Taco Bell’s bean experimenting with its Toasted Cheddar Chalupa [Updated]

Hand holding the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa with black beans, adding mild hot sauce
Photo: Taco Bell

Update, November 9, 2020: At last, the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa has returned to Taco Bell locations nationwide—for a limited time only. As you can see in the photo above, the new vegetarian variant, which swaps black beans for seasoned ground beef, looks pretty good. You can also order it with grilled chicken or marinated steak, but in our humble opinion, the beans sound the best. One quick question for the Taco Bell devotees out there: a long time ago, didn’t the chalupa used to be topped with liquid nacho cheese, rather than these wimpy strings of shredded cheddar?

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Original post, October 23, 2020: Last year, in the sweet, sweet, halcyon days of 2019, the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa was birthed into this world. It was composed of that classic pita-like shell, covered in an outer layer of cheddar that was fried and crisped all along the exterior, functioning sort of like a crunchy cheese crust. Then it was filled with the usual suspects: meat, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, and (more) shredded cheese.

Neat. Now bring back the potatoes, the 7-Layer burritos, and the Mexican Pizza, you heartless, merciless gods, you!

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As Taco Bell tries to win back the people’s bitter favor, it’s bringing back items that fewer people cared about to begin with. Like the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa. Did we like it? Oh, wait, we did like it. (Cut me some slack, it’s my first week here.) So it’s coming back, according to QSR.

But the big announcement (which isn’t really an announcement) is that there’s going to be a vegetarian version. The new Chalupa variation simply swaps black beans in place of the seasoned ground beef. People were ordering this anyway, so now The Bell is making it more of an official part of its menu.

Other “new” additions to the menu include a black bean version of the original Chalupa (the sans-fried-cheese one), and a veggie version of the Nacho Party Pack. If you’ve never seen the Nacho Party Pack, it’s genuinely something to see. It looks like you’re carrying around two feet of nachos in a long box.

All this griping aside, I can attest to the fact that the black bean swap for ground beef can be excellent. The other week I tried a black bean Crunchwrap Supreme out of curiosity, and it’s now my new favorite version, surprisingly. I guess we’ll have to take what we can get.

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Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

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DISCUSSION

kawaiityrant
Kawaii Tyrant

As I remember it, that the chalupa with nacho cheese was a specific thing—there was the supreme chalupa (with sour cream) the baja chalupa (with some kind of special sauce you can’t get any more, RIP) and the nacho cheese one. The baja and supreme ones had regular Taco Bell cheese.

I was a kid when chaulpas first became a thing, though, so these memories might be faulty.