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Most health-conscious people have a guilty secret…
We all love fast food.
It’s quick, it’s cheap, and it’s delicious!
No, it’s not good for you. And no, we don’t talk about it after we eat it, but everyone knows that even the most dedicated dieter hits the drive through every once in a while.
In the past, being vegan meant just writing off fast food altogether. However, with veganism sweeping the globe, fast food chains are taking notice and giving us some awesome new options too!
Here is your ultimate vegan fast food cheat sheet. Enjoy!
Bruegger’s Bagels Vegan Options
Bagels are a crowd pleaser. They’re great for a meeting or playdate because they’re bound to go over well no matter who you are.
Bruegger’s offers plenty of great vegan options including baked apple, cinnamon raisin and cinnamon sugar, cranberry orange, garlic, everything, jalapeno, onion, plain, poppy, pumpernickel, rosemary, chocolate chip, and blueberry. These can all be topped with veggies, hummus, and (new as of last month) Daiya brand CREAM CHEESE!!!
If you’re there for lunch they also have several vegetarian sandwiches that can easily be turned vegan by asking for no cheese or dressing.
Carl’s Jr. Vegan Options
Let’s be real… this isn’t a restaurant anyone expected to be on the list, but Carl’s Jr. is shockingly vegan friendly!
They actually carry the Beyond Burger patty at several of their locations. It comes with lettuce, pickles, onions, ketchup and mustard on a sesame seed bun. In order to make it vegan you just need to ask for no mayo or cheese.
The hashbrowns and fries are also vegan so feel free to enjoy those with your Beyond Burger too.
If you’re looking for a gluten free option, you can ask to have your burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun.
Denny’s Vegan Options
When you think of Denny’s you probably automatically think of bacon and eggs. That’s not really vegan, though, so let’s see if we can find a better choice…
Denny’s actually has some great vegan options too. My favorite is the Fit Fare Veggie skillet without egg whites or butter. This will get you a plate full of seasoned red-skinned potatoes, fire-roasted bell peppers & onions, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, and grape tomatoes served with a side of salsa.
Other vegan friendly items include oatmeal, english muffin (no butter), bagels, grits, applesauce, fruits, vegetable plates, fries, baked potatoes, garden salad (use oil and vinegar dressing), and several vegan sandwich options.
If’ you’re in the mood for a burger, Denny’s has you covered there too..They have an Amy’s brand veggie burger.
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers Vegan Options
Freddy’s joined the vegan bandwagon and recently switched its vegetarian burger to a delicious, fully vegan burger and bun. When you order, be sure to hold the cheese and Freddy sauce.
They also have a great chili bowl that’s vegan if you skip the cheese. Their fries are vegan too if you aren’t feeling the chili. (No vegan custard options yet… c’mon Freddy’s!)
In-N-Out Burger Vegan Options
In-N-Out Burger is a little disappointing when it comes to vegan options. Even their bun has casein which makes it not truly vegan.
Don’t worry, there’s a secret way to get a decent vegan order…
Order a veggie burger and ask for it “protein style” (that’s secret menu lingo indicating that they should replace the bun with fresh lettuce) and no spread (spread contains eggs).
Another interesting thing you can do is ask for double all of the veggies if you want the meal to have a little more umph to it. Get a side of fries and while it’s not perfect, still a pretty decent lunch.
For a restaurant headquartered in California, I would expect more vegan-friendly options, but no one asked me.
Johnny Rockets Vegan Options
Johnny Rockets is a great option for fast food because they not only have a killer Gardein black bean burger on a wheat bun but they also have vegan sweet potato fries.
If that’s not enough vegan goodness you can also get tater tots, regular fries, or a side salad (no cheese and stick to balsamic vinaigrette dressing).
Little Caesars Vegan Options
These options are a bit lame. Let’s just call it what it is. BUT you can still eat vegan at Little Caesars…
The pizza sauce and dough at Little Caesars are vegan. By skipping the cheese and choosing your favorite vegetable toppings, you can get a delicious vegan pizza. Plus if you ask for crazy bread and sauce without the parmesan cheese you can have a great vegan side dish too!
McDonald’s Vegan Options
At the moment McDonalds isn’t doing a great job providing vegan options, but then again it’s McDonald’s. Please don’t say you’re surprised..
Even their fries are made with beef fat in them.
However, they’re beginning to explore vegan options in other markets.
In Europe McDonald’s debuted a spicy veggie wrap (including a kids meal with a veggie wrap!), falafel nuggets, and even vegan veggie nuggets. All of these new menu options seem to be doing very well so hopefully they’ll make it to the US stores sometime soon.
Papa John’s Vegan Options
Eating vegan at pizza places is pretty tough, but at least you have a couple options at Papa John’s…
The sauce and original hand-tossed dough are vegan, so go ahead and order your veggie pizza as you would at Little Caesars (without cheese).
For the experienced Papa John’s diners, get ready because this will blow your mind… the garlic dipping sauce is also VEGAN!
If you’re feeling a bit crazy and want to mix things up you can get your pizza made with BBQ sauce and stay safely vegan.
Pizza Hut Vegan Options
In the US, your vegan options at Pizza Hut are similar to other pizza places. In the UK, Pizza hut is nothing short of amazing when it comes to vegan options. Across the Atlantic they’re definitely a vegan leader in the pizza space.
Would you call that a Vleader? No… that just doesn’t sound right.
Anyway, Pizza Hut UK has a vegan option in every menu section! For example, you can order the Jack N Roll for an appetizer which is jackfruit and vegan cheese in a tortilla. (If you haven’t heard of it, BBQ pulled jackfruit tastes just like BBQ pulled pork).
Then you can have the Vegan Hot N Spicy veggie pizza. And you can end your meal with some delicious cinnamon bites.
If you didn’t like those suggestions, Pizza Hut UK actually has 5 different vegan pizza options on their menu. Not only that, they have a special VEGAN menu complete with kids’ options.
If this sounds good to our American readers, SPEAK UP! Tell your local Pizza Hut restaurant or write to corporate.
WE WANT VEGAN PIZZA!
Olive Garden Vegan Options
If you’re reading this on your laptop you may want to sit down. If you’re reading on your phone, lean against something…
This is probably the best thing you’ll hear today: Olive Garden Breadsticks are made with soy. NOT dairy products.
That’s right – Olive Garden Breadsticks are VEGAN!
It’s pretty strange, though, isn’t it? They’re supposed to have a butter topping but it’s actually soy.
This means if you order a salad with oil and vinegar (instead of their italian dressing) and no croutons you will can have an amazing salad and breadstick vegan appetizer.
There also have plenty of vegan options for pasta as well, including: capellini, cavatappi, fettuccine, gluten-free rotini, rigatoni, spaghetti, tri-colored vegetable penne, whole-wheat linguine, and ziti.
Olive Garden’s only vegan sauce is the marinara, though, so you have a bit less variety there.
Not feeling pasta tonight? Fill up your bowl with minestrone soup which recently became vegan at all locations too!
Qdoba Mexican Grill Vegan Options
Mexican restaurants have a lot of accidentally vegan options. You might think it’s pretty obvious but let’s run through the plan for Qdoba just to be thorough…
Stick to making your meal at Qdoba with black or pinto beans instead of meat. Then layer on the veggies like fajita veggies, grilled veggies, potatoes, guac, and pico. Complete your meal with a big bowl of tortilla soup.
If you aren’t feeling like a vegan bowl you can also have both of the corn and flour tortillas.
Quiznos Vegan Options
Quiznos has a veggie sub that’s out of this world. It’s filled to the brim with guacamole, black olives, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and mushrooms. (order without cheese). Top it with your choice of balsamic vinaigrette, BBQ, Four Pepper Chili Sauce, herb oil, mustard or the zesty grille sauce and you are in business.
For vegan bread options you can choose from both white and wheat bread as well as an Italian herb wrap, ciabatta, and grilled flatbreads. Most of their potato chip options are vegan too.
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews Vegan Options
Red Robin didn’t go with a typical vegan brand patty when it came to their vegan burger. They actually had one of their own chefs create it with ancient grains and quinoa.
It comes with tomato bruschetta salsa, avocado slices and lettuce.
Well done Red Robin!
You can enjoy it with a ciabatta bun, Italian bread, or a lettuce wrap. Their steak fries and sweet potato fries are also vegan but if you’re feeling super healthy you can get it with a side of bottomless broccoli.
I personally get it with a side of guac, salsa and chips.
Subway Vegan Options
This one might be a bit obvious but I still had to add Subway to the list because I love the Veggie Delite (without cheese).
For bread you can choose between the 9-Grain wheat, Hearty Italian, Roasted Garlic, or my personal favorite Sourdough. If you want to save on carbs go for the tomato basil wrap.
Subway has also come out with a great new line of sauces too, many of which are vegan. They include: Buffalo, barbeque, creamy Italian, fire roasted tomato, Giardiniera, and sweet chili sauce.
Of course you can always have the tried and true sauces like oil and vinegar, sweet onion, mustard or Subway vinaigrette.
Taco Bell Vegan Options
In 2019 Taco Bell launched its Tacos with a Side of Purpose campaign which included a ton of new vegetarian menu items.
These items include the Vegetarian Crunchwrap Supreme, the Vegetarian Quesarito, and the 7-Layer Burrito, all of which can be made vegan by simply ordering them “Fresco style” which is fancy lingo for remove the cheese and replace it with pico de gallo.
You can pretty much make any item on the Taco Bell menu vegan by substituting beans for meat, leaving off the sour cream, and ordering Fresco Style.
If you’re still hungry after your entree the cinnamon twists are vegan too!
Wendy’s Vegan Options
Sadly enough, Wendy’s tried out a vegan black bean burger but discontinued it shortly after its arrival.
You’ll have to settle for either a plain baked potato and a side salad (with red Italian dressing and without the croutons) or you can order a veggie sandwich which is everything that goes on a burger but without the meat patty.
Sorry friends, the options at Wendy’s are pretty sparse.
White Castle Vegan Options
You’ll probably be shocked by this but White Castle actually carries two different vegan slider options!
You can either get the original veggie slider (Dr. Praeger’s brand) or the Black Bean slider. My favorite way to eat either of these is to smother them in sweet Thai chili sauce.
You can also get a side of those crinkle cut fries and stay safely vegan.
Yard House Vegan Options
Yard House offers more than just a burger… it carries a ton of great vegan dishes brought to you by Gardein and Beyond Meat.
Start with an appetizer like the spicy and amazing Gardein Buffalo and Ancho BBQ Wings. Then you can order the Beyond Burger which is perfectly topped with vegan cheese. Finish off your vegan meal with mango sorbet.
If you don’t want a burger there are still some amazing options for you including the Gardein brand Chicken fried rice bowl or Gardein brand chicken and avocado sandwich (no mayo or cheese).
Next time you’re out late with friends and they suggest a drive through run don’t sweat it!
Not only can you get a delicious vegan option at most fast food joints these days but it will most likely taste way better than your carnivore friends’ picks!
This all comes with a caveat though…
Just because something at a fast food restaurant is vegan doesn’t mean that it’s healthy or that it will help you lose weight (but that’s probably not a surprise to you).
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