple in the vegan diet. Mexican cuisine in general offers a lot of vegan options. Burritos with vegetables, rice and guacamole is a filling and nutritious meal. Many vegans will find that it is difficult to eat out, whether it is in sit down restaurants or fast food because so many foods contain animal products. Personally, I find that Mexican restaurants are the easiest places to order food from. This is mostly because many of their dishes are heavily centered around produce. Unfortunately, this is not the case with many restaurants today, especially if you are eating fast food.

Typically, fast food contains a lot of meat and cheese. So, it is nearly impossible to find any foods that are vegan. Normally, you will end up eating a small side dish such as french fries. This can be a somewhat disappointing dining experience. That is why it is so beneficial that tortillas are vegan. If you need to eat out it is probably your best bet to get a dish that is centered around produce and tortillas. In addition to being vegan they are also a good source of fiber and carbohydrates. Many vegans see tortillas as a staple in their day to day diet and it is easy to see why. They are delicious and they are also good for you. It can be difficult to maintain an all vegan diet but adding Mexican food to your diet can be a beneficial way to add variety to your meals.

Are Tortillas Vegan

Luckily, easily accessible restaurants such as Chipotle, Qdoba and Taco bell all accommodate their vegan customers by offering tortillas with no animal based products. This allows you to eat out with your friends and loved ones. If you are vegan, you know how inconvenient trying to decide on a place to eat with others who don’t subscribe to the vegan lifestyle can be. Usually, people can agree on Mexican food because it is delicious and appeals to most people. It is also generally, a nutritious option. With sit down restaurants, it can be more difficult to obtain nutrition information because their ingredients vary or the nutrition facts are not readily available. This is especially true if the restaurant is not a chain. With chain restaurants, it is easier to obtain their nutrition information because they will have it up on their website. With family owned restaurants, it can be more difficult as well. In many instances you may need to specifically ask your waiter/waitress or the chef what items are safe for you to consume as a vegan.

The Versatility and Convenience of Tortillas

There are so many ways to consume tortillas. They are a very versatile food. You can make both deserts and savory dishes. For example, you can create vegan cheesecake chimichangas using only vegan cream cheese, sugar, tortillas, vegetable oil, vanilla, strawberries and cinnamon. Other tortilla based deserts include vegan tortilla french toast, desert nachos and peanut butter breakfast roll ups. Savory vegan dishes that include tortillas are chips and salsa, burritos, quesadillas prepared with non-dairy cheese, chimichangas, vegetable wraps, tostados, mini vegan pizzas, Mexican lasagna, cannoellonis, taco salad in a tortilla bowl and taquitos.

All of these recipes are easily customizable and can be made vegan by substituting dairy with non-dairy ingredients such as soy milk, almond milk, and plant based butters and cheese. Various vegan dairy substitutes can be purchased at your local grocery store or you can also make them from scratch which often involves the use of nutritional yeast and cashews. Eating a plant based diet has shown to have a lot of positive health benefits when executed properly.

Conclusion

As the knowledge of veganism spreads, it is easy to see why it is increasing in popularity  at rates unseen in previous decades. As people come to understand veganism their interest grows and some people eventually make the decision to adopt the lifestyle. It is not for everyone, however. It can be difficult to maintain and can require a lot of time and research but a lot of individuals who subscribe to veganism find that the pros outweigh the cons in many cases. It can be difficult to find a variety of foods that are readily available and convenient to consume.

Luckily, tortillas open up an entire world to vegans. They allow us to enjoy many of the dishes we may have once had before switching to veganism. Also, since tortillas are so widely available they benefit a lot of individuals. It was clearly a wise decision for companies to stop producing tortillas with animal products in them, due to the overall rise in popularity of vegetarianism and veganism. After all, the vegan and vegetarian community is not extraordinarily large but it is growing at a substantial rate.

More and more people are adopting this lifestyle on a daily basis and it is vital that they have access to staple foods such as tortillas because they offer a lot of versatility in an individual’s diet. There are so many recipes that can be created with tortillas and this is probably one of the reasons so many vegans and vegetarians gravitate towards Mexican cuisine. It is typically affordable, convenient, readily available and nutritionally diverse in most cases.

Are Flour Tortillas Vegan

 

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