Taco Bell's Toasted Cheddar Chalupa Is Coming Back, Plus 2 New Vegetarian Items

The additions arrive the same day we say goodbye to the Mexican Pizza.

Taco Bell
Taco Bell

When Taco Bell's major menu changes arrive on November 5, they will almost certainly be overshadowed by the outcome of the 2020 Election a couple of days earlier. Perhaps that's why the Mexican-inspired fast food chain chose Thursday—a whole two weeks ahead of time—to announce some additional big changes taking place that day.

First, Taco Bell announced it's bringing back the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa, an extra-cheesy mega taco that first debuted in late 2019 and recently appeared alongside limited-edition Jalapeño Noir wine in Canada. And in even bigger news, the chain is expanding its options for those who don't eat meat with a new vegetarian version dubbed the Black Bean Toasted Cheddar Chalupa and two all-new vegetarian menu items, the Black Bean Chalupa and Veggie Nachos Party Pack. All of them arrive on November 5, the same day Taco Bell is cutting a handful of menu items, including the beloved Mexican Pizza.

Taco Bell

The new menu meat-free options, including the Black Bean Toasted Cheddar Chalupa, are certified vegetarian by the American Vegetarian Association. In announcing its forthcoming arrival, Taco Bell revealed a fun fact: Before it introduced the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa, the classic Chalupa was the menu item that customers most frequently custom-ordered with the meat swapped out for beans.

Taco Bell appears to be trying to make things up to vegetarian customers, many of whom felt betrayed by the company's decision to remove potatoes (among many other things) from its menu back in August. In fact, a spokesperson told Thrillist via email that "In 2021, you can expect the brand to release more official vegetarian versions of their innovative limited-time menu offers" including the new Veggie Cravings Menu. Currently, Taco Bell's menu features 13 vegetarian options. 

Taco Bell

In case you didn't try one last time around, the thing that makes the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa special is the six-month aged cheddar that's toasted onto the shell. Beyond that, it's much like the regular Chalupa—filled with meat (or beans in the case of the black bean version), lettuce, tomatoes, more cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Taco Bell said the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa was the "biggest food innovation of the year" when it arrived in September of 2019. It also claimed that it's "the cheesiest Chalupa yet," though we found that it could actually use a bit more cheese when tasted one for the first time.

Will these additions help to fill the Mexican Pizza-shaped hole in our hearts? That remains to be seen. The good news is that Taco Bell previously confirmed with Thrillist that the November 5 cuts are the last time Taco Bell will delete items from its menu this year. Let's hope 2021 is better.

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Tony Merevick is Senior News Editor at Thrillist. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.