Chipotle Is Launching Plant-Based Chorizo & I thought It Was Real Meat When I Tried It

The burrito bowl slinger has created its very own vegan protein, and it tastes just like the real thing.

Courtesy of Chipotle
Courtesy of Chipotle

Unlike fast casual competitors, who have partnered with the likes of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, Chipotle opted to go out on its own to create a plant-based meat substitute in its test kitchen. The result, a vegan chorizo, made its trial debut in August, but now, it is finally launching nationwide. 

The Plant-Based Chorizo, which hits Chipotle locations across the US beginning today, was created with fresh ingredients—grown on a farm, not made in a lab—and prepped with Chipotle peppers, ripe tomato paste, crushed garlic, Spanish smoked paprika, and extra virgin olive oil. 

"Creating a delicious plant-based protein that sizzles on the grill with the robust flavor and texture profile chorizo-lovers expect was a real challenge," Vice President of Culinary at Chipotle Nevielle Panthaky said in a statement. "Our culinary team has worked relentlessly for years to develop this breakthrough plant-based Chorizo recipe that is uniquely Chipotle and aligns with the brand's industry-leading Food with Integrity standards."

The protein is a full-flavored vegan recipe made from freshly-grown peas. It features 16 grams of protein per 4-ounce serving and is made without artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, grains, gluten, and soy. Oh, and if you're wondering, it tastes just like the real thing. So much so that when I went in for a taste test, I merely thought Chipotle had brought back its 2016 launched Chorizo that's actually meat.

In addition, Chipotle is adding three new Lifestyle Bowls to the mix powered by the plant-based chorizo, including a Whole 30 Salad Bowl, Vegetarian Bowl, and Vegan Bowl. To celebrate the launch, the burrito bowl slinger is also offering free delivery between now and January 30, 2022.

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.