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A vegetarian's guide to eating Mexican and Tex-Mex in Plano

We are seeing a growing population of urbanites gravitating towards vegetarian and vegan foods.
Litas La Mexicana. Photo by Cori Baker

We are seeing a growing population of urbanites gravitating towards vegetarian and vegan foods. Whether you are a complete vegetarian, an occasional one, or a wannabe vegetarian challenged by what item to pick off of a menu, we hope you will find this inspirational enough to try something different, we’re here to help!

While it might be hard for some to imagine Tex-Mex and/or Mexican food without the customary beef, pork or chicken, it is not difficult to find tasty vegetarian dishes. Ranging from traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex to modern Mexican cuisine, here we feature a sampling of different types of Mexican food you can taste right here in Plano.

And remember, margaritas are definitely vegetarian!

Taco Diner, mexican, taqueria, the shops at legacy, city line, richardson
Frozen Paloma – Dulce Vida Grapefruit Infused Tequila, Milagro Silver Tequila, Grapefruit Puree, Lime Juice with Grilled Grapefruit Garnish and Tajin Rim. Taco Diner at The shops at Legacy, Plano.

Taco Diner at The Shops at Legacy, Plano

This diner with the sign “Mexico City Taqueria” immediately conjures up the image of taquerias and street food in Mexico. Taco Diner offers conventional food in a peppy atmosphere. For starters (Botanas), you can’t go wrong with Hass Guac, an avocado dip served with nachos. You could also try the Queso Blanco, a white cheese dip. This may or may not be spicy depending on whether it has poblanos or jalapeño peppers blended in. All salads can be made vegetarian. Another good option are the grilled Quesadillas with mushrooms, poblanos, corn and cheese.

The vegetarian tacos and enchiladas are available with vegetables that are sautéed and served with rice, black beans, sour cream and guacamole on the side. If you want to add other vegetables such as bell peppers and onions to the preparation, ask, even if it is not on the menu.

If you eat eggs, the Huevos Rancheros is a tasty and filling breakfast item.

Taco diner is in a vibrant area with lots of people walking around and often we see a street performer or a band. In summer, the outside seating is an added attraction.

Huevos Rancheros at Taco Diner, The Shops at Legacy, Plano
Huevos Rancheros at Taco Diner, The Shops at Legacy, Plano

Read more: Taco Diner launches new menu

Mi Cocina at The Shops at Legacy, Plano

Meaning ‘My Kitchen’ in English, Mi Cocina describes itself as authentic Mexican. As a vegetarian, you can opt for Spinach and Cheese Enchiladas or a La Flaca salad. And, of course, corn chips and guac is almost a guaranteed fixture in any Mexican restaurant as an appetizer.

If you are a cheese lover, you could try Queso Blanco with no beef or brisket added, Nachos Locos without the beef, and the Flame Grilled Fajitas with Mushrooms. You can also ask for additional grilled vegetables, like green peppers, red peppers and onion.

The location of this restaurant and patio seating beckons if you like the general atmosphere of The Shops at Legacy. Mi Cocina has another location in Plano, on Preston Road and another at The Star in Frisco.

Mexican Sugar at The Shops of Legacy, Plano

A must try for some eclectic Mexican fare with a modern spin! Both the outside and inside is sure to appeal with its hacienda design, colors, decor and ambiance. Always a busy and happening place, it is at times quite noisy for a conversation.

The Squash Blossom Quesadillas, Avocado Toast (can be sans egg), guacamole with chips, grilled Padron peppers and lettuce wraps with veggie fillings, all qualify as light vegetarian fare and it is exciting to see items that are so different from the usual. You could easily order a few of these light items and make a meal out of them.

However, if you are looking for something more dinner-like, ask them if they would make you a vegetarian enchilada with available vegetables. It is not on the menu.

I love their alcoholic drinks. And, sitting outside is less noisy with the bonus of the view of the colorful fountain.

Guacamole, chips, Mexican Sugar, Front Burner Restaurants, Plano, Texas, The Shops at Legacy
Guacamole and chips at Mexican Sugar, The Shops at Legacy. Photo by Cori Baker

Salsa Tex Mex

This is neighborly, welcoming Tex-Mex restaurant is part of a strip mall. We notice the warm, friendly and party atmosphere. It is often quite packed which translates to its being quite popular! While the menu does not particularly deviate from traditional vegetarian items, the food itself is tasty and you will enjoy it.

Some typical items like Spinach Quesadillas, Veggie Quesadillas, Bean and Cheese Quesadillas, Spinach and Cheese Enchiladas are all on the menu. You can ask for a Vegetarian Fajita, even though it is not listed.

Lita’s La Mexicana

Lita’s is one-of-a-kind! Perhaps best to call it modern or fusion Mexican. The inside is done up tastefully with such a pleasing ambiance that it is easy to forget the strip mall outside. Their outside seating also has a space that is appealing with plants and flowers.

What I found most surprising was a separate vegetarian section on their menu. Featured vegetarian dishes include enchiladas with zucchini, squash and other vegetables in tomatillo sauce, spinach enchiladas, veggie fajitas, paneer tacos and paneer tikka fajitas (paneer is a cheese used in Indian cooking).

They also have a delicious spicy guacamole with a pineapple topping and a great kale salad with quinoa, beets, red onion, cherry tomatoes, raisins and pecans with a cilantro, lime dressing, queso añejo (cheese) topping.

Paneer Tikka Fajitas at Litas La Mexicana, Plano, Texas, Mexican, Tex-Mex, Indian
Paneer tikka fajitas at Litas La Mexicana. Photo by Cori Baker

Read more: Review of Litas La Mexicana

El Norte Mexican Grill

More on the side of traditional Mexican, this restaurant stands by itself near a strip mall. You would come here for the food and not for what is outside. Colorful and cozy on the inside, it shows many elements of the culture with its artifacts as well. It is down to earth and reminds one of a diner.

The freshness and flavor of the chips and house salsas are evident. Veggie Nachos is sure to hit the spot with melted cheese on chips, topped with a black bean corn relish, chopped tomatoes, avocados, fresh cilantro and Queso Fresca.

There is a spread of items to choose from such as burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos, chalupas and tamales, most of which can be made into a vegetarian version upon request. The Spinach Quesadillas are yum, while the Black Bean Avocado and the sizzling fajitas are lip smacking!

Rusty Taco

Street-style Mexican would be the words used for this fast food chain, and the eatery has been quite a hit! You will see crowds inside and outside and it always seems like a party is on! When in a hurry or opting for take-out, one gets the satisfaction of still being able to eat healthy, fresh food! As a vegetarian, you will love items #6 and #12. #6 is Rajas Taco with grilled poblanos, mushrooms, onions and red peppers topped with queso fresco, cilantro and fresh lime. #12 is Black Bean Taco with Chipotle black beans with pico de gallo, cotija cheese, cilantro, toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh lime. The nachos being made right there are warm, crunchy and fresh. You will pick either corn or flour tortillas, the salsa in bottles are of three kinds with varying degrees of heat. The décor is fun pictures of people with Rusty Taco t-shirts posing in different parts of the world.

The patio at Rusty Taco | By Cori Baker

Mi Dia From Scratch – Plano

A recent trip to Mi Dia From Scratch – Plano turned out to be surprisingly delightful! It is Mexican, and means My Day from Scratch. What a unique name! The owner’s favorite bird is a roadrunner and you will see that in the logo. It falls along the lines of urban sophisticate and modern with a refreshingly different menu. The use of brussel sprouts, asparagus, and such veggies are not something we normally come across in a Mexican/Tex Mex restaurant.

Tableside guacamole at Mi Dia from Scratch, Plano.
Tableside guacamole at Mi Dia from Scratch, Plano. Image by Kevin Marple.

The table side guacamole was superb, not to mention the stuffed poblano entree. What’s more, there is a separate vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menu!  Mi Dia also has a full-fledged bar and is located at a vibrant location near the West Plano Cinemark.

More around Plano

Plano is truly a food heaven. Umpteen restaurants fall along the spectrum. Mexican – Tex-Mex – Modern Mex – Southwestern. Abuelo’s, Anamia’s, Chuy’s. Uncle Julio’s, On the Border, Mesero, Meso Maya, Blue Mesa Grill, are a few others and you will find vegetarian options to varying degrees in each.

Buen provecho!

Do you want a few tips about eating out vegetarian in Mexico City? Check out my Mexico city vegetarian experience here. Also, if you are completely new to Mexican cuisine and want a useful primer, click here!