11 Accidentally Vegan Mexican Foods Cherished and Preserved for Generations

More and more Hispanic and Latinx people are opting for plant-based foods. For many, this is a way to reconnect with their Indigenous heritage and take control of their health. I grew up in South Texas near the Mexican border, and being of Mexican American heritage with Indigenous roots, I had access to a lot of authentic Mexican food. Only later did I realize that many of these traditional dishes were already vegan. This realization made me feel more connected to my heritage and strengthened my spiritual bond with animals through my vegan diet. 

Throughout history, Indigenous people did not consume a lot of meat, and it was not a common part of their daily meals. Unfortunately, things look quite different today. An alarming statistic from the American Heart Association says that Hispanic people born in the United States may be at higher risk for chronic diseases than Hispanic people born in other countries. 

Whether you are concerned about your health, want to connect with your heritage, or want to end animal suffering, accidentally vegan Mexican foods are a delicious way to go! These plant-based options have been enjoyed for centuries—so explore, and share your favorite with us!


Guacamole, a beloved Mexican staple, is a naturally vegan and versatile dip. Its creamy texture and fresh flavors perfectly complement tortilla chips or serve as a topping for various dishes. Making guacamole is incredibly easy and allows you to bring the taste of Mexico to your table. 


Salsa is a condiment refined over many years, using herbs, spices, and chili peppers. It originates in indigenous cuisine and comes in an array of forms, such as spicy salsa roja, tangy salsa verde, or pico de gallo. Salsa adds flavor to dishes like tacos, burritos, and grilled vegetables.

Vegetable Tacos

Mexican tacos are a versatile dish that can be customized to your liking. You can add sautéed vegetables, such as bell peppers, onions, zucchini, and mushrooms, to your choice of soft or crispy tortillas. Top them off with salsa, guacamole, and cilantro to create a nutritious and satisfying meal.

Mexican Rice

Mexican rice is a delicious vegan side dish that perfectly complements a variety of Mexican meals. Its unique flavor comes from the mixture of long-grain rice and a tomato-based broth that is infused with various spices, such as cumin, garlic, and onion powder. 

Refried Beans

Refried beans are a popular Mexican dish that is typically vegan-friendly. They are made by mashing and cooking pinto or black beans with onions, garlic, and spices. Refried beans can be served as a side dish, spread onto tortillas, or used as a delicious filling for burritos and tacos.


Indigenous communities have been including cactus pads in their meals for thousands of years. They use them in salads, stews, and even as grilled standalone dishes. Nopalitos are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal. Try them grilled or sautéed with spices like chili powder, cumin, and garlic in tacos de nopales. Top them off with diced onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime for added flavor.


Mexican tamales are a popular dish that originally contained no animal products. These steamed corn husks filled with various ingredients have been enjoyed by Indigenous communities for centuries. The traditional vegan fillings include beans, vegetables, and herbs, which showcase the creativity of ancient Mexican civilizations.


Corn evolved from teosinte, which helped Indigenous people become progressive farmers. Corn has been a crucial ingredient in Mexican cuisine for centuries, and it’s not hard to see why. Grilling it brings out its natural sweetness, producing a smoky and charred taste that is sure to please any crowd. 

Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas have been a fundamental part of Mexican cuisine for thousands of years. These versatile foods are made from finely ground corn and can be used in many ways, including as an edible spoon when fresh and hot. Fresh tortillas are customary with every meal, and the sound of tortillas being prepared has been familiar in Mexican homes for centuries.


Indigenous communities have long cherished atole, a warm and creamy beverage that is usually made of masa (corn flour). It is often flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, or chocolate, making it a delightful vegan drink that provides comfort, especially during colder seasons. 


Agave is a versatile plant that serves many purposes. It’s commonly used as a sweetener, food ingredient, and dietary supplement. Additionally, it can be used to produce antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents, various fibers, and fermented beverages.

By celebrating these authentic dishes, we show respect for the diverse cultural legacy of Mexican cuisine and embrace the abundance of vegan foods it presents. To continue your journey, learn more about these top plant-based steak options to create a Mexican-inspired plant-based meal.

Note: Recipes and variations may vary regionally, so it’s always a good idea to double-check the ingredients if you’re dining out or trying a recipe.