Zambrero stands alongside Mad Max and Guzman y Gomez as one of the main Mexican chain restaurants in Australia. Like its rivals it lets you pick your type of dish – burrito, bowl, quesadilla etc – and add your own selection of fillings – but, within this remit, what are the lowest calorie option you can pick? Our guide to Zambrero calories reveals all…
Before we get onto that though, let’s talk about why you might pick Zambrero to eat at in the first place as it’s kind of an interesting story.
The Zambrero USP
The chain’s motto is Feel Good Mex – and, the fact that they were started by a medical student, Dr Sam Prince (check out his full story here), looking for healthy Mexican means it’s a given that they’re going to do their best to try and serve food that’s good for you.
But their name is not just a comment on the health of their food, it also reflects the fact that Zambrero do a lot of good for charity.
In fact, their Plate 4 Plate initiative means that when you buy a meal, their partner Rise Against Hunger donates a meal to someone somewhere else in the world that needs it – which means whatever you eat does someone else good.
But, if you want to do yourself good as well, here’s what to order.
The Lowest Calorie Dish in Zambrero
Is the Vegetarian Quesadillla without extra sauce – which comes in at 167 calories (697kj) per serving.
If you want extra sauce, then your best choice is Trezigo sauce which adds 12-24 calories depending on the size of the meal it’s added to.
The fact that the Vegetarian Quesadilla is lowest was a bit of a shocker because a) it’s basically melted cheese in carbs – but in every other variation of meal the Cauliflower version is the lowest option and the Veggie option is the highest! But not the Quesadilla.
The reason when you look into things is clear – the other veggie versions combine the yumminess of beans, rice and guacamole as a filling – which of course, adds more calories than pure veggies will.
What’s Trezigo Sauce?
Yes, I asked that too.
It’s a sauce flavoured with garlic, coriander and lime – but it also contains spirulina which is an interesting addition as I find spirulina adds a really earthy taste to everything but it seems to work in this.
Sadly the sauce isn’t any good for those who like their Mexican food firey as it has no chillis in it. The good news is though that the Red Chilli sauce isn’t far behind in the low calorie stakes at between 14-30 calories.
The highest calorie sauce in Zambrero, is, not surprisingly, the Basilo a mayonnaise that also contains pine nuts.
Adding that to your dish will add 52-102 calories – and a whopping 256 if you have it dolloped on the chips or chips and guac! You could have an entire extra quesadilla or taco for that!
It’s surprising how much difference the sauce you pick can make to your Zambrero calories so I see why they list the calories without that to start with. Pick carefully…
The other factors that determine the calories in Zambrero meal are the format you choose and the filling you pick. So, let’s get specific on the best choices for those …
Tacos and Quesadillas
If you really want to keep calories low, this is the section of the menu to pick from.
Their relatively small size, plus the fact that they don’t contain rice, beans or guacamole makes them naturally lower in calories and no matter which option you pick you won’t consume more than 303 calories (1272kj) – that’s in the Barbacoa Beef Dos Capas (without sauce) which combines both a hard and soft taco, your choice of filling and a smidge of cheese and sour cream.
As I said, the Vegetarian Quesadilla is absolutely the lowest calorie option to pick, but the Cauliflower Hard Taco has just 174 calories (729kj) and the Chicken and Pork ones aren’t too much higher at 206 calories each (861kj)
If you have a bigger appetite, the bowls offer the lowest calorie for their portion size on the Zambrero menu.
If you’re looking for absolutely the lowest calorie bowl meal in Zambrero, the Cauliflower Power Bowl is it at 337 calories (1415kj).
Zambrero do three types of bowl
The Classic Bowls come with Jasmine rice, pinto beans, sour cream, salsa, cheese and lettuce.
They are generally, the lowest calorie bowl option to choose and, other than the Vegetarian one, they all contain fewer than 500 calories (2100kj). Again, the Cauliflower Classic bowl is the lowest calorie option and it has just 366 calories (1531kj)
The IQ Bowl swaps jasmine rice for black rice and comes with extra amaranth seeds and guacamole.
This swap means that on average, an IQ Bowl will contain around 100 calories (420kj) more than a classic bowl with the same toppings – but, it will be more filling as it contains lower GI carbs and more fat, the combination of which promotes satiety so, it could be a calorie sacrifice worth making.
The Power Bowl leaves out the guac but packs in extra protein by adding beans. This will also make them more filling than the Classic Bowl.
They do contain slightly more calories than the Classic Bowl with the same topping, but considering, in the case of the Chicken and Pork version we’re talking just 11 calories more than a Classic bowl with the same toppings (and a total calorie count of 456 (1904kj) each), these are definitely another good choice.
Oh, and just to prove that there’s an exception to every rule… the Cauliflower Power Bowl contains fewer calories than the Classic one!
There’s two sizes of Burrito at Zambrero and not surprisingly, ordering the Classic Small Burrito is the lowest calorie choice.
All of these – except the vegetarian one – contain 500 calories or less. The beef is the highest in calories at 500 calories (2088kj) per serving, our old friend the Cauliflower is the lowest at 445 calories (1858kj).
But how much extra damage is there from ordering a larger size?
You’re looking at around 250 calories (1050kj) more ordering a Classic Burrito with meat, 200 calories (840kj) more on the Cauliflower option.
As with the bowls, the addition of guacamole bumps up the calories in the IQ Burrito by a further 100 (420kj) per serving.
Again, just like the bowls, Power Burritos leave out the guac but add protein via beans. As with the bowls, this doesn’t add that many extra calories – 20-30 more for the meat varieties.
Note: because they use higher quantities of beans, guac and rice, the Vegetarian version of burritos are the dish highest in calories on the whole Zambrero menu.
The Vegetarian IQ Burrito has a whopping 992 calories. If you don’t eat meat, pick the cauliflower.
From what I can work out, burrito calories do not contain additional extra like sour cream or cheese. If you add those it’s obviously going to add more.
Nachos, Chips and Dip
A serving of naked Chips is 236 calories – add guacamole and that goes up to 329 calories – personally, I’d take the extra 93 calories and walk for 20 minutes later in the day! I love guacamole!
It’s probably not going to surprise anyone to discover that nachos, with their delicious topping trifecta of cheese, sour cream and guacamole, are not diet food!
Again, cauliflower is your lowest choice at 690 calories (2882kj). The Barbacoa Beef option is the highest at 822 calories – the others all hover around 800 calories, give or take a handful.
What’s 500 Calories or Less in Zambrero?
Here are your choices in order from lowest to highest…
200 Calories or Less
Vegetarian Quesadilla – 167 calories (697kj)
Cauliflower Hard Taco – 174 calories (729kj)
Cauliflower Quesadilla – 187 calories (783kj)
Cauliflower Soft Taco – 190 calories (794kj)
Vegetarian Hard Taco – 200 calories (840kj)
300 Calories or Less
Chicken or Pork Hard Taco – 206 calories (861kj)
Lamb Hard Taco – 216 calories (901kj)
Vegetarian Soft Taco – 216kj (902kj)
Beef Hard Taco – 218 calories (913kj)
Chicken or Pork Quesadilla – 219 calories (917kj)
Chicken or Pork Soft Taco – 222 calories (928kj)
Lamb Quesadilla – 229 calories (955hj)
Lamb Soft Taco – 231 calories (966kj)
Beef Quesadilla – 231 calories (967kj)
Beef Soft Taco – 234 calories (978kj)
Cauliflower Dos Capos – 259 calories (1084kj)
Vegetarian Dos Capos – 285 calories (1192kj)
Chicken or Pork Dos Capos – 291 calories (1218kj)
400 Calories or Less
Cauliflower Power Bowl – 337 calories (1409kj)
Cauliflower Classic Bowl – 366 calories (1531kj)
500 Calories or Less
Cauiflower Classic Small Burrito – 445 calories (1858kj)
Chicken Classic Bowl – 445 calories (1861kj)
Pork Classic Bowl – 446 calories (1865kj)
Chicken Power Bowl – 456 calories (1904kj)
Pork Power Bowl – 457 calories (1910kj)
Caulflower IQ Bowl – 467 calories (1951kj)
Lamb Classic Bowl – 469 calories (1962kj)
Barbacoa Beef Classic Bowl – 476 calories (1991kj)
Chicken Classic Small Burrito – 484 calories (2023kj)
Pork Classic Small Burrito – 485 calories (2025kj)
Lamb Power Bowl – 492 calories (2055kj)
Lamb Classic Small Burrito – 496 calories (2074kj)
Barbacoa Beef Classic Small Burrito – 500 calories (2088kj)
So there you go. Your guide to Zambrero calories and the lowest options you can pick. If I didn’t give an exact calorie count for your favourite, you’ll find the Zambrero Nutritional Information here.
IF you want to know what offerings in Zambrero are gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan, then you need this chart here.
Looking for more Australian calories. Then you might also want to read our guide to the calories in Grilld … or, if you’re hankering for more Mexican goodies, we’ve also covered what’s good and low calorie at Guzman y Gomez.