A year after first testing plant-based meat, Taco Bell is back at it again with another round of tests. Beginning August 18th, the chain started to test the Crispy Melt Taco at locations in Birmingham, Alabama. The taco starts off with a fresh-fried corn shell tortilla with cheddar, mozzarella, and Monterey pepper jack cheese. Then comes the new plant-based protein and nacho cheese sauce.
"The taco then features a choice of protein. Vegetarians and flexitarians alike will rejoice at the first option, which is a brand-new, boldly seasoned plant-based protein," the chain said in a press release. "A soy and pea protein proprietary blend, this protein is inspired by classic Taco Bell flavors. The taco is topped with crispy lettuce, even more cheddar cheese, juicy diced tomatoes and reduced-fat sour cream."
Throughout the testing period, the taco is available either as a meal, or a la carte for $2.,49. The plant-based meat will also be available in the chain's Nachos BellGrande or any other item on the Taco Bell menu through item customization on the chain's mobile app.
According to a release from the company, the plant-based meat has been certified vegan by the America Vegetarian Association.
"The proprietary plant-based protein is craveable like only The Bell knows how, but it's just the latest innovation in Taco Bell's decades-long vegetarian journey," the chain's statement added. "Other recent vegetarian tests have included the Cravetarian plant-based protein and the Naked Chalupa with a Crispy Plant-Based Shell, while Taco Bell's Beyond Meat product partnership will be available before the end of 2022."
Last year, Taco Bell tested the Cravetarian Taco, which also featured plant-based meat alternatives. Before that, KFC—a Taco Bell sister company—also had a test on vegan chicken.
It's unclear how long this latest round of testing will last.