Dec 30, 2019

Tasting: Taco Bell - Oatrageous Taco

Taco Bell's Oatrageous Taco features seasoned Pulled Oats (in place of seasoned beef), chipotle sauce, lettuce, and shredded cheddar in a crunchy taco shell. It was first introduced in Finland in 2017 and later added to the Taco Bell menu in Spain. They plan to launch it across Europe by Summer 2020.

I was able to try the Oatrageous Taco at Taco Bell headquarters not too long ago.

Pulled Oats is a plant-based meat substitute developed in Finland in 2016 that's made of just five ingredients: oats, fava beans, peas, oil, and salt. It quite popular in Finland and is available in a number of European countries. Taco Bell takes it and seasons it with their own spices. The result is similar to Taco Bell's seasoned beef but slightly softer and smoother. It was also notably less oily and wet. The similarity in texture isn't all that surprising given that Taco Bell uses oats in their seasoned beef to give it a softer texture (similar to how breadcrumbs in meatballs work).

I tried some Pulled Oats by itself and the taste and seasoning is in the same ballpark as Taco Bells' seasoned beef. It was meat-like in taste but not distinctly so. Basically, if I didn't know it was a meat substitute and you asked me what it was, I'd probably say, "I dunno. Some sort of meat?" That being said, the chipotle sauce covers up some of the nuances so that when I ate it with the rest of the taco, it was pretty much indistinguishable from a regular crunchy taco with chipotle sauce.

Basically, Taco Bell's Oatrageous Taco makes a pretty decent stand-in for their crunchy taco if you're looking for a vegetarian version, and gives them a leg up if they ever decide to explore plant-based protein here in the US.

First photo via Taco Bell. Second photo by

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