As someone who lived through the early 2000s when most fast food vegetarian options were a side salad, freezer-burnt black bean burger, or being told to “just pick off the meat,” I can say with great enthusiasm: it’s a great time to be a vegetarian.
While I am no longer strictly following the vegetarian diet, I will still happily get things marked “Vegetarian.” So, naturally, when Taco Bell advertised the Veggie Nachos Party Pack as part of its new Veggie Cravings menu, I was intrigued.
While the Party Pack Nachos aren’t a new item for Taco Bell, this version seems to be specifically branded as a vegetarian item to help push the new menu. It consists of tortilla chips topped with refried beans, warm nacho cheese sauce, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, guacamole, and reduced-fat sour cream. That’s it. I was surprised by how simple the ingredient list seemed. But I looked at the meat option too, and it came with both beef and refried beans. So why wouldn’t this one have refried AND black beans? All the other items on the Veggie Cravings menu have black beans.
I cannot understate how much food it is. I measured the length of the box, and it was around 18 inches. Unfortunately, the large quantity of food didn’t quite make up for the lack of quality. The initial shock of “wow, that’s a LOT of food” wore off quickly as I started to eat. It became very clear that the amount of toppings was not proportional to the amount of chips. In fact, after removing the top layer of chips and toppings, the bottom of the box was littered with the tiny broken tortilla chip bits.
When getting bites with all the toppings and chips together, the item was fine. While I feel most of us are familiar with the flavors of Taco Bell, this item really showcased how they are not meant to be eaten separately. When all layered into a taco/burrito/Crunchwrap, you get the experience of all the flavors in one bite. In a nacho situation, you are often eating a chip with just some cheese or refried beans and it highlights how they don’t really stand out on their own. The occasional jalapeno or tomato piece was welcome, but didn’t do much to move the flavor needle. Maybe I expect too much from Taco Bell, but the overall salty blandness of the item was disappointing.
When ordering, you are given multiple options to add other toppings to the nachos. I think, if I were to do this again, I’d add rice and black beans (which should have been there in the first place). However, when you start adding up the cost of additional items, I’m inclined to just pay the extra $2 and go to Chipotle. The only “additions” I included were three specialty sauces on the side to use as dips. I am glad we got them as we were able to eat some of the untopped chips before tapping out.
Overall, it’s not a bad item, just not as good as I felt it could have been. If you are not a strict vegetarian, I’d at least go with the Nachos Party Pack with meat. It costs the same, and (hopefully) you’d get a little more food.
Purchased Price: $10.99
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 box) 1770 calories, 93 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 2510 milligrams of sodium, 206 grams of carbohydrates, 34 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 28 grams of protein.