Who doesn’t love Tex-Mex?
On The Border specializes in Tex-Mex cuisine, and for vegans like you, it’s not difficult to have one at the restaurant.
Tex-Mex restaurant On The Border promises top-quality dishes ranging from fajitas, salads, nachos, chimichangas, and more. It’s known for its fajitas and margaritas, as well as its fresh guacamole. Luckily, On The Border offers a few vegan options in most of its locations, which vegans should be happy about.
Let’s check out more about On The Border and see what vegan dishes we can have!
On The Border, Firing Up Delicious Tex-Mex Dishes
After a few tequila shots, three friends were inspired to start a Tex-Mex restaurant in 1982, specializing in sizzling fajitas and delicious margaritas.
On The Border’s first location opened in Dallas, Texas, and went international in 2007 when they opened their branch in Seoul, South Korea.
The company merged with Brinker International in 2009.
A year later, Brinker sold On The Border to Golden Gate Capital. But in 2014, the restaurant was acquired by Argonne Capital Group, a private equity firm.
The restaurant was founded on the border of Texas and Mexico, where the abundance of mesquite trees was infallible. Since then, the restaurant has utilized these trees by infusing the mesquite flavor into its dishes.
They didn’t fail. On The Border is now one of the fastest-growing restaurants in the U.S. and South Korea, with more than 160 locations in both countries.
Their unique Border-style flavors have reached throughout the United States and South Korea. On The Border is raising the bar for Tex-Mex-style cuisine.
The restaurant is also known for its Guacamole Live, which is made fresh right on your table with your own choice of spices like tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeños, and more.
On The Border Vegan Options
Some vegan options at On The Border may vary by location, but typically, these are available in most locations in the U.S. and South Korea.
You only have to ask the crew how you’d like your food prepared to ensure that you’re eating the vegan way.
However, On The Border has no specific designations in their kitchens when making vegan dishes. There might be cross-contamination, especially those that are fried in cooking oil.
So it would depend on how you’d deal with it, especially since On The Border isn’t a vegan restaurant. It only offers a few options for vegans.
Here’s the list of what you can have when you set foot in On The Border.
- Started and Entrees
- Vegan Burrito
- Fried Portobello Tacos
- Guacamole Quesadillas
- Spicy Avocado Enchilada
- Portobello Mushroom & Vegetable Fajitas
- Veggie Quesadilla
- Avocado Fries
- Fajita Salad
- Sweet Potato & Corn Flautas
- House Salad
- Vegan Sides
- Guacamole Live
- Sautéed Vegetables
- Corn & Flour Tortillas
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Grilled Vegetables
- Pico De Gallo
- Black Beans
- French Fries
- Sauces and Dressings
- Fat-Free Mango Citrus Vinaigrette
- Tomatillo Sauce
- Citrus Garlic Sauce
- Smoked Jalapeno Vinaigrette
- Smoked Chipotle Vinaigrette
- Guajillo Sauce
- Ranchero Salsa
- Nortena Sauce
You should also try their wide selection of Margaritas. Most of them are vegan-friendly. Just ask how it’s done.
There are more vegetarian options at On The Border than vegan, but to make these orders all plant-based for you, just ask to omit the cheese, queso, croutons, and sour cream.
Also, always ask for vegan sauces and dressings, as some include dairy products.
Top 10 Vegan Tex-Mex Food Chains
Talking about Tex-Mex, many people would think that it’s about meat and cheese. However, Tex-Mex cuisine has a variety of delicious offerings that can be easily made vegan.
This is the case with On The Border, which offers vegan-friendly options on request. But luckily, there are plenty of vegan food chains that serve Tex-Mex cuisine or delicious Mexican dishes.
To help you out, you can check these food chains on the list.
- Jajaja in Brooklyn, NY
- Charly’s Vegan Tacos in Miami, FL
- El Cantaro Vegan in Monterey, CA
- The Vegan Nom in Austin, TX
- El Borracho in Seattle, WA
- Tacotarian in Las Vegas, NV
- Luna Verde Mexican in Bradley Beach, NJ
- La Taquiza Vegana in Portland, OR
- Tumerico in Tucson, AZ
- Quesadilla in Chicago, IL
America has a lot of vegan restaurants you can trust, and the vegan Tex-Mex food chains don’t disappoint. Check these food chains when you’re around to see which one you like the most.
Tex-Mex vs. Mexican Food
Both cuisines are almost the same, although Tex-Mex has a few added ingredients in Texan style to cater to their tastes. American-Mexican food became a household name in Texas, where locals started making their own recipes at home.
These dishes with added Texan-style ingredients include nachos, fajitas, and other Mexican food with black beans, yellow cheese, beef, flour, cumin, canned vegetables, and more.
Authentic Mexican food is also a little spicier than Tex-Mex, and both Texans and Mexicans can determine this difference, especially with added ingredients.
These dishes include tortillas, chili peppers, beans, fish, wild game, and much more. But during the Spain invasion of Mexico in the 1500s, more dishes and ingredients were added, such as dairy, pork, garlic, and other herbs and spices.
The typical Mexican dish is cooked using a cast iron skillet and fried or steamed. Tomatillos, enchiladas, salsa, and tamales, among others, are good examples of authentic Mexican cuisine.
As for On The Border, the restaurant specializes in both cuisines with an emphasis on its special fajitas.
How To Eat Healthy At Tex-Mex Restaurants
Tex-Mex can be healthy for you, especially when you eat the vegan way. This is because you avoid unnecessary fats, calories, and high carbs.
So how do you eat healthy when stuck in a non-vegan Tex-Mex restaurant?
Actually, it’s not that difficult, especially since you’d be able to have a lot of options when you’ve vegan.
Here’s what I highly recommend.
- Don’t take lean protein for granted. This doesn’t mean meat, but Tex-Mex offers beans that you can count on.
- Opt for leafy salads. Skip the cheese or other creamy sauces because they’re not just non-vegan, but they’re also packed with calories. You don’t want to lose your beach-bod that easy, right?
- Go for brown rice instead of white rice. Brown rice has higher protein and fiber content compared to its white counterpart.
- Put emphasis on black beans. Black beans are popular among vegans as they are loaded with fiber and are low in calories, total fat, and saturated fat. Pinto beans are also a healthy option if black beans aren’t available.
- Go easy on chips. These are loaded with calories and added fats that you may want to avoid. So it’s either you completely avoid them or consume smaller portions.
- Choose dips like salsa, which only contains onions, tomatoes, garlic, lime, and other herbs and spices. Avoid the creamy ones because, of course, they’re not vegan as they involve cheese or butter, which has high fats and calories.
- Go light on fried foods. These are tempting, but the total fat and calories of these energy-dense foods are difficult to keep track of.
Overall, opt for vegetables that are rich in fiber and protein when you’re dining in at a Tex-Mex restaurant. Specifically, tone down your sodium intake, especially since some vegan dishes are relatively high in salt content.
Try to tone it down if you can manage to limit your sodium intake to 2,300 mg a day, as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It’s worth noting that excess sodium in your body leads to adverse health issues such as cardiovascular disease, strokes, kidney issues, cancer, and more.
The same goes for your calorie intake. Excess calories are stored as body fat, which leads to weight gain and obesity. It will also cause more serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and many more.
Chances are, you don’t get to enjoy food when you get sick. So always remember that while Tex-Mex or other Mexican dishes are delicious, some are not healthful.
Even the ones at On The Border are also high in calories and sodium, although you can choose what kind of food you’d like to eat at the restaurant.
The Bottom Line
On The Border may not be a full-service vegan restaurant, but it offers a few vegan-friendly options for plant-based eaters. These may not be available in all locations in the U.S. and South Korea, but since these are available on request, it’s easier for vegans.
Additionally, always opt for healthier alternatives, especially the sauces and dressings you’d want for your dish. For instance, guacamole is vegan and is also healthy to use as a dip, spread, condiment, and as a salad ingredient.
There are many health benefits you can get from guac, and you can learn more about this delicious condiment in this separate article that I previously wrote.
Most of all, always go for healthier options, even vegan ones. After all, a healthy lifestyle is what we aim for!