Chipotle Just Added Plant-Based "Chorizo" to the Menu—but Is It Healthy?
Chipotle is back with a highly anticipated new menu offering: plant-based "chorizo." This innovative protein was tested in some markets last year, and it's the second plant-based protein option to be offered in stores (they also offer tofu sofritas). For a limited time, all Chipotle restaurants in the U.S. will serve plant-based chorizo.
"We are thrilled to introduce guests to our new, flavor-packed plant-based chorizo during a season when healthier options are top of mind," shares Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer at Chipotle in a media release. "Plant-based chorizo is our best chorizo ever and proves that you don't have to sacrifice flavor to enjoy a vegan or vegetarian protein."
Chorizo is known for its deep, rich flavor with a bit of spice. Chipotle's plant-based version features chipotle peppers, ripe tomato paste, crushed garlic, Spanish smoked paprika and extra-virgin olive oil combined with natural pea protein. It's certified vegan and free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, grains, gluten and soy. It also contains 16 grams of protein in every four-ounce serving.
"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," says Nevielle Panthaky, vice president of culinary at Chipotle in a media release. "Our culinary team has worked relentlessly for years to develop this breakthrough plant-based chorizo recipe."
With the launch of plant-based chorizo, Chipotle has also curated three new lifestyle bowls. Lifestyle bowls were created to make healthy habits easy and accessible going forward in 2022. These pre-built entrées revolve around diets like Whole30, keto, paleo, high-protein, vegan and vegetarian. You can order a lifestyle bowl through the Chipotle app or website.
Three new lifestyle bowls include:
- Whole30 Salad Bowl: Chipotle's supergreens lettuce blend, plant-based chorizo, fresh tomato salsa, fajita veggies, guacamole
- Vegetarian Bowl: Chipotle's supergreens lettuce blend, pinto beans, plant-based chorizo, fresh tomato salsa, fajita veggies, cheese
- Vegan Bowl: Chipotle's white rice, black beans, plant-based chorizo, corn salsa, fresh tomato salsa, shredded romaine lettuce
So, Is Chipotle's Plant-Based Chorizo Healthy?
While we're excited about a new plant-based protein to try at Chipotle, we wondered if it was healthy. According to Chipotle's nutrition calculator, each 4-ounce serving of plant-based chorizo has:
- 220 calories
- 8 grams of fat
- 2 grams of saturated fat
- No cholesterol
- 16 grams of carbs
- 16 grams of protein
- 6 grams of fiber
- 1 gram of sugar
EatingWell's Associate Nutrition Editor, Jess Ball, M.S., RD, says, "In terms of nutrition, this plant-based chorizo is a high-protein option for anyone avoiding meat, and it has 6 grams of fiber per serving to help you stay full for longer. It is also worth noting that it is higher in carbohydrates and calories than meat typically is. Since most plant-based meat alternatives are highly processed foods, I am curious about the sodium content since it is not readily available."
Ball adds that while this plant-based chorizo might be fun and tasty to try as an occasional treat, it probably shouldn't be eaten every day. She says, "As with Chipotle in general, it seems like a good nutritious option in a pinch, but might not be the best choice for an everyday lunch or dinner. Since Chipotle serves such large portions, I would encourage people to see if they are full after eating half of their entree and, if so, save the other half for another meal."